Archive for category Gary Herbert

Outdoor Retailers to Gov. Herbert: We’re Outta Here

Governor Gary Herbert’s hopes to negotiate with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), sponsor of twice-yearly trade shows in Salt Lake City, were dashed today. It was clear that OIA considered it is time for action, not more talk.

OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts said “it is important to our membership, and to our bottom line, that we partner with states and elected officials who share our views on the truly unique American value of public lands for the people and conserving our outdoor heritage for the next generation.”

The OIA said it specifically asked Herbert for four measures that outdoor businesses consider important to their future in Utah:

• End legal efforts or support for congressional action that would facilitate the sale or transfer of federal lands to the states.

• End efforts to nullify the Antiquities Act.

• Stop seeking to reverse the designation of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Herbert this month signed a resolution from the Utah Legislature asking President Donald Trump to rescind the monument designation.

• Support other public lands “that provide the backbone of the industries sales,” OIA wrote.

Herbert did not agree, Roberts said.

“For 20 years … we feel like we’ve been a good partner and very upfront about our [member concerns],” Roberts said, “and what we’ve seen is sort of a ratcheting up over time in actions either by the Utah Legislature or the congressional delegation that really start to threaten public lands and the public’s access to the lands.”

OIA has decided to pull out of Utah, effective in 2019. Most likely the retailers will move their events to Denver, Colorado.

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Privatizing Comb Ridge: When ‘Public’ Land Isn’t Really Public

Privatizing the Comb Ridge from Friends of Cedar Mesa on Vimeo.

A key square-mile parcel of Comb Ridge near Bluff is being sold by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), ignoring the majority of Utahns who commented on the proposed sale. I attended a public hearing about this land sale in Bluff on June 7. SITLA Director David Ure opened the meeting by explaining that the state-owned lands he manages are not in fact public lands although many people have that impression. The SITLA holdings, he said, are actually PRIVATE land. The impression was created that this was a done deal no matter what anybody says.

The buyer is the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation, which already owns the Bluff Fort tourist attraction. The Foundation says they do not have plans to build permanent structures at Comb Ridge, however after acquiring the land plans may change at any time. At the very least, they will devote the land to a single use — ignoring the broad public interest and the cultural importance of this land to Native Americans.

Here’s the big picture: Gov. Herbert and the Tea-GOP majority in the Utah legislature are planning to sue the federal government to grab 30 million acres of our public lands and national forests. If the state ever gets this land, it will instantly become PRIVATE land as David Ure can tell you. That is what is at stake here.

Support the Bears Ears National Monument!


Mike Weinholtz Versus Governor Herbert In Televised Debate


This second debate took place on September 26th, and will most likely be the last one, as governor Herbert would rather keep his governmental matters close to the vest and probably only showed up to the first one at the last minute because he didn’t want to be called, “Unavailable Jones” at that event.

Weinholtz came out swinging like a real democrat should with the problems the GOP has left us in this state and the rest of the country as well, but he has already proven he can work with the other side on the issues.

I hope all those people who showed up to wait in line for hours to register and vote for Bernie Sanders will see that this is the year to get democrats in office again in Utah. The governor’s office has never been in Republican hands for this long in Utah before, (32 years). It’s time for a change with REAL values instead of the stagnant cronyism we see today.

Short post-debate question and answer session:

The first debate was not televised, so I took this from a citizens cell phone recording.

NOTE: You can stop the unwanted soundtrack by going near the bottom of the page, and pausing the video, or going to the comments section.


Mike Weinholtz Takes On Governor Herbert In First Debate


I took the liberty of modifying the only known recording of this important event by cropping a citizens cell phone recording and amplifying the sound. This one-on-one debate nearly didn’t happen. Herbert only agreed to debate Weinholtz once on September 26th, but changed his mind at the last minute. I guess you could call this a flash debate.

I wanted people to see what a great leader Weinholtz would be for Utah. He really did a great job!

Original debate video can be found at Mike Weinholtz’s webpage.


Surely You’re Joking, Gov. Herbert!

Arch Canyon
Arch Canyon, Manti-La Sal National Forest

But he’s not joking. (And stop calling him “Shirley.”)

On April Fool’s Day, Governor Gary Herbert signed into law H.B. 160, the so-called “Utah Wilderness Act.” Unlike the REAL Utah Wilderness Act (98 Stat. 1657, signed into law in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan), this bill did not designate a single acre of wilderness land. Why did the Utah legislature pass a fake wilderness law?

Two years ago, Gov. Herbert signed H.B. 148, the Transfer of Public Lands Act. It was a blatant violation of both the Utah and United States Constitutions. The Act purports to require, among other things, that the federal government must transfer title of all public lands in Utah to the state before January 1, 2015. This includes lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service.

Article III, Section 2 of the Utah Constitution says in no uncertain terms that the people of Utah “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries hereof.” Likewise, Section 3 of Utah’s Enabling Act, the legislation which led to Utah’s birth as a state, contains this same disclaimer.

Our legislature has chronically underfunded state parks. There is no plan and no budget for the state to manage the 30 million acres now administered by federal land agencies in Utah. The so-called “Utah Wilderness Act” is an attempt to cover up the state government’s lack of seriousness by establishing a mechanism for state-level “wilderness” designation. But it’s a farce.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964. With these bold and eloquent words, wildlands were declared essential:

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

H.B. 160’s sponsor, Rep. Stephen Handy (R-Layton), included this key language (originally drafted by Howard Zahniser, one of the founders of The Wilderness Society). But Utah Republicans struck it out of the bill, as too “highfalutin.”


Let Me Try To Simplify This…

Credit goes to Disney

Credit goes to Disney

When these stories are new, a lot of speculation goes on in the media; which is normal.

A man drives his truck up the capital steps in Utah – which were designed to not allow vehicles to drive up there – according to the Deseret News:

When the Capitol was renovated several years ago, the steps were built at a steeper angle as a security measure, designed to make a vehicle either bottom-out or be unable to make the climb.

“It was just the perfect-sized truck with the right amount of clearance to do what it did,” he said.

The same Deseret News aticle from page 1 claims:

Green has several DUI convictions and minor traffic violations, but no other criminal history in Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune claims:

The man’s prior criminal history in Utah is minor: a few traffic violations and a charge of unlawful purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor when he was 18, according to a search of court records.

Some reports said the man wasn’t able to be tazed, but this report from The Associated Press said:

Troopers confronted him on the building’s third floor, where they stunned Green with a Taser, punched him in the face and arrested him.

I don’t know if this was a ploy to legalize marijuana or pump-up the drug war; a scheme to increase “Homeland Security” and the Bluffdale mega-spy-center or maybe it was only a youthful indiscretion.

Now here’s my point…

The fact remains that this dude could have just walked up those stairs and right into the building with a gun and shot anybody he wanted to, but he didn’t have a gun.


Last Chance to Stop Insane Unconstitutional Bills

Sagebrush Rebellion

Rep. Ivory’s H.B. 148 – Transfer of Public Lands Act and Related Study and Rep. Barrus’ H.J.R. 3 – Joint Resolution on Federal Transfer of Public Lands passed a final vote in the Utah Senate yesterday. These bills are now headed to the Governor’s desk, and may actually be signed into law.

As One Utah readers know, this unconstitutional legislation issues a demand to the federal government to transfer all public lands within Utah, national parks included, to the state by the end of 2014. If Congress fails to comply, the bills would allocate $3 million to begin litigation to force the federal government to relinquish ownership of the land.

Once again, our legislature has embarrassed the state by passing crazy bills that violate the Constitution. There will be a Rally to Restore Sanity tonight at the State Capitol building at 5:30 pm.

More info: The Sagebrush Gang Rides Again?


Governor Herbert’s tardy response and what that proves about Gerrymandering

Last night on the news Governor Herbert made an announcement to the press in some cozy location in front of a pretty Christmas tree, warning us that more severe weather lies ahead with predictions of high winds–this time with snow–on Sunday into Monday. And I have one question:

Where have you been for two days now, Governor?

I drove through the towns of Davis Country yesterday and destruction is everywhere. Pick any random street and you will see property damage. The sound of chain saws is in the air. Neighborhoods have rallied to help neighbors cut up huge trees, repair houses, clean up. I saw a housing construction site in Farmington that will have to be bulldozed. I didn’t take pictures as hundreds have already been posted on news channel web sites. Some communities are still without power after three days. Property damage is expected to exceed $20 million.

As I watched the governor last night, it occurred to me that we had heard not one word from any state official nor any state-level representative–let alone a congressman. Not so much as a gratuitous photo-op in front of a downed tree. No promises of help. No offering of resources.

Maybe I missed something, but the highest officials I have seen making public announcements are the mayors of the cities affected.

And we in northern Utah are not surprised, as I’m sure our counterparts in southern Utah would not be either. The powers that be in this state are so ensconced in Salt Lake, it’s almost as if their world ends at the county boundaries. If it didn’t happen in Sandy, it didn’t happen.

Well thanks for the weather report, gov.

And it got me to thinking further about this whole problem of representation and the gerrymandering fiasco recently perpetrated on us by a legislature intent on becoming a one-party state (as if it’s not already that). Our representation is not local, it’s stretched over many counties with a meaningless mix of rural and urban areas. There is no way our representatives can focus on the unique problems and issues affecting their constituents in individual communities when the district covers such diverse and expansive areas. And so, the result is the smaller communities or the minorities in general get overlooked–are not heard.

As Utah heads further and further into the realm of single-party rule, there will be fallout. Not just failure to act when people need help. That’s something that is easy to see and photograph. But there will be greater corruption of public officials who will have too much power and no fear of being ousted from office. There will be less concern about the real needs of the people of Utah and more focus on padding the bank accounts of elected officials and their families and cronies.

Because it always comes down to money.

And I don’t blame the officials. We know it’s not their fault that power corrupts; that’s a law of nature. I blame the silly voters of Utah who just lazily check that “R” box because they think it’s all about unborn babies and fail to see the real big picture of politics in Utah.

Cross-posted at RedStateBlues

UPDATE: The gov may have read this post. Today he activated the National Guard to help with cleanup and rolled up his own sleeves for TV reporters. But I still wonder why this didn’t happen on Friday. Still tardy.


Utah Anti-Immigrant Law Blocked By Federal Restraining Order

Utah sign

Via TPM: After being in effect for less than 15 hours, Utah’s Arizona-style immigration enforcement law was temporarily blocked by a federal judge, pending a decision in a class-action lawsuit brought by civil rights groups.

District Judge Clark Waddoups issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, ruling that an attorney for the state hadn’t been able to argue that the law wouldn’t cause “irreparable harm” if allowed to stay in effect.

The Judge will hear arguments for a preliminary injunction on July 14.

When are the Utah legislature and Governor Herbert going to understand that passing blatantly unconstitutional laws is just a waste of taxpayer money?


BLM Wilderness Causes Yet Another Right-Wing Freakout

Comb Ridge
Comb Ridge in southeastern Utah, one of the areas re-inventoried by the BLM in 1999 and found to have wilderness characteristics.

Senator Orrin Hatch said it was “an insult to the people of Utah” and “proof – if any more was required – of this administration’s radical environmentalist agenda that threatens to devastate our Western way of life.”

Governor Gary Herbert called the timing of the announcement “suspect” and said it smacks of “political posturing.”

Rep. Rob Bishop opined, “This is little more than an early Christmas present to the far left extremists who oppose the multiple use of our nation’s public lands… [the Obama administration has] deliberately slapped western communities in the face.”

“This is an unprecedented usurpation of Congress’ power,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz. “The potential negative consequences of today’s actions will be far-reaching in the West, where we actually rely on the land for energy development, recreation, and food production (grazing and ranching). I look forward to working closely with my colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee and in the Congressional Western Caucus to demand an accounting.”

Whew. “Radical environmentalists.” “Political posturing.” “Far-left extremists.” “Far-reaching” consequences that “threaten to devastate our way of life.” What happened?

Basically nothing. After almost two years of insistent lobbying from conservationists, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has issued an order that effectively reversed an illegal decision by the Bush administration back in 2003. Secretarial Order 3310 (PDF) provides direction to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “regarding its obligation to maintain wilderness resource inventories on a regular and continuing basis…”

From the Q & A document:

Since the controversial out-of-court settlement between then-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and the state of Utah and other parties (Norton-Leavitt Settlement) on wilderness in 2003, the BLM has been without comprehensive national guidance on how to inventory and manage lands with wilderness characteristics that are not congressionally designated as “Wilderness” (with a capital “W”) as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System or are not Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) that are pending before Congress for possible inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

There is a bit of history behind this. In 1995, during a hearing on the doomed Utah Public Lands Management Act (a Republican-sponsored BLM wilderness bill), former Rep. Jim Hansen challenged then-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to produce evidence that Utah had anywhere near five million acres of wilderness-eligible BLM land, as conservation groups claimed. At the time, there were only 3.2 million acres of BLM wilderness study areas resulting from a flawed and biased 15-year congressionally-mandated wilderness review that concluded in 1991, during the George H. W. Bush administration.

Secretary Babbitt then ordered a BLM wilderness re-inventory in Utah, focusing on the 3.1 million acres eliminated at an early stage of the original review process, the 1980 Intensive Inventory. He could do this because the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) (PDF), the same law that provided for the wilderness review, also gave the Secretary of the Interior the authority to set aside public lands for protection through the BLM planning process.

Of course, the right-wing Republicans immediately freaked out, and the State of Utah went to court. In 1996, a district court judge issued an injunction to to stop the re-inventory of wilderness. Two years later, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Department of the Interior, affirming the Secretary’s authority under FLMPA.

The re-inventory concluded in 1999, and identified an additional 2.6 million acres as having wilderness characteristics according to the Wilderness Act (PDF).

Here’s a little bit of math: 3.2 + 2.6 = 5.8. Yes, it turns out that what conservationists had been saying all along was right. Utah had more than five million acres of BLM land eligible for designation as wilderness. In addition to the 3.2 million acres of wilderness study areas, the BLM now had another 2.6 million acres of inventory units that Secretary Babbitt ordered to be protected.

In April 2003, Interior Secretary Gale Norton made an out-of-court settlement with Utah Governor Mike Leavitt that rescinded former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt’s order protecting potential wilderness areas inventoried in the 1999 BLM re-inventory in exchange for dropping the lawsuit that had been filed in 1996. Conservation groups termed this the “No More Wilderness” policy. More legal wrangling ensued. Not to mention an unprecedented frenzy of oil and gas leasing, some of it in places that had been off-limits under Babbitt.

With Secretary Salazar’s order, we’re back at square one, with the BLM once again adhering to the policy established by Congress in FLPMA 34 years ago. It’s… wait for it… A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF PUBLIC LANDS!

UPDATE: Salt Lake Tribune editorial: More wilderness?: Salazar’s small step forward


Old News From Election Day

Why do Utahn’s keep spending millions of dollars to NOT vote?

This only started to happen after Gary Herbert forced us to buy a multi-million dollar voting system. I’ve lived in Utah all my life and I know we are a paranoid bunch, but when it comes to voting machines that can easily be hacked, we just don’t care. I’ve been scratching my head ever since this process started and it’s a miracle that I still have all my hair.

Headline at BradBlog today:

All Diebold Touch-screen Voting Systems Fail on Election Day at 110 Polls Across Utah County, UT

Here’s the report from KSL news:

Here is what Brad’s very inexpensive voting system would look like, and as Americas sqeakiest wheel on voting issues for many years now, I completely agree:

1) Vote on paper ballots.
2) Put the paper ballots into a translucent box on the table in front of everyone at all times.
3) When poll closes, open box, count ballots, with all parties, all citizens, all video cameras watching.
4) Post the results at the polling place before ballots move anywhere.
5) Celebrate a 100% transparent electoral democracy.


Cold as ICE


Loud raps shook a cozy home and brought the husband rushing to find two armed ICE officials standing gravely in his door frame with a picture of a woman. “Does this woman live here?” They briskly inquire. They go on to explain that the woman in the picture is registering stolen cars to his address. The husband quickly responds “no.” They request to come in and ask the rest of the household. When the wife looks at the picture and says “no.” The ICE officials verify the wife’s name and detain her for being in the country undocumented although she’s been married to a U.S. citizen since 2006 and applied for political asylum way before then. They deposited her into a white van carrying various others.

Since then this family has diligently been navigating a bureaucratic maze that finds them no closer to attaining asylum or citizenship for her than before. They endure ICE agents staking out their home. The wife endured a chemical burn from a monitoring device ICE has required her to wear around her ankle. Their son cries out in fear for his mother.

I hear people say being here in the U.S. undocumented is a legal violation. Well, our immigration system is a human rights violation.

Approximately 392,862 deportations have occurred within the past year. A record. More deportations than ever before. Can you even imagine the other stories out there? We were told about a few more this eve and are convicted to help.

Most undocumented workers create revenue through taxes for the U.S. Generating billions in revenue for the government. Most are going to through the process of attaining citizenship and pay thousands to navigate the paperwork by hiring an attorney. They can only hope the attorney doesn’t over charge them. They pay thousands to the U.S. government in form and application fees to get through the citizenship process. Not to mention the copies that need to be made for this process (475 pages in one packet) that needs to be duplicated and sent more than once. This process includes shipping fees and more. This social injustice is about economics. What would happen to our economy if mass deportations occurred?

We learned that the undocumented community will need toys during Christmas as well as clothing and food. A few of us have committed to learning the process to navigating the citizenship paperwork to provide a support to the community.

Let me know if you can provide assistance with this issue. It’s the most pressing human rights issue in Utah and YOU can help solve it by working together to call on the Federal Government to FIX this system and by volunteering your time to collect resources for these families. <3

The above is Utah family’s story that a few of us USJ members heard yesterday eve and again, we are convicted to help.

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