As the election draws nearer, I would have to say I'm glad it will soon be over. I'm also glad there has been a lot of interest in the candidates and the issues on the ballot this year. There are those who have said the paper has been monument friendly. There are those who have said that we have not been monument friendly. I feel then that we have succeeded in portraying the county sentiment for as you know there are those both for and against the issue.
I say issue because there is not a clear monument proposal being voted on this election day. You as a voter have not had a proposal of any sort to look at and review and make a decision upon based upon its merits or lack of them. I learned at a recent meeting the whole deal about putting this initiative on the ballot was the size, 621,000 acres.......which those who gathered signatures to have the initative put on the ballot feel is too large an area and violates what the Antiquities Act was originally intended to do. They felt that on Nov. 6 things could start over and they could help redefine size and be able to contribute their ideas and perspectives; perhaps smaller monuments directly preserving certain aspects of the Swell.
What they fail to realize is that a no vote means just that, no. I wish this could be brought to a vote two years from now, when a clear proposal has been worked out to give the voters something in their hands to study. Voting yes or no without a clear proposal in hand to me is absurd. The acreage of a would be monument is not written in stone. It cannot be, because there isn't a plan. There is a letter to the editor this edition which describes the commissioners as being arrogant and childish, but to me they are no more arrogant and childish than those who say, 'We weren't invited to plan the dance, so we're going to pull the plug on the band.' They always seem to go back to the surprise announcement at a Jan. 26 meeting and the Governor's State of the State address on Jan. 28. How much more angry would they have been if a monument proposal plan and management plan with an already selected advisory council had been formulated before this announcement. This would have been a President Clinton type move. But, the announcement to begin a plan to consider monument status hardly calls for the death penalty. A yes vote will continue the process to explore the possibility of a monument. A no vote will kill the process. There have been attempts to create fear about this issue. I hope we all cast our votes with knowledge and facts, not fear and supposition.
I would end my ramblings by letting you know I hate the desert. I could care less either way this initiative goes. Give me a mountain stream, a blanket and a good book and I'm in heaven. I won't tell you who I think helped design deserts.
I love democracy and the right to choose. I love the fact that those who enjoy the desert can go there and use it whether for recreation, grazing, mining, hiking, biking, ATVs, getting lost or whatever.
Our economy could use a boost, even if the western end of the county doesn't want any new development. Green River is a perfect gateway to the Swell. Their current motel occupancy rate is 60 percent. What is wrong with 100 percent?
My family moved to Huntington in 1972, when my father went to work at the Huntington power plant, I would have to say the desert looks the very same to me now in October 2002 as it did in June of 1972. (I do go there occasionally.) It appears to me the desert thrives and the first good wind covers our tracks.
I love this county and those of you who live here. I hope our future is prosperous no matter which way the vote goes on Nov. 5.