An open letter to the study committee

 Editor,

In reviewing my file on the 1992 change in government, I was reminded that the campaign materials emphasized five fundamental elements: Seven-member council, five elected by district, nonpartisan elections, term limits and recall.  

House Bill 224 eliminated the last three of those fundamental elements and you are now being encouraged to change the other two.  H.B. 224 was only adopted because of the outsized and secretive influence of a minority of Grand County citizens with the Utah Association of Counties and the Utah Legislature.  

H.B. 224 reflects an elaborate and clever plan to secure a result, which that minority had not been able to attain when their proposals had to compete with the form of government adopted in 1992. Making the alternative the dreaded three-member at-large commission (a classic poison pill move) guaranteed your committee would be appointed and guarantees that whatever the study committee proposes will be adopted.  

Do you believe the voters would have approved the creation of your committee if the alternative had been a continuation of our existing form, even with the H.B. 224 modifications (elimination of nonpartisan elections, term limits and recall, and change the name from council to commission)?

Those behind H.B. 224 have already successfully removed Grand County voters’ rights to have nonpartisan elections, term limits and recall. Only a few Grand County voters had any say in those changes, since the process totally disrespected Grand County and its voters and gave no opportunity to our county council or anyone else to defend those elements of our current form of government. 

Does it seem reasonable that the last remaining fundamental elements in our form of government now be changed by the study committee? How could you justify substituting your judgment for that reflected in the Grand County voters’ adoption of our present plan and voter rejection of alternatives every time they were proposed?  

No number of public meetings can substitute for multiple elections. The only fair and democratic result is to limit the damage of H.B. 224 to Grand County by retaining the seven-member, five-elected-by-district structure in your proposal.

Grand County voters have supported the seven-member, five-elected-by-district structure on multiple occasions. If those who now want to change that structure have the integrity to submit their alternative to the voters in an election that is an honest contest of ideas, they should do that.    

Thanks for your consideration.  

– Doug Fix
Moab