Letter: Experience the monuments before opposing them

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  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 10:07 a.m.

    Mike Richards once again demonstrates the problem of reading (and quoting) the Constitution without reference to the historical context. Article 1 Sec 8 refers to land within the states, 13 in number at the time. The rest of the country was covered by land ordinances in effect before the Constitution was written. Kansas was 100% owned and disposed of by Washington (look up FEDEERAL land offices). Utah was a U S Territory after 1848 subject to the same policies as the rest of the country. That most of it remained in federal hands is due mostly to topography and climate, not nefarious government scheming. Face it; there is just less attractive arable land in Utah than in Kansas.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Jan. 9, 2018 4:44 p.m.

    Mike said: "The Constitution protects US from anything illegal coming out of Washington, including the illegal confistication of 66% of Utah. "

    Utah signed that land away, that was not Illegal, no matter how many times you claim it is.
    Why are you whining about fair? Is it fair that you could fit several eastern states inside of Utah?
    Should they have broken the states into equal sizes? Your fantasies about statehood aren't based in facts. We have bombing ranges bigger than Rhode Island and Massachusetts combined.

    The open land in question is not taxed at the rate you imply, not even close.

    Why doesn't Utah offer to buy the land? Because you and your ilk want a freebie from the feds.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2018 2:28 p.m.

    Course correction ( stevo123 ): It belongs to all Americans collectively, not individually. How many U.S. citizens will ever be able to come and experience these areas ? How much should they pay in taxes to support others' enjoyment ? Historical note: Mormons were settling in what is now Utah ( and elsewhere in the west ) before these places were even part of the USA. Let's get serious. Right now, the Federal government doesn't have enough resources to manage what we already have. Yes, we need to take care of our natural treasures; but. solutions need to be found; and it won't be found without a comprehensive approach using good sense and judgment. It must involve people at the local, county, state and federal levels.

  • wasatchcascade Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2018 12:23 p.m.

    There are certainly divisions, rifts and views on the Utah Monument matter and there will never be a resolution that satisfies all. Turn back the clock though and look at Utah's five National Parks - four in their infancy were National Monuments, and the full Arches, Canyonlands, Hovenweap and Natural Bridges areas, were objected to by the then Governor and one of two Utah US Senators. Maybe we should take a broom and sweep back those designations too and develop all of those sites? I know for a fact that Utah politicians in the lead - Hatch, Herbert, Bishop - those pushing the Executive Order; have never been into the full corners of the GSENM and have no idea what is within. And Bears Ears, is basically Greater Canyonlands, with Dark and White Canyon Complexes, expansive Cedar Mesa, Comb Wash, upper basin Beef Basin, Ruin Park, Bears Ears and then further east and south to Monticello and Blanding. Many say there is "not much there" except for thousands of cultural remnants spread cross the full environment. These politicians take the actions they do as they have no connection to the places and near total disaffection toward nature & cultural history.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2018 11:32 a.m.

    Happy Valley Heretic,

    Do you always jump to conclusions? Are you a Utah? Your sign-on says you are. Therefore, you are part of the “we” that are Utahns. Are you told by your religious leader how to vote? I hope not, but I’m not that familiar with your religion. In the LDS Church, we are NEVER told how to vote. NEVER.

    Did Washington require all of the States formed from land purchased from France to cede 66% of their area to Washington before they were allowed to become a State. Washington “owned” that land. The map I have contradicts your assertion that prior ownership constitutes present ownership. Is 66% of Kansas owned by Washington? Why not?

    The former owners of my house do not own 66% of my house nor were they allowed to make that illegal demand as terms of my buying @their” house when offering their house for sale.

    The Constitution protects US from anything illegal coming out of Washington, including the illegal confistication of 66% of Utah.

    Now, if Washington had to pay property tax on those lands, they might rethink their interest in Utah. Where I live, property tax comes to at least $4,500 per acre per year.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Jan. 9, 2018 8:52 a.m.

    Mike, your confusing the idea of a mormon theocracy, with statehood.

    The United States of America already owned ALL the land per the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

    This "we" you speak of I have to assume is the LDS church, they had no given right to the land even if they believed it was their God given right, it wasn't.

    The United States of America had no interest in allowing a theocratic nation/state to be formed in our country, we had just fought a civil war over slavery, which Utah's leadership sided with.

    The early days of the LDS Church had no problem trading barbs with "outsiders" and threatening the Feds.

    The State of Deseret once encompassed most of the west, but that was wishful thinking by a group of squatters, who thought they were on a mission.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2018 7:36 a.m.


    You are correct. Utah was not forced to become a State, but if we wanted to throw off the yoke of Washington control and if we wanted the freedom to choose their own governor instead of having Washington appoint a governor and if we wanted control of their own lands, we had to apply for statehood. That’s when duress entered. Washington told us that we could not be granted Statehood unless we ceded 66% of the Land to Washington - which is not only illegal from a contract point of view, but is explicitly prohibited by the Constitution.

    Think of the reasons stated in the Declaration of Independence to assert independence from British ownership of the Colonies and then defend our own government’s breaching OUR Constitution to violate independent ownership and control of a State by the people of that State.

    We are not a Colony nor are we a county of Washington. We are an independent State joined with other States to make the federation of States known as the United States of America. ALL of Utah is Utah except for those lands approved for purchase for forts, arsenals and magazines.

  • stevo123 Driggs, ID
    Jan. 9, 2018 7:21 a.m.

    Mike Richards, You are 1oo% wrong, the land belongs to all Americans.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    Jan. 9, 2018 4:22 a.m.

    Yes there are parts of Bears Ears that is unique but under your reasoning the San Rafael and Navajo Mountain and many other places should also be monuments or parks
    Walk to the edge of the Grand Canyon and you know why it has been a park, drive to the edge of a view area at Bryce Canyon, drive through Zion’s, drive through Yellowstone, hike to Delicate Arch
    Bears Ears is nice but it was sloppily put together and was too big. It was more of an environmental thing than a park thing. It was meant to deny certain uses than to give people an awesome experience. Did it for the wrong reasons.

  • Don Bixby Centerville, UT
    Jan. 8, 2018 8:33 p.m.

    They weren't forced to become a state, so no duress. As a territory, they were already the property of the federal government (article 4 section 3), per the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 8, 2018 5:49 p.m.

    The question is not whether any part of Utah is beautiful but whether Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is still valid. There, it limits Federal ownership of any part of any State to sites for forts, magazines and arsenals with the addition of one parcel of land not exceeding 10 miles square for the seat of government. The Constitution pre-existed the formation of Utah, of Idaho, of Nevada, of Alaska, of Wyoming, of Montana and of any other State that was forced, as a territory, to cede land to the Federal Government before being allowed to become a State. We all understand that any contract signed under duress is null and void. We also know that the STATE Legislature must approve all transfers of land and that the Federal Government must pay for any land acquired. NONE of those conditions were met before the Federal Government claimed ownership of 66% of Utah.

    That land belongs to Utah and to the citizens of Utah. It is not a Federal playground for citizens of any other State. If they want to cede 66% of their States to the Federal Government, then let THEM do that.