Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today's Tribune editorial criticizes firing of state archaeologists

"Valuing History" is the headline on a Tribune house editorial today. The paper's editorial board comes out swinging against the state's "vindictive" action on behalf of development-loving politicos and private business interests. It's a worthwhile argument to be made, but does anyone believe it will get those jobs back? Didn't think so.
The positions of state archaeologist Kevin Jones and assistants Derinna Kopp and Ronald Rood were eliminated, not only to save money, but to settle scores. The three had become an annoyance to some of the powerful people in the Legislature, governor’s office and the Utah Transit Authority, and they had opposed powerful real estate developers.

It seems they became targets after they fought a proposed site of a new FrontRunner station in Draper when it was discovered also to be the location of an ancient American Indian village. It was a major archaeological find, the earliest known example of corn cultivation in the Great Basin. The three pushed to get the station relocated, raising the ire of Terry Diehl, who was a member of the UTA Board of Trustees and, at the same time, an owner of a real estate company that wanted to locate transit-related developments at the original site.

Powerful people tend to be vindictive. Now this trio of knowledgeable scientists is off the state payroll, and the state is the poorer for it.

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