How To Talk To An Empty Chair

empty chairs

I’m actually naive enough to think that our senators would show up to hear the concerns of the citizens who showed up to a hearing in Salt Lake on March 2nd, 2016, concerning the new “Public Lands Initiative”, (PLI). I don’t know why I thought that, when the hearing wouldn’t have even taken place without being organized by “Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment”.

Jason Chaffetz gets a gold star for sending a notice he wouldn’t be present. Orrin Hatch, Rob Bishop and Mike Lee didn’t even have enough decency to reply to their invitation. Lack of respect from the senators, for the overwhelming majority of their constituents was a common theme throughout the night.

It was a good turnout, and it’s too bad it wasn’t held in a larger venue then Orson Spencer Hall. There wasn’t enough room for all the people who came to the event, even though some the attendees had to stand along the wall after the seats were gone. People at the back of the auditorium were complaining about all the noise being made by the folks in the foyer.

My camera batteries weren’t sufficient to record the entire meeting which lasted over three hours. Many dozens of people submitted a request to speak. I got some good footage though, which I present here for the people of Utah and hopefully others across the nation, since this terrible initiative could affect many other states, should it pass as written.

Enjoy the passion!

Salt Lake Tribune coverage.
Deseret Morning News coverage.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on March 6, 2016 - 4:48 pm

    Thanks so much for doing this. I didn’t attend because I am too depressed by the ugly bait-and-switch that Bishop pulled on what was supposed to be a wilderness bill. Instead it’s a Bundy-style land grab.

    • #2 by Larry Bergan on March 6, 2016 - 6:11 pm

      Real glad you liked it Richard.

      My 95 year old mom and I watched together today. She gets bored with TV very easily, but we were both riveted through the whole thing.

      I’m so proud to be from Utah after watching all those top notch speakers.

    • #3 by Larry Bergan on March 6, 2016 - 6:23 pm

      It took 24 hours to upload the video, and at about 2:30 a.m, a red alert popped up, telling me I needed some sort of authorization, but no instructions on what to do. Even after the video finished uploading, it said 95% done for about an hour. Finally, I gave up and rebooted to start over, but the video came up after all, in awful resolution at first, but as the hours passed, the resolution got better and better.

      Whew! One of those early morning failures for a while, but victory at last!

  2. #4 by Richard Warnick on March 7, 2016 - 4:36 pm

    I have been to many wilderness public hearings. As frustrating as they could be, the cool thing was most or all of the Utah congressional delegation was in attendance at every one. That never happened for any other issue.

    But now it doesn’t happen for wilderness either. It was the same story on the Washington County bill – the people had to organize their own hearing, and the delegation was a no-show.

  3. #5 by Larry Bergan on March 7, 2016 - 7:51 pm

    Loved “The Slickrock Stranger’s” song.

    Missed being able to record a kid who came up to comment. He was about 7 years old. Nobody’s too young to love Utah’s lands.

    • #6 by Richard Warnick on March 8, 2016 - 2:43 pm

      I remember that guy from my days with the Utah Wilderness Association. But I’m bad at recalling names.

  4. #7 by Larry Bergan on April 20, 2016 - 7:35 pm

    Well, here’s some hopeful news I heard on KUER this morning.

    Seems as though the Secretary of the Interior is going to visit Utah She had some pretty harsh things to say about governor Herbert’s land grab and hints at a “Bears Ears” designation.

    Interior Secretary Mentions Utah In Conservation Speech

    Ahead of Jewell visit to Utah, speculation about Bears Ears monument

    I cant’ wait to see our local leaders lose their minds!

  5. #8 by Larry Bergan on June 6, 2016 - 9:48 pm

    Just look at the size of that crowd!

    Biggest Con-Job Since Bernie Madoff!

    I think this might be the first time in years that Orrin Hatch has gone out in public. I was eating a sundae at Dairy Queen a couple of weeks ago and they always have a Tribune there. There was a picture of Gary Herbert, who had actually walked out of his office and ventured outside to have a photo taken with him greeting a crowd of about 12 Native Americans. The picture wasn’t included in the online version, but it was nearly as hilarious as this one.

    It’s great to know that our Utah politicians have such great respect for our Native American friends. (sarcasm).

  6. #9 by Larry Bergan on June 6, 2016 - 9:57 pm

    I can understand and sympathize with these Navajos, and their concern that the monument could prohibit their ability to collect firewood and not have to deal with white people from all over who would be coming to see the landscape, but I don’t think they understand that Orrin Hatch and governor Herbert have worse plans for their environment.

    The world is getting much smaller. Nobody wanted this, but I think the vast majority of the American Indians know the designation would be the best option. IMO.

  7. #10 by Larry Bergan on June 9, 2016 - 10:04 pm

    Orrin Hatch is a lunatic. It’s very clear he supports violence in support of land destruction for profit.

    Utah Senator Sympathizes with Extremists, Demonstrating Why Bears Ears Needs Immediate Protection from Looting and Destruction

    I would hope that my fellow Utahans would not use violence, but there are some deeply held positions that cannot just be ignored.

    You see what he did there? I’m going to say I hope my oily friends don’t use violence, but use violence.

    Thinks he’s fooling us.

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