OPINION – Welcome to the 2013 St. George election cycle. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The recent animal shelter debacle notwithstanding, there looms on the horizon matters of consequence for this community that will require an informed and participatory citizen if there is to be any meaningful change in our city.
The main thrust of most campaigns here locally focuses on economic growth and jobs under a loosely-adhered-to banner of Vision Dixie and the infamous Lake Powell Pipeline.
The Washington County Water Conservancy District is hard at work spending copious amounts of your hard earned tax dollars on film production to promote the project, as well as other side projects like paying a self-professed analyst – who swears he is not an advocate – to pitch the pipeline at meetings at the WCWCD headquarters, the Utah State Legislature, and the Chamber of Commerce in St. George.
The Water Conservancy District is also buying up land like the Pah Tempe Hot Springs Resort to the tune of $1.5 million and have gone on record stating they do not know what they plan to do with the place. Curious position given they have spent years in litigation, protecting their rights and positioning for the acquisition, and likely spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees to finally get the land, only to state they have “no idea” at this time what they will do with it.
I’d keep an eye on that one …
And here in the city, under a statement that defies logic, that is,”If we are not growing, we are dying,” proponents for the pipeline like St. George City Manager Gary Esplin hope the semblance of impending doom and draconian consequences if the pipeline fails will move a somewhat easily placated constituency to support the project with nary the facts on what it will cost, and who in fact will actually benefit from it – if the water is even there at all.
Mind if I assert something a little audacious here? I don’t think the powers-that-be in this community really want growth.
I think that growth, as it were, is the proverbial carrot on the stick the leaders here dangle in front of their constituency to get them to support huge projects; projects, that is, that bring less economic growth overall than they do contracts for local developers and sales for local “fortunate land owners.”
A recent letter to the editor in this publication indicates that some in our community might concur.
I have held this position for some time now, but something President Obama said in a Kindle Singles interview got me to thinking it may be more accurate than I previously thought. He said:
It used to be there were local newspapers everywhere. If you wanted to be a journalist, you could make a good living working for your hometown paper. Now you have a few newspapers that make a profit because they are national brands, and journalists are having to scramble to piece together a living, in some cases as freelancers and without the same benefits that they had in a regular job for a paper. What’s true in journalism is true in manufacturing and is true in retail. What we have to recognize is that those old times aren’t coming back.
Repeat that last line to yourself and let it really sink in. “What we have to recognize is that those old times aren’t coming back.” The President is right.
While here locally some indications such as a minuscule rise in new home construction give a glimmer of hope that the build and boom days of the economy of a decade ago is on its way back, energy prices and food prices locally indicate otherwise. So do wages and availability of viable work.
And while things like the Lake Powell Pipeline proposal promise such growth, have you ever considered the possibility that the only thing that project will do is price new growth out of the market with the outrageous impact fees it proposes? That those fees, as well as the likelihood that supply of that water is questionable at best, sets up a scenario consistent with the proposition that it is a project less about growth and jobs as it is about providing work and profits for a designated few?
The leadership needed in this community needs to reflect the coming age we are entering, where energy is becoming more and more expensive and water is becoming more and more scarce. This is a combination that does not support boom type growth but rather intelligent and well thought-out growth as well as sustainable living standards for those currently living here.
“If we are not growing, we are dying” is the mantra of the cancer cell as it continues to grow until it kills its host. Think about that.
We are the cancer cell and the place we live is the host. We can overdo it and I think the leadership here knows it.
This would validate my theory that growth is what they pitch, when it is control they are after. And at your expense.
Consider this when you are thinking about which box to check at the ballot in this year’s municipal primary.
See you out there.
- Letter to the Editor: Lake Powell Pipeline a ‘Good Ol’ Boy’ scam, a ‘pipe dream’
- City Council passes resolution to improve animal shelter
- As housing development begins to boom, bust is remembered
- Washington County home prices rising, real estate recovery
- Soul searching, regret, reform after animal shelter allegations
- City launches inquiry into allegations of abuse at St. George Animal Shelter
- Lake Powell Pipeline dominates water forum
- Public input sought at Utah’s Water Future town hall meeting
- The WAY I see it: The way to grow is not always expansion
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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