Letters, April 7, 2016 

The Price of Greed and Superdelegates Should Reflect Voters' Mandate

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The Price of Greed
Most of my fondest memories of the outdoors with my two sons were spent down in the red rocks of southern Utah—taking them on hikes to see the unsurpassed views that you can't see anywhere else, and letting them hear the incredible silence of the desert. And taking them on rafting trips down the mighty Colorado to see the red-rock canyons like only the river view can deliver. Unfortunately, this jewel— loved by the whole world—will soon be gone if Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and his greedy pals have their way. The new and improved Public Lands Initiative will condemn the red rocks to ruins in a few short years, but there is much money to be had, so let the fracking begin!

Who cares if a few hundred oil wells are scattered around Arches and Canyonlands? Think of all the money our elected leaders will be raking in. When you are hiking through the rocks, ignore the strip-mining scars and coal mine pollution. Remember all the free trips and the perks that our leaders are getting—that will make it all worth it.

And when you get to that special quiet spot to listen to the wind, just ignore the bulldozers, dump trucks and giant oil tankers. Bring earplugs. When the air over the entire Moab region is thick with oil and toxic fumes, remember: They said it was good for us to give away paradise.

When my grandchildren ask, "Why did they destroy southern Utah?" I will have to tell them the truth: that most of the elected leaders here in Utah are greedy and selfish, and there weren't enough of us with the guts to stop them.
Tony Pignanelli
Cottonwood Heights

Superdelegates Should Reflect Voters' Mandate
In her role as an unpledged delegate or a "superdelegate" at the Democratic Party's national convention in Philadelphia in July, state Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, has been trying to justify her support of Hillary Clinton. She's failing at being convincing.

The Democratic Party doesn't trust its members. It designates 17 percent of convention delegates from among elected and appointed party officials who can support whatever candidate they want—and this could include overriding the will of the "pledged" delegates chosen by the voters at about a 10,000-to-1 ratio.

Bernie Sanders received 77 percent of the Utah caucus votes, yet will have only 50 percent of Utah's superdelegates, as Arent and state party Vice Chair Breanne Miller had already committed to Clinton before Utahns had spoken so loudly and clearly. To their credit, the two other superdelegates (which really is a distasteful term)—former party Chair Wayne Holland and current Chair Peter Corroon—waited for the vote and are respecting caucus results.

Arent has also never made a compelling argument for Clinton's superiority either as a candidate or chief executive. Apparently, it's not important to her that several polls show Sanders is doing significantly better against all Republican opponents due partly to the broad dislike of Clinton among independent and swing voters.

The Republican primary system has its flaws, but at least its superdelegates can't overturn the will of party members. If they can't respect the wishes of Utah Democrats and both support Sanders, Arent and Miller should at least flip a coin to see which one of them will support him for a 75 percent representation. Then, their first item of convention business should be to work to reduce the future superdelegate role to nothing more than that of a tie breaker.

If superdelegates sway this nomination against the preference of party members, I'll be changing my party affiliation and won't be supporting any Democrats with my time and money in November. That may seem petulant, but if my role as a Democrat is to be spoonfed a party line and to fall in behind party-picked candidates, I'll go elsewhere.
Jim Catano
Salt Lake City

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