I was recently made aware that our Moab City Council and Mayor Sakrison, sent a letter dated July 13, 2017 to the Grand County Special Events Coordinating Committee and Grand County Council asking that the Rally on the Rocks (ROTR) event not be permitted and discontinued. Once again the shortsighted policy of the council and mayor have opened up a can of worms with discriminatory practices toward the UTV users and those businesses that promote such activities, which may make the city liable for legal damages again.
The letter cites “unacceptable noise” as one reason and lists Grand County Ordinance 521 (2013) as justification. As I have watched this issue brought up in the past about what is annoying noise to some, it has become apparent that singling out the UTVs has been the total focus of complaints by a select few. No mention about other street legal noise such as 4x4s, motorcycles, car show participants and many other noise-makers in and around Moab proper being included in discussions.
Another complaint cited was “public safety.” The machines create a danger to pedestrians. Really? That is laughable, as anyone who uses Main Street knows pedestrians flagrantly cross the road not using the legal cross walks. Cyclists are often the worst offenders for riding on sidewalks and are guilty of not using the bike lanes as well. Why not ban them?
“Unacceptable disruptions” was also listed because of the sheer number of people coming to the event. I suppose our city council and mayor don’t get out much these days. Events are a constant here in Moab and to pick and choose just one such event seems hyper hypocritical.
The letter cited issues at Sand Flats and how that area is impacted. How about we limit Sand Flats to just UTV users so the others are affected? That won’t happen because you would be singling out people who camp, hike, bike and recreate. And they would be the ones complaining of discrimination.
Last, but not least, was the “impact on our economy.” The claim mentioned the event only donated $10,000 to $15,000 to local charities and in short is not worth it because of the disruptions it causes. Really? Tell that to the charity who receives that money. Are the mayor and city council willing to pony up that kind of dinero? If so then our hard-earned tax money is being freely squandered.
The economic impact of this event is obvious and the city has no problem collecting and spending the tax revenue generated from it. City expenses have skyrocketed as evidenced by the huge budget increases. Gas, groceries, lodging, restaurants, etc., get a huge boost from the event, and to ignore the economic gain is offensive to hard-working entrepreneurs who have invested and pay taxes here in Moab city.
The shortsighted and selfish attitude of the above mentioned leadership by Moab city is appalling. Special interests are running the current local government and I urge the voters to choose a new mayor and council members to help bring balance to the poor decision-making going on.
I urge the Grand County Special Events Coordinating Committee and Grand County Council to reject such a biased and discriminatory recommendation. I also urge anyone with a stake in community events to call them out on this, as you will likely be targeted next.
Kelly Mike Green is a lifelong resident of Southeastern Utah. As an active voice in civic affairs he believes that transparency is key to building trust in local government.