Letter to the Editor: US House of Reps field hearing was a joke

Congressional field hearing convened by the Utah congressional delegation because of complaints that the BLM is not working with local officials on the resource management plans. St. George, Utah Jan. 22, 2015 | Photo by Austin Peck | St. George News

OPINION — Shame on those who planned (Friday) morning’s U.S. House Natural Resource Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing at the Dixie Center. (It) was an example of government – on all levels – gone wrong. What a pity for those college students standing next to me who wanted to learn firsthand about federal and state hearings.

Read more: Congressional subcommittee criticizes BLM for unwillingness to work with local officials

It was an exclusionary “public hearing” that was practically non-hearable by too many of the 500 plus citizens who tried to attend.

First, the meeting was held in a room with a stated maximum occupancy of less than 200. All except a select few were allowed in early, while the rest of us citizens stood waiting outside the closed doors for about 45 minutes.

At the last minute, when the doors were opened, it quickly became evident that lawmakers had absolutely no intention of letting all the public attend because almost 50 percent of the seats were already filled, so as many of us as possible jammed into the room’s sides, as newly elected Mayor Jon Pike smiled smugly from the stand. A smile says a thousand words, mayor.

Those who couldn’t squeeze into the room stood outside but, since most were seniors, soon left because they couldn’t stand much longer. I have Parkinson’s, stood waiting the 45 minutes outside the room, squeezed into the room and stood another 28 minutes until I thought my legs would lock and I’d fall. Then, I reluctantly left.

“Exclusionary, especially for the disabled,” I mumbled to myself.

Second, we all knew ahead of time that none of us would be able to speak, but we were hoping to at least hear what the lawmakers might say. It’s not too often that we get state and federal elected officials to hold any type of hearings “open to the public” here in St. George.

Unfortunately, the microphone system’s volume was so soft that those of us not even at the very back of the room could not clearly hear what was being said, nor was the stage high enough for us to see the speakers. The specific issues any of us wanted to hear about doesn’t really matter because few of us had the opportunity to hear much of anything.

Submitted by Candace Mesa, St. George

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them; they do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News.

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Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.


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  • ladybugavenger January 24, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    And the workers at Dixie center quickly put together 600 chairs in another room and broadcasted from the other room onto a big screen as an overflow. At lunchtime the workers at Dixie continued to set up this room with the microphones and stage. When people came back from lunch it was completely set up and the hearing was moved to the bigger room.
    I agree, it was a mess for a while and too many people stuffed in a small space..they must not have expected people to show up. Or they just didn’t care…..

    • .... January 24, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      You left out the part about the white man stealing land from the American Natives

      • ladybugavenger January 25, 2016 at 11:32 am

        Thanks for doing it for me

        • .... January 25, 2016 at 2:40 pm

          Me no want’em squaw get teepee in knot !

        • .... January 25, 2016 at 3:30 pm

          Oh by the way just an update. people are still performing abortions

          • ladybugavenger January 25, 2016 at 5:46 pm

            That’s their chose. One day they will see the light. Bless their hearts

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 24, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    was their a mormon opening prayer for the event?

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 24, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    i’m not sure any group exists that is more anti-conservation and pro-development than mormon republican “conservatives”

  • Not_So_Much January 24, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I went to attend the ‘hearing’ and arrived about 9:45 am and was surprised to see the lobby area outside the entrada meeting room jammed with people. There were suits, ranchers, yellow hats among the large crowd. When the doors opened at 10am (what’s with that?) it didn’t take long to see that a large percentage (including myself) weren’t about to get inside the room. Being held at the Dixie Center surely there would be room for all who wanted to be there. Instead, I assume the committee got exactly what they wanted. After all you couldn’t speak unless you were invited and I’m sure they thought only a few fools would even bother to take the time to see the performance.

    Next time you smell something really foul, take a look around, there may well be a politician (or two) nearby.

  • beacon January 25, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Perhaps the most disgusting thing about the event, particularly the morning official congressional hearing, was that Chris Stewart and Jason Chaffetz, the two most offensive and over-the-top individuals on the congressional dais, are not even on the House Natural Resources subcommittee that was orchestrating the event. People should watch the hearings on Southern Utah Live when posted to understand exactly how rude and despicable these two were. I’m not sure how they could have played up to their political base in the audience without, well, I won’t go there. I actually got the feeling that Rep. Bishop was embarrassed by them, and that’s saying a lot!!

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