First, I need to say that the views I am expressing are my own and only my own. In my comments I am not representing any other person, entity, or organization. Second, I appreciate the work and the efforts of the members of the Emery County Public Lands Council. And third, I have spent too much time watching and listening to the "debate" on the proposal to study whether a monument is for Emery County or not. I should have said something a long time ago. I apologize for not speaking out sooner. As a debate coach I have always held the belief that "it is better to debate an issue without settling it than it is to settle an issue without debating it." And I am very concerned that those people who oppose the monument want to use the upcoming election to settle the issue and stop the study and debate. It appears to me, as I read the written issue that we will be voting on, that the two sides are 1. Those who want to continue to to study, and discuss, and debate hoping to find out if a monument is in the best interest of Emery County and 2. Those who want to stop all of us from considering this issue further.
I read recently, with some interest, that monument opponents are now saying that they want to have us vote "NO" so that they can express their views as part of the process. But that is certainly not what their expensive ads and their expensive signs say. They say -"No Monument." Not "we want to debate it further." Or "we want to be heard." But, let's face it, we all know that if we vote no that the debate will likely end. The issue will be settled. And we will have no more say on the matter. Like ostriches, we will stick our heads in the sand.
Now, though I tend to favor the "right kind" of monument, I honestly can't make my decision until I see a real proposal. And I understand that all of us have been invited to participate in the process of creating that proposal - even those who oppose a monument. I really believe that through the process of debate, and study, and examination of all points of view, we can come to the best possible solution. And it bothers me that monument opponents want to stop the discussion right now - before there is a proposal in writing.
Two other things bother me. One, is the way that monument opponents use innuendo, half-accusations, and examples that don't apply to try to scare us into voting "No." I have yet to read anything in their literature that actually applies to what the Public Lands Council, the governor, or the President are really saying. And I'm always suspicious of scare tactics. The other thing that bothers me is the large amount of money that appears to be backing the monument opponents. It is obvious that there is more money at play than can be produced by people in our county on this issue. And I'm very concerned that people from outside our county and possibly outside of Utah may be trying very hard to get us to stop the discussion. I don't need well heeled, out-of-area organizations trying to scare me into voting to not talk about what the future of Emery County should be. I'm not sure whether a monument is in our best interest or not, at least not until I can see a real proposal, in writing. But I know that ending the debate, stopping consideration of a monument, just saying "No" is not in the best interest of Emery County.
Because I believe that the debate, and study, and discussion should continue until we have a real proposal to vote on and because I believe that debate, and study, and discussion can give us the best possible proposal, I will be voting to continue the process. I hope that you will also vote to keep the process alive.