Staff column: What happened to the anger and concern?
A decade ago I was a reporter at this paper and I remember the anger and concern almost everyone in the area showed when the state legislature redistricted the state house seats and Carbon ended up being divided between two districts in the process.
People griped about it at meetings, they complained on the street and we had letters to the editor that called the legislature all kinds of names.
Now 10 years later there is a new census and another legislative committee is once again at it. This time they have the web to rely on for peoples input. People can even submit their own maps.
Still the decisions made, despite the visual proof that people want things done differently, will be made politically. The legislators who sat in front of the the extremely small crowd on Saturday afternoon said they were after the best solutions. I believe them.
Only question is who they are thinking of for that decision?
It's easy to pick on the legislators because they have to make public choices. But in this column I am going to pick on someone else: citizens.
Only 22 people (and two of them were legislators who were not on the committee, one was a county commissioner from Carbon, one was a county commissioner from Uintah County and then there was one person from the fairgrounds staff, and myself) were in the audience. The people who were there were well spoken and no one got mad. They made their point.
But numbers would have been nice to show legislators that we really care what they do.
Instead, little Grand County (with a population of less than half ours) almost doubled the number of people attending a similar meeting in Moab that very same morning.
Citizens absense from this meeting showed something, but I am not sure what it was. It may have showed that citizens really don't care. It may have showed that they had better things to do on a warm Saturday afternoon than listen to what many of them consider political maneuvering. It may have said that many people don't think their being there could have or would have made a difference. Or maybe it said that we are satisfied with the way things have gone, and even it if changes again, it won't matter.
One, all these things or even other things may be the answer.
There were seats for maybe 300 people set up; I know I expected a crowd after all the bitching and moaning that went on about "gerrymandering" 10 years ago.
The fact is that by not showing up, each person who was not there made a statement as loud as they would have if they had been there and spoke into the microphone.
And I'm sure the politicians got the point.