Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 11, 2019
Voters can create real change at the ballot box

I’ve been following the state’s proposed Inland Port on Salt Lake City’s west side since its inception. As we reported a year ago, its proximity to Tooele County will most likely have an impact on the county and its residents.

The Inland Port, depending on how it finally takes shape, could mean job opportunities for local residents, more rooftops for the county as port-related employees decide to commute from here, and a possible increase in Interstate 80 traffic.

Those changes could be good or bad, depending on how you feel about more rooftops bringing more national chain food and shopping opportunities to our community, or more rooftops adding more congestion to your commute.

There also will be increased challenges to Tooele County’s rural feel along with the possible overtaxing of a finite water aquifer in Tooele Valley.

Protests over the Inland Port took an ugly turn on Tuesday, when protesters and police clashed at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce Building.

Salt Lake media reports that eight people were arrested with charges being investigated, including possibly assault against a police officer, trespassing, riot and resisting arrest.

Gov. Gary Herbert reportedly referred to the protest as “borderline terrorism.”

Reporters covering the protest got caught in the conflict between police and protesters. The reporters were shoved around and one was reported to have been pushed to the ground, trampled and injured, according to Salt Lake media accounts of the protest.

If this protest had happened in Tooele County, our writers and photographers, would have been among those reporters.

Fortunately, I have never been caught in the middle of a violent protest, but I came close once.

I went to Rep. Chris Stewart’s March 31, 2017, town hall meeting at West High School in Salt Lake City. I arrived 30 minutes early and stood in line to wait for the doors to open to get a seat in the auditorium.

The town hall meeting turned into a clash of words between Republican Stewart and his Democratic constituents.

There was no violence, but I was the only one that remained seated while people all around me stood up as they booed, shouted, and waved signs showing their disagreement with Stewart over his positions on health care, turning over public lands to states, the Bear Ears National Monument, increased border security, and Stewart’s vote to gut the Congressional Office of Ethics.

Some of them looked down on me as they stood up, and I had visions of being ripped from my seat by an angry mob.

I quickly explained to the people on my right and left that I was a reporter and could not take part in their protest. They politely accepted my explanation.

Even when they weren’t speaking, you could feel their anger and frustration.

Right or wrong, this level of emotion is what happens when people in a democratic constitutional republic believe they have been disenfranchised and left with no voice.

The iconic Boston Tea Party in 1773 is the often cited example of a civil protest. American colonists refused to pay the British tax on tea, claiming they weren’t subject to Britsh taxes approved by parliament because they had no representation in parliament.

Ships laden with tea arrived in Boston Harbor. According to British law, the ships had to unload and pay the duties within 20 days or customs officials could confiscate the cargo. Colonists prevented the ships from being unloaded.

Eventually, some men boarded the ships and dumped the chests of tea into the water.

We just celebrated our country’s Independence Day, the day the representatives of the 13 colonies declared their independence from and equal station to the British government.

The dissolving of the political bands that connected the colonies with the Britich government was not done for “light and transient causes.”  

The Declaration of Independence contained a detailed outline of grievances and attempts at redress.

Ultimately, when our founding fathers wrote the Constitution of the United States, they drew upon the philosophy of the declaration that stated “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the government.”

Without taking up arms, or resorting to violence or force, voters today can pull off a totally legal coup and change leadership and direction of government at the ballot box.

Further, the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, is guaranteed by the first amendment.

There’s an election coming up and it starts sooner than you may think. Primary ballots for Tooele City and Stansbury Park elections will be mailed out before the end of this month.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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