A link to this website got out, so now I have to think about either putting it behind a password wall or otherwise obfuscating it. Sigh.

It was going to happen eventually. I suppose there is no time like the present to think seriously about how to protect it — or whether I even need to. I have some fun ideas for using Cloudflare Workers to do that. But then I also have to make the GitHub repository private…


Dems keep Walker, Marienfeld

At its virtual party convention on May 3, the Grand County Democratic Party re-elected Kevin Walker as its chair and Kya Marienfeld as its vice chair.

Walker won his campaign last year for an at-large seat on the Grand County Commission. He is also now beginning his third two-year term as chair of the local Democratic Party.

Marienfeld is a Wildlands Attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. She is also the chair of the Moab City Planning Commission. She has served on the commission since 2018 years.

During the convention, party officers and the former head of the local party, Bob Greenberg, answered questions about its strategy moving going into the Moab City Council and mayoral races this year, along with questions about the larger partisan picture in Moab.

Walker responded to a question about the Grand County Commission and Moab City Council currently being dominated by Democrats — or liberals, at least, since the two are nonpartisan for the time being.

He said there is a diversity of opinion within the party and on the elected boards, even though they are dominated by Democratically backed officials.

I don’t think any of the candidates that we have backed — they’re not rooted ideologues who all think the same. I think sort of the opposite of true; it is quite a big diversity of opinion, much to my chagrin in recent weeks because I think there have been some recent choices on the county commission that should have gone the other way.

Grand County Democratic Party Chair Kevin Walker; May 3, 2021

Walker later said some locals hold opinions that are not represented on the elected boards, so, he said, “I think we need to try extra hard to listen to those voices. Even if we don’t agree, we want to understand where those people are coming from.”

Bob Greenberg, former longtime chair of the local party and a former county commissioner, chimed in as well.

Utah Democrats are pretty darn conservative, particularly around issues in the county, and those are fiscal issues and land use issues — zoning.

Bob Greenberg; May 3, 2021

He added that the Grand County Democratic Party’s bylaws allow it to formally back candidates who are registered independents — a prerogative he said the Grand County Republican Party “does not enjoy.” He likened the Democratic party to an “open tent” while, he said, the Republican party is more like a “closed room.”

Of the party’s success in the 2020 elections, Greenberg said that the difference was listening to voters.

Our bylaws allow us to support and endorse people who are not registered Democrats, and in fact, the majority of candidates who we have supported and who have been elected have been registered as independents.

Greenberg; May 3, 2021

GOP elects Green, Walston

At its party convention on April 14 at Canyonlands by Night and Day, the Grand County Republican Party elected Cricket Green as its chair and Bryon Walston as its vice chair.

Green most recently sat on the Grand County Form of Government Study Committee, whose proposal voters rejected in 2021 in favor of a more status quo form. Prior to that, she served on the Grand County Planning Commission. She ran for a seat on the Moab City Council in 2015 and lost.

Walston owns an H&R Block franchise in Moab and Moab Premier Properties, a local real estate brokerage and management company. After a failed bid for city council in 2019, he also served on the Grand County Planning Commission until this year.

In 2021, no Republican-registered candidates ran for county commission. Green said in an interview that the party’s poor showing had to do with COVID-19 — that the start of the pandemic coincided with the period during which candidates had to gather signatures to be eligible to run.

“I think that COVID just made everything lopsided,” she said.

Of the upcoming 2021 Moab City elections, Green said that there was “no rush right now” to find candidates because the registration deadline is in August. However, she said that the party is on the lookout for “center-of-the-line candidates” to balance out the Democratic-backed council.

“Most of Moab’s population is diverse, and I want to have that reflected on the city council and county commission,” Green said. “It’s completely left-leaning on both sides; there’s no middle of the road.”

When asked about the kind of candidate she would back, Green said she was “open to whoever wants to talk to me” and that she wants to “try to bring government back to the middle.”

But, she added, the existing officials elected to office also have a responsibility to represent all people of Grand County.

“They are elected, and they won, but they are still representing the community as a whole,” Green said.

She provided her email for publication to allow residents to contact her about local elections and politics: [email protected].

Inscribed rock at Big Bend vandalized

four human figures drawn apparently in chalk next to an inscription at the Big Bend bouldering area off of Highway 128, next to the Colorado River, near Moab, Utah

This photo of four figures drawn apparently in chalk, next to an inscription dated 1894, was taken near the Big Bend bouldering area off Highway 128. The graffiti was reported on Monday, May 11. Photo by Sena Hauer, licensed for exclusive use

Following high-profile defacements of Native American rock imagery around Moab in recent weeks, a likely non-Native inscription near the Big Bend bouldering area off Highway 128 was also recently vandalized.

The earliest known report of the rock’s defacement is from Monday morning, May 10. Four human figures were drawn onto the rock, next to the inscription that reads “Big.Bend. Placer. 1894”.

Utah Public Archaeologist Elizabeth Hora said that the state has a record of the etching in its database, but information on it is sparse. She said it is possibly associated with nearby inscriptions in Green River made by Harry Howland and Arthur Wheeler, though she was unsure.

“There is more archaeology out here than archaeologists could hope to record,” Hora said.

Lisa Wilkolak, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management’s Moab Field Office, said that the bureau didn’t have much more information to offer in the way of history of the etching.

Wilkolak said Tuesday that a member of the public had already removed what was apparently chalk. The Bureau advises against members of the public removing graffiti from rocks, as it can damage the original works and interfere with investigations.

Wilkolak said a law enforcement investigation into the graffiti and a separate investigation into the history of the inscription were ongoing.

another angle of the graffiti

Photo by Sena Hauer, licensed for exclusive use