|Paper||Canyon Country Zephyr|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||Tonya Auden Stiles, Moab, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Canyon Country Zephyr|
AKE IT OR LEAVE IT... By Jim Stiles The World Gets MORE Ridiculous... This issue of The Zephyr went to press on November 17 and I -had assumed that, in the week after Election Day, I’d be able to make some predictably negative, cutting and sarcastic comments about the election of Presidertt-elect George Dubyuh Bush. For me, always the optimist; a Bush victory seemed inevitable. In fact, I put my predictions on paper and pinned them to my office bulletin board on November 4. This is the way this seer and revelator saw the outcome: George Dubyuh...49% 320 electoral votes Big Al...44% 218 electoral votes Earnest Ralph...6% 0 electoral votes - Certainly my confidence in a Bush Sweep depressed me almost to tears, but then some people think I thrive on being miserable and gloomy. So how could | let them down? One of my goals in this weird thing we call Life has been to live up to the expectations of the vast global Zephyr Readership, and so I’ve been wearing a lot of black lately and have even chain-smoked a cigar or too ("So what if these damn fire sticks kill me? What value does Life have in a Bush ~ Presidency?"). The only advantage I could personally derive from Dubyuh’s victory was the comfort that I could zip off a few politically-oriented cartoon ads for the December/January issue that reflected the Bush Landslide—and I had some great ones too. Real side-splitting, laugh-aminute humor...political satire at its best. This time of year, as winter sets in and I want to get the hell out of here, the old creative juices start to flow about as freely as 20W50 Castrol on a cold winter morning--thick, black sludge. So the presumptive election results gave me some easy cheap shots that required little if any imagination. On Monday, November 6, I was busy cranking out cartoons and looking forward to having the ads finished by mid-week, when I got a phone call from my good friend John Hartley. John is a former Grand County Councilman, with a long work history in municipal government, so one might argue that he has a background in politics and that his election prognostications should be given serious merit. But when he told me that he was calling the election for Gore in what John predicted would be the tightest race in the history of modern American politics, I chuckled and shook my head. That morning the CNN tracking poll still showed Bush with a 5% lead and almost all of the other polls gave at least a slight advantage to The Shrub. Besides, all week, I had tuned in my radio to the Rush Limbaugh Show and the former "Big Fat Idiot” assured his listening audience that Tuesday would be “an early night” for the Republicans. "John," I said incredulously, "You have got to be kidding. I wish you were right, but it looks more like 1980 to me.” On the eve of the 1980 election, the race between Jimmie Carter and Ronald Reagan had also been "too close to call," but by 8 PM on Election Night, it became clear that a Reagan landslide was in the making. Now, twenty years later, I knew that history was about to repeat itself. "Nope," said John, "I think it’s going to be unbelievably close, with Gore winning the electoral vote by an extremely narrow margin, but with Bush winning the popular vote by a fraction of a point...a couple But I don't know nothin’ of what life's about... Just as long as you re livin, youIl never find out. Don McLean of hundred thousand votes, tops.” Well, I thought that was pretty funny. Poor John, I pondered; he’s been licked in the face one too many times by that goofy new dog of his. Here was irrefutable proof that puppy slobber from a dog that constantly licks itself can adversely affect human brain cells. Nevertheless, Hartley put his prediction in writing: Bush...49% 263 electoral votes Gore...48.5% 275 electoral votes Nader...2% 0 electoral votes We didn’t put any money on it—I didn’t want to be cruel, but I could not help but feel a tad smug, even if I hoped he was right. One of my specialties is "grim satisfaction," and | expected to be full of it in the next 24 hours. And as Election Night dragged on, I proved to at least Le right on one count...I was full of it. So here I sit at my computer on the Sunday afternoon following the election, bathed in a halo of indescribable humility that almost borders on humiliation. My best guess was about 5 million votes off target, while Hartley has come within a couple hundred thousand votes of nailing this electoral nightmare on the nose. In fact, whether Bush takes Florida or not, John’s prediction was j correct—it should be obvious to anyone now that Gore won the most votes in the Sunshine State and that he should be the next President of the United States. How Bush can go to court to block a hand count of the votes in Palm Beach County is incredible and, should he prevail and win the presidency by technicality, he will take office with a shadow cast over him that’s about as black as one of my moods. Dubyuh’s only hope is the attention span of the American People, which has recently proved to remarkably short. As for Hartley, I’m not making another Life move, major or minor, without consulting him first, and I intend to let his dog lick my face as often as she wants to. CLOUDROCK: The Drama Continues... It is indeed a rare occasion when | ever wish this publication could go back to its old monthly format, but last month, when a copy of Cloudrock’s confidential proposal to the Utah State Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) fell into my hands, I could scarcely contain myself. Press day was still a month off and it was information that needed to reach the people of Moab and Grand County. So, as many of you locals know, I took out a one page ad in the Advertiser—a "one page special edition of The Zephyr'~and ran large excerpts from the Plan. Finally, Cloudrock’s pitch to SITLA sees the light of day in The Zephyr. The laughs begin on page 16. Clearly, Cloudrock is not for very many of us; in fact, | doubt if most potential Cloudrock owners would want to live here if they had to have us as neighbors. And vice versa. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, "I wouldn’t live in an exclusive, ultra-elitist development that would have me as a resident.” But like it or not, if Cloudrock comes to Moab, those people on the top of the hill will be our neighbors, no matter how badly they try to hide from us. One of the aspects of the Cleudrock Plan that cracks me up is the solemn pledge from its PR man, Michael Liss, that Moab residents will not be able to see the homes or the condos or the lodges from the Moab Valley. They intend to create a viewshed zone, which moves all the construction away from the edge of Johnson’s Up-on-Top. : - Honestly, who’s doing who a favor here? If you take a good look at the cover of this issue, or the photographs on page 17, is it any wonder they want to fall back from the rim? My guess is, the proud owners of $5,000,000 homes on $600,000 lots do not want to aim their 20 x 30 foot plate glass windows at Tom Tom’s VW junk car lot. And why? Because these people have no taste for "real beauty.” | The beauty of our junk, whether many of us have stopped to think about it or not, has been a determining factor in Moab’s slo evolution as a Telluride Wannabe. I mentioned the visionary talents of John Hartley in the first segment; now let me toss out the name of another prophet. Almost ten years ago, Moab native Carl Rappe, one-time owner of the now vanished Main Street Broiler (the Vortex of Moab), proclaimed that only our junk could save Real Moab from absolute extinction. He proposed that, to hold the line against out-of-town investors and mostly vacant condo developments, the governing bodies of our community needed to take immediate and drastic action. Specifically, Carl wanted the enactment of a city and county ordinance that required the presence of junk in every Grand County resident’s yard. | cannot recall the exact details, but I believe his proposal called for at least one inoperative vehicle on cinder blocks, three door-less refrigerators, and 500 square feet (minimum) of waist deep weeds, preferably noxious, per yard. And it seems to me he mentioned smelly farm animals in small pens as a very seriously encouraged option. Maintaining pigs guaranteed a major property tax break. Rappe was convinced, and his logic is still sound, that no moneythirsty developer would risk the investment in real estate, if he saw his newly acquired property surrounded by rusty ’63 GMC pickups and the scent of hogs. Remember one of the key points in Cloudrock’s proposal to SITLA: "The potential of less sensitively conceived or lower-priced projects on the mesa would greatly diminish the overall value of the lodges and homesites.” What could be clearer than that? I know I'm being a bit flippant here and | doubt if junk alone will deter the Cloudrock people. But the point is, Moab’s way of life, weird and ugly and unstructured as it may be, will be altered forever, in ways most of us cannot begin to imagine, if Cloudrock comes to Southeast Utah. And it is an issue that should and could unite the various factions of a community that often seems polarized and divided. Cowboys and bikers, environmentalists and miners, Mormons and Heathens—you all have a common interest here. And so much to lose.