Paul Rolly: Eastern Utah county tells federal cops: We call the shots

By PAUL ROLLY

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: June 18, 2014 07:23AM
Updated: June 18, 2014 09:31AM
image
Paul Rolly

In the spirit of Cliven Bundy, the Carbon County Commission has passed a resolution declaring itself the sovereign authority within the eastern Utah county and that any attempt at law enforcement by a federal agent would be viewed as a “threat to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Carbon County.”

Some fear that language could be viewed as a justification for violence against Bureau of Land Management authorities or other federal agents who try to enforce laws on federal lands within the county.

The resolution says that federal officials who intend to exercise law enforcement powers shall first declare to the county sheriff their intent to enter Carbon County and then get permission to do so.

Carbon County now joins LaVerkin in the tinfoil hat world. LaVerkin, you might recall, once passed a resolution banning the U.N. from the southern Utah city.

Carbon County’s resolution, which passed the commission unanimously, was spearheaded by the county’s public lands director, Rex Sacco, who publicly opposed an attempt to put Nine Mile Canyon on the National Register of Historic Places, warning in a letter that it would be a precursor to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an eventual U.N. takeover of Carbon County.

Those black helicopters are everywhere.

Enemy territory? • The day after the Carbon County Commission’s vote, members of Congressman Rob Bishop’s staff participated in a tour, led by county officials, of the Tavaputs Plateau, in support of the Utah Republican’s land-use bill process.

About 30 people tagged along, including landowners, mineral-rights holders, off-road enthusiasts and environmentalists.

One guest, a retired BLM official, wrote to a Bishop staffer after the tour and alerted him to the county’s new supreme-power status.

The letter noted that county officials didn’t mention to the congressional staffers that less than 12 hours before the tour, the county had declared itself “Master of its Universe.”

“Is there any point in pursuing land-use legislation if the county does not recognize congressional authority,” he wrote. “I worked in recreation on BLM lands for many years. Little did I know that if I found a person pinned under a burning ATV, I was to stand down and request county permission to intervene.”

Unhappy in Happy Valley • While several GOP activists, including some elected officials, prepare a write-in campaign against the Republican nominee for a Utah County Commission seat, some members of the party’s executive committee want to ban anyone involved in that effort from running for re-election.

The nominee is Greg Graves, who ousted incumbent Commissioner Gary Anderson at the county convention in April.

Graves presumably is the next commissioner because no Democrat filed. But after he snagged the nomination, it became known that he has filed for several bankruptcies and had a theft conviction on his record.

A political-action committee has emerged to raise money for a write-in campaign for Anderson to challenge Graves.

At the latest executive committee meeting, several members pushed for a resolution that anyone working against the GOP nominee — and that would include longtime Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo — would be banned from running as a Republican in any subsequent election.

In other words, they would be excommunicated.

Missing guns in Corrections • An audit conducted last fall found that numerous firearms belonging to the Utah Department of Corrections are not accounted for.

New Corrections boss Rollin Cook subsequently took action to improve oversight of guns, said Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Adams. Cook re-established the position of firearms manager, bought new software and set up a gun database.

Cook also asked the Unified Police Department to conduct an independent review of Corrections’ firearms inventory and procedures. In March, that review discovered 47 unaccounted-for weapons.

Both audits concluded there is nothing to indicate the firearms were taken or stolen. The problems, Adams said, boil down to improper documentation and missing records.

prolly@sltrib.com