Land Grab 

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While wintering in Moab, we regularly read City Weekly and were stunned to learn that Utah legislators are scheming to steal more than 30 million acres of public parks and monuments for their own enrichment. Salivating over the prospect of a Mormon in the White House, these greed-driven provincials anticipate a forthcoming green light to savage America’s public lands in Utah.

Mining, logging, drilling, strip malls and massive development, they imply, would fund Utah’s miserable public-education system, last among the 50 states in expenditures per pupil. Utah’s dismal record on environmental protection and public education leaves small hope that the zealots in Utah’s Legislature have anything in mind other than feathering their own nests at public expense. Utah politicians, with rare exception, are historically deceptive and cunning, and improving education has nothing to do with the ambitions of the current crop to grab public lands.

Church and state are essentially one and the same in Utah. Yet, while “The Church” is an intimidating cash cow, the state’s educational system is an economic and professional disgrace. So how about sharing the wealth? How about building some balance? Or do Utah legislators fear that strengthening Utah education would weaken Utah religion?

All that is needed to even things out financially is for some potentate to have a convenient policy-making revelation and announce that church tithing will henceforth be divided 50-50 with the state’s impoverished public-education system. Then Utah might join its colleagues as a state with leadership in which its citizenry and the nation take pride.

But hold on! A better-educated and more-enlightened citizenry would immediately sweep the current Legislature out the door. Alas, the probability of progress is dim.

Tim H. Henney
Sandpoint, Idaho

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