Tom Clyde: Was the referendum rigged?
By a better than two-to-one margin, the voters of Hideout voted in favor of the controversial annexation of land in Summit County. Or did they? Already, there are rumors that the election was rigged. First off, calling that wasteland with a commanding view of the old tailings pond “Silver Meadow” is prima facia evidence that something isn’t on the up and up. If that’s a meadow, there’s some oceanfront property in Duchesne you should be looking at.
But experts are on the case. The Cyber Ninjas, who are wrapping up their contamination of the ballots and voting machines in Arizona, are available. There is compelling evidence that lasers from the Italian military’s satellites were used to change the voting machines to record “against” votes as “for” votes. Especially on the hand counted ballots. The Chinese government, anxious to take advantage of the new market created by the proposed strip mall, was able to sneak fraudulent ballots into the process.
The Cyber Ninjas will be using the same scientific techniques used in Arizona to detect the fraud. The Chinese ballots will have traces of bamboo in the paper because, you know, everything from China has traces of bamboo in it. Just look at your iPhone. That will prove that the Chinese were crafty enough to get the fraudulent ballots into the official count, while at the same time, not smart enough to call Dunder-Mifflin to order the same paper stock that the real ballots were printed on. I mean how can you run a mail-in election in Wasatch County when the ballots were delivered from the Kamas Post Office? I’m sure that’s how it all went down.
Or, I suppose it’s possible that two-thirds of Hideout residents thought it would be good if there were a grocery store in the area so they could buy a quart of milk in under an hour. That seems unlikely, but I guess anything’s possible.
So you would think that is the end of it, and that Silver Meadows, that patch of marginal potgut habitat, is now safely under the welcoming jurisdiction of the Town of Hideout, where apparently anything and everything will be approved. Will the anchor tenant be Target or Trader Joe’s? Which of the fast food chains will have signs lighting up the night sky, luring traffic off Highway 40 for a snack after a day on the lake? Will we be able to see any of it for the dust blowing off the old tailings pond? It’s all over but figuring out where to put the first roundabout.
Except that it isn’t over. Summit County had sued Hideout, claiming that the annexation, which took place under a special favor from the legislature, was not completed before the clock ran out, and the loophole was closed. There were i’s to cross and t’s to dot and things needed to happen within some strict time lines. Summit County said they didn’t get it all done. The critical failure seems to be the requirement that a newly adopted ordinance is posted in a public place. There are no public places in Hideout, which is kind of the crux of the whole mess. Hideout said, “Neener, neener,” and claimed they did it right. A judge ruled on Tuesday that they didn’t. Under the judge’s ruling, the annexation was never completed. So, no matter what the referendum results really were, Donald Trump is still not the mayor of Hideout.
That’s one of several lawsuits pending, and the ruling from the District Court will surely be appealed. Stay tuned, there is more to come. And more after that. So if you are hungry for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, you’ll have to do what everybody in Hideout does, and drive somewhere else to get it.
There is nothing scenic, sensitive, or even useful on the land now. The annexation proposal leaves the City’s useless parking lot and the old tailings pond out of the picture, except that those will be the view from any houses built there. The rest of it is barren sagebrush littered with generations of bullet-riddled household appliances. The arguments about leaving the entry corridor undeveloped are long gone with the huge buildings on both sides of UT248 and Park City Heights (a name as suspect as “Silver Meadow”). It’s not the kind of open space the County should be buying. It may be years, but something will get built there.
It really boils down to the failure of S.R. 248 and the Quinn’s interchange to deal with the existing traffic level. Adding a big commercial center and a pile of freeway-view apartments will only make it worse. The people who live in Hideout work in Park City and/or Salt Lake and all use Quinn’s in one direction or another. It’s terrible now, so let’s build more of it.
It will be in the courts for a couple of years, preserving the essential potgut habitat/appliance shooting range for now. That’s no way to plan anything, but it seems to be all we’ve got.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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