The letters to which he responded in last week’s “My View” column had raised three questions: why he, as the Grand County Council’s liaison with the Utah Association of Counties, failed to inform his colleagues about pending legislation (House Bill 244) seeking to invalidate the form of government chosen by substantial majorities in three separate election cycles; whether he was in any way complicit in framing the bill or moving it through the legislature; and whether he tipped off Lynn Jackson and other allies in the Republican Party in order to pull a fast one on the voting public.
If such allegations prove true, they constitute a serious ethical lapse. But, rather than addressing these issues, Mr. Wells tried to deflect attention from them by calling his detractors “vitriol-spewing liberals” who are “obsessed with control” and angry that they didn’t “get their way.”
I submit that Mr. Wells misrepresents the concerns of his critics. Those who protested the recent coup d’état by Republican Party operatives can live with losing fairly and squarely at the polls.
Democracy requires that citizens be mature enough to take their lumps. It is incompatible, however, with sneaky backroom maneuvering by a self-appointed elite attempting to change the rules in the middle of the game. Had his ideological opponents circumvented democratic norms and procedures in the way Mr. Wells and his associates apparently did, their voices would be the loudest ones crying foul — and rightly so.
If our county government is really as dysfunctional, incompetent and irresponsible as they would have us believe, they need to make a detailed case for that proposition to the general public. To opt for the underhanded strategy of enlisting the state legislature to force personal preferences on the rest of us suggests that Mr. Wells himself is the true control freak, determined to “get his way” by fair means or foul.
I agree with his admonition that people should be civil and respectful in political debates. But the deeds of his faction fail the smell test, and it is neither uncivil nor disrespectful to say so.