Our neighbor’s legal
scrapes over in Utah
SAN JUAN COUNTY … Utah, not Colorado. They’ve been having legal troubles over there … Chair Phil Lyman led a band of four-wheelers into a restricted area last year, got himself arrested and convicted of illegal entry and personally fined a goodly amount in damages … Now the county majority – Lyman and Commissioner Bruce Adams -- have failed to do due diligence in not redistricting their commissioner and school districts after every census. They apparently failed to understand (or hire a lawyer to research) a Federal judge’s consent degree from 1984, ending their previous practice of dividing up districts so that Navajos were never elected as commissioner. Two years after that ruling, Mark Maryboy was elected to the board, and San Juan County has had one Navajo commissioner ever since … However, the Native-American population has been growing, and the county is now divided about 50-50 Native and Anglo. In 2011 the Anglo-American commissioners decided to redistrict, leaving the “Native-American” district untouched and merely changing the two “Anglo-American” districts so as to keep them safe for two Anglo-American seats (The vote was 2-1, the Navajo commissioner dissenting). The Navajo Human Rights Commission sued in Salt Lake City’s Federal Court. And U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby ruled in their favor … However, Lyman and Adams are threatening further lawsuits. Sonja Horoshko has an excellent article on the matter in the March issue of the Four Corners Free Press … She quotes Lyman as saying, “They’re taking a non-problem, and making it problematic … A group of Navajos have decided to use redistricting to be vexatious. Their motivation is spite and malice, and it will continue” … Leonard Gorman, head of the Navajo Human Rights Commission, sees it differently. “We tried to work with the county commissioners in 2011,” he told the Free Press. But to no avail.
RASH OF DEATHS … My heart goes out to grieving families of loved ones who’ve left us suddenly, inexplicably. Death is a difficult burden to shoulder, and the mystery of another’s leaving can haunt us for a long time.
TALKING GOURDS … We had a nice group of gourditas y gourditos at Arroyo’s a couple weeks back … Donald Levering is a fine craftsman of the word, and if you close your eyes, he takes you to the most marvelous of places … Jean Bower read her quiet, poignant lyrics with enough gravitas and elder humor to keep us all entranced … And there were lots of shared poems, texts, songs and autoharp -- as once again we passed the gourd.
LAKE CITY … I don’t get to go there much. It was a favorite of the Club 20 folks when I belonged to that oil&gas booster group back at the turn of the millennium. And you can’t blame them. It’s spectacular country, and the county courthouse is a gem … But I got to know Commissioner Flynn Mangum, along with his cohorts Linda Matthews and Allen Brown, at CCI – the infamous Colorado Counties, Inc. There we found ourselves on the same side of the great divide between the Front Range (all the flat east to Kansas) & the Western Slope (a true slope from the Southern Rockies to the Mormon border). Rural v. City. Water v. Thirst. Handshakes v. Contracts … I counted all three of those folks as friends, politically and personally. Flynn had a gregarious smile and liked to make us laugh. A great fellow to have in a convention hospitality room packed with politicos … Flynn. Who passed away, suddenly, last week. A great fellow … Lake City’s loss, and ours too.
A WIN FOR ANTI-FOGGERS … For several years I’ve been following an on-going struggle between several chemical-sensitive landowners in Delta County and their malathion-loving neighbor. Jim Hopper has continued to use an industrial fogger on his place, in spite of a judge’s permanent injunction in 2012, after having been found to be committing “chemical trespass” and exacerbating toxic symptoms experienced by Gordon MacAlpine, who has a rare form of leukemia, and his partner Rosemary Bilchak … Last month Hopper was sentenced to two days in the Delta County Jail and fined $7,500 for contempt of court, in not obeying the court’s injunction … It’s a win for those all those who eschew chemical pesticides and believe their home and land should not be invaded by toxins from a neighbor’s property.
POTPOURRI … Amy McBride is stepping up to the plate and running for Ouray County Commissioner. Progressives all over the Slope look to support her …
Out past Carnation Rd. in northern Montrose County coming out of Olathe on U.S. Highway 50, check out the Louisiana-Pacific eyesore that’s been smartly refurbished, repurposed and seems ready to put people back to work in the region and to rejoin the local tax rolls … Kudos to the new State Historian Patricia Limerick, who heads up the Center of the American West at CU Boulder. One of Colorado’s most brilliant.
THE TALKING GOURD
Oh you mile of eyes!
Sweet-booted lass from the grange
Lending my city minute
A frontier's lifetime. Please, Ma'am,
Do you have any spare change?