Stewart’s Town Hall erupts in challenge from angry residents

U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart addresses constituents at St. George Town Hall meeting, Dixie High School, St. George, Utah, Aug. 28, 2013 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Hundreds of local citizens gathered at Dixie High School in St. George, Wednesday evening for a town hall meeting with Rep. Chris Stewart, a meeting that proved boisterous and engaged the mayor in public address as well.

One of several meetings the congressman is holding across the district this month, addressing health care, defense, the environment, immigration and the debt ceiling in an open forum, the hottest issue raised at the St. George Town Hall came from a vocal group of  residents tackling the issue of a rehab facility being allowed in their neighborhood.

Stewart represents Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, is chairman of the subcommittee on the environment, and is a New York Times best-selling and national award-winning author, world record-setting Air Force pilot, and the former owner and CEO of a small business.

Local Issue

A crowd of Bloomington residents showed up at the town hall meeting determined to voice their concerns over the pending establishment of a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility proposed to be established in their neighborhood. The residents are concerned the facility will lower property values and increase crime in their neighborhood.

Taking advantage of the question and answer format of the town hall meeting, residents raised their questions to the congressman.

But because it was a local issue involving zoning, Stewart said there wasn’t much he could do to help them.

Members of the audience began shouting for St. George Mayor Dan McArthur to stand up and address the crowd. McArthur then briefly took the microphone and said by way of explanation to the crowd that, while he agreed with their concerns, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects the establishment of these sorts of facilities, and that the city could be sued if they take measures to block zoning permits and business licenses for the proposed facility. The mayor’s comments did not sit well with some of the audience members who began to call one another out by name for a heated debate.

Stewart was asked his opinion of the residential treatment center and he said he wouldn’t want such a facility in his neighborhood, but it is a local issue between the city and the state.

(report continues below)

 

Videocast by Michael Flynn, St. George News

The sequester

President Obama and both parties in Congress have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion through a combination of spending cuts and increased tax rates; however, Stewart said that both have failed to come to agreement regarding where certain budget cuts should come from. Due to that, the sequester took effect March 2013.

“We’re not even close,” Stewart said about the U.S. debt ceiling and a compromise in response to a question a crowd member posed regarding the deficit.  Stewart also expressed displeasure with the sequester, which makes harmful and automatic budget cuts to such things as after-school programs for children, eliminates meals for sick and homebound seniors, and eliminates jobs for teachers and first responders.

Health care

The conservative budget regarding health care protects and preserves Social Security and Medicare, Stewart said, and said  “Obamacare is the worst legislation written in the history of the universe.”

Great applause erupted as Stewart continued to call for passing a resolution that de-funds Obamacare, sympathizing with the small business owner who cannot provide health care for employees.

Defense

Regarding the issues in Egypt, Syria and other parts of the Middle East that a military man questioned the congressman about, Stewart said the world is begging for American leadership.

“We are the last best hope of man,” Stewart said, quoting Lincoln.

Environment

Responding to the debate regarding global climate change and the industries affected by the new regulations stamped onto transportation, Stewart said the Environmental Protection Agency has been arrogant with proposed regulations, regulations, he said, which are impossible for western states to comply with.

Immigration

Stewart opposes comprehensive legislation on immigration, he said, but it is a complex issue in which he said he does not see a solution for outside of creating a path to citizenship. This was not a popular stance with the crowd who showed audible disapproval.

Stewart opposes giving $20 billion to border security because, he said, 40 percent of illegal immigrants didn’t cross the border illegally, but overstayed their visas.

“I don’t think we’re going to round up 11 million people and deport them,” Stewart said. “We don’t want to create a security administration to stop people and go into businesses and our homes and deport.” 

Impeachment

Responding to a question from the crowd regarding impeachment of President Obama, which drew applause, Stewart said it has never seriously been considered by the Senate or Congress.

Obama has pushed the boundaries of the Constitution, Stewart said, but impeachment is not a healthy option between Republicans and Democrats to remedy disagreement. But, “we should find ways to oppose him in any way that we can,” Stewart said.

“Wow, I’m so glad I’m not the Mayor,” Stewart said of the local heated debate which continued into the hallways after the meeting, before Stewart wrapped for the evening.

 

St. George News Reporter Michael Flynn contributed to the portion of this report pertaining to the Bloomington residents concerns.

Related Posts

 

Email: sisaacson@stgnews.com

Twitter: @sarahisaacson1

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

chris-stewart
U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart addresses constituents at St. George Town Hall meeting, Dixie High School, St. George, Utah, Aug. 28, 2013 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News

 

 

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20 Comments

  • It Figures August 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    The spoiled, snotty, want to be rich jerks in Bloomington don’t even have enough common sense to know where to take their sniveling and whining on a local problem. Or I should say non-problem. I’m sure these are the same folks who sniveled about WalMart coming in there.

  • that guy August 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I find it hard to sympathize with the people of Bloomigton when they conduct themselves in this manner. Let’s also boil thing down to a simple truth: at the end of the day this is about property values and how they may be affected.

  • Craig August 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Bunch of whiners with a NIMBY attitude.

  • Patches O’Houlihan August 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    In response to the video, Mayor McArthur could have given two different answers. He could have said that he would like to explore the issue further and dodge the question, or he could have told the audience what he knows about the subject. Mayor McArthur has spent many hours working with a legal team to come up with a solution to this treatment center.
    .

    I think this is a good example of how Mayor McArthur and Jon Pike are different. They have both been to the same meetings about this center, but one (Jon Pike) gives the answer that is clearly a dodge, and Mayor McArthur explains it directly regardless of the political heat it might produce.
    .
    Even though I like Jon Pike, more and more I feel like he just tells me what I want to hear.
    .
    On a side note, I don’t like Jon Pike speaking for Mayor McArthur during a campaign. Also, why did the video cut away as Jon was explaining his answer?

    • Simone August 30, 2013 at 4:16 am

      Did you hear what he said? He didn’t “explain it directly” he just blamed the federal government. Also please don’t refer to him as “Mayor” because he is clearly unworthy of the title. My reason is that he allowed his employees to abuse defenseless animals at the shelter then claimed that he knew nothing about it even though all the evidence says otherwise. He is nothing but a crook and a scoundrel. I can’t believe that this guy was mayor for 20 years. I can’t believe the citizens of St. George were stupid enough to continue to subject themselves to him. I just can’t believe it.

  • Pamala Englert August 30, 2013 at 1:04 am

    I too much prefer the direct answer provided by Mayor McArthur, and agree that Jon Pike in most cases, especially during this election cycle, clearly “dodges” direct and honest answers, saying what he feels constituents want to hear, rather than what they need to hear – as in the truth.
    .
    While I understand the concerns of Bloomington residents, I also feel as many are not all being honest with themselves and perhaps even judgmental in nature. I know several Bloomington families who have loved ones who struggle with issues of drug and alcohol dependency, yet they keep it silent. At the same time, they even join in angry dissension. To me, and I feel confident in saying this, that is being nothing less than hypocritical. I am sure many Bloomington residents truly feel as their voices need to be heard, and they deserve to be heard, but it is a fact that there are some things that cannot always be changed at the local level.
    .
    Though I myself have never drank alcohol or taken drugs of any kind, I do not turn my back on those who have fallen and are genuinely in need of rehabilitation services, or just a person to help them stand again. I can hardly imagine how such strong dissention and judgment must make them feel. I can hardly count the number of times I have heard people refer to them as “those people,” as if they are not even humans; as if they are people undeserving of another to reach out a hand to lift them, pray for them and genuinely hope for their recovery.
    .
    That being said, I do not at all imply that citizens do not need to be more involved in government at the local level. There truly is a great deal of change necessary in our local government; however, I worry greatly for our community if that change would include the election of Jon Pike to the office of Mayor. I say nothing here that I would not say directly to Jon Pike, much of which has already been said directly to him. When something feels wrong, we as citizens, must work together to demand accountability. We must make our leaders take responsibility for the jobs they are elected to do. We can only do that by working together, through teamwork. None of us need to be on the same team in order to effectively work together toward resolution of any problem. That team needs to include a combination of residents, businesses, community leaders and politicians who will properly listen to views and genuinely seek solutions, not just tell us what we want to hear.
    .
    What I see happening is many people in our community believing they are thinking independently, when in reality, they are being emotionally targeted by self-serving political candidates, and others who have much less than honorable intentions and motives. Those motives remain hidden from us when we do not allow ourselves to think beyond our emotions. Anger accomplishes nothing. We as a community are more divided than I have ever witnessed since moving here six years ago. I do not agree with those who claim it’s for the fact that transparency in local government is finally occurring in our community. That “transparency” is a myth created by those who are currently attempting to, and even successfully in many cases manipulating our emotions. Those very people, if elected, would make our local government even less transparent.
    .
    There is no difference between this issue and the issue of the animal shelter. Jon Pike and at least one city council candidate clearly are using emotionally charged issues as self-serving campaign platforms, rather than initiating a platform based upon something grass-roots, important to our whole community – that is fairly and intelligently presented.
    .
    The fact that they are using these issues in self-serving ways is nothing less than emotional branding in a political campaign. The local media is clearly participating in the same charge to manipulate our emotions. Highly charged emotional issues equals more engagement on their social media and other pages. If you pay attention for the past several months, you will notice that “engagement” has been mostly vicious in nature. Since when is it acceptable to any of us that people can be so cruel to others, literally calling each other names? It is not what I came to love about this community; not why I continue to live in this community; not why I ever called this my “home.” I continue to live here in hopes that people will open their eyes, minds and especially hearts…that they will think independently and view what is real, not just perceived or manufactured by the media and political candidates who do not truly have our best interests at heart.
    .
    I believe Michael Flynn’s style of writing may be closer to true journalism; however, I also feel as he is “stirring pots” which should not be stirred at a time when we as citizens need to make good choices about how we respond at the polls. I also believe he and others in the media are clearly catering to what is best for the very candidates they themselves support and in some cases allow their friendships and other connections to “cloud” their judgment. To do so negates the very principles of responsible journalism – truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability.
    .
    I urge everybody to look back, researching the most vitally important issues within our community over the past year. We have yet to see the truth reported about what truly happened, and continues to happen, relative to what should be the greatest concern and issue for all of us – the issue of public safety. In fact, I can prove that the media, both The Spectrum and The St. George News, intentionally ignored facts and evidence that was provided directly to them – facts and evidence we all should want to know and understand – facts and evidence that is – not just disappointing, but shocking.
    .
    The truth about Jon Pike’s involvement in an issue which resulted in many lost jobs, financial and emotional harm for many lifelong residents, their families, our community and more, needs to be told and considered. If you seek it out, I promise you will find it. The truth about why Senator Steve Urquhart “needs” Jon Pike to be Mayor of St. George can be found if you will only search for it. The truth about how Steve Urquhart is Jon Pike’s largest campaign contributor, but contributes in ways intended to deceive you, can be found, if you will only pay attention and seek it out.
    .
    I have tried many times to share truth in this community and still will for as long as I am able. The very same city council candidate who once wrote to me, prior to Jon Pike’s announcement of his Mayoral candidacy, that they were in strong disagreement with and even disgusted by Jon Pike’s actions, and would not stand up for what they believed in, “in case Jon would choose to run for Mayor,” is also deceiving us for self-serving reasons. The same person indicated directly to me that “they would require Jon’s support to accomplish their own political ambitions.” I am sickened by those words and anybody who would not be, does not truly understand the qualities necessary for true leadership. Those qualities to me would never include a self-serving reason to not stand up for what any person believes is truth and the “right” thing.
    .
    I will respond to anybody who asks a question without verbally assaulting me. I refuse to engage with any person who is rude, unkind or vicious toward me or others. I’ve been called names here before and will say again that I have little respect for people who would participate in cruel behaviors, while comfortably cloaked in anonymity behind the safety of their computer monitors. Please know this. For every person who would choose to behave in that manner, there are many more who will read my words and at least ponder what is logical, perhaps seeking truth on their own. Mostly I hope those same people will not allow themselves to be emotionally manipulated and will begin asking the questions of our candidates and media sources, that need to be asked.

    I repeat again beneath this article, words I shared relative to the animal shelter issue: While I am an animal lover and firm believer in the quote: “To inflict cruelties on defenseless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilized society – reverence for life. ~Jon Evans, I also am realistic and logical enough to research when something does not “feel” right.

    And on this issue, I feel the same. There is a great deal which does not “feel” right, so once again I will rely upon my own ability to think independently and not allow my emotions to guide me to answers I require – answers that we should all require.
    .

    • My Evil Twin August 30, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Excellent thoughts put forth in your response here, Pamala. My only question is, have you really never used drugs? Even prescribed ones? Ever? Other than that claim, which I find incredibly hard to believe, the rest of your response is very thought provoking.
      This community is ripe for the plucking, as far as folks going with their emotions, rather than their brains. After all, it has been drummed into them since childhood that they “obey” all “teachings.” Unfortunately, that leads to a loss of ability to think for themselves.
      Politicians are inherently self serving. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be politicians. It goes with the territory. However, this animal shelter situation, just like Dixie Ambulance, was so obviously a set up, by Pike and his supporters.
      I’m not saying the animal shelter didn’t need changes. Obviously it did. But the timing on it is so obvious that anyone who does not see it, has to be blind.

      • Pamala Englert August 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        I stand corrected and sincerely apologize. I have in fact used prescription drugs; however, only that have been prescribed for me. My statement was not intended to be misleading at all, for I intended to reference illegal and illicit drugs.
        .
        Though it may seem as idealistic thinking to some, my opinion is, that no matter our religion or what is “taught” to us by anybody, we still must never choose to “blindly” follow the words and teachings of others. It does not mean we must be suspicious in nature or view things cynically – only to trust our instincts and think logically. It’s a hard lesson to learn for some, and I admit, was for me, but perhaps the most valuable lesson any of us may ever learn. Likewise, critical and independent thinking skills are perhaps the best things we could ever teach our children and teenagers.
        .
        It becomes more difficult to believe there are honest, well-intentioned politicians; however, I am still a person who believes they exist. It is our responsibility to avoid the trappings of “groupthink.” It has become quite common in, not just our community, but others as well, that someone proposes an idea or thought process, especially when it is emotionally-charged, and others blindly follow – whole groups set on pursuing a course of action suggested and even manipulated by one person, (not uncommon to be a self-serving politician).
        .
        Rather than voicing individual dissent, people become accustomed to just go along with what they perceive to be the majority opinion? It is often they seem to fear that their objections might disrupt the harmony of the group or feel as their ideas and input may cause other members to reject them. I do not mean this in a religious or even political party context – just in general. Sometimes, it is a neighborhood, sometimes a political party and sometimes those with a specific mindset based upon what is taught to them in their own religion.
        .
        It doesn’t matter, “groupthink” has become quite commonplace; a very real problem. People become apathetic easily about far too many very important issues which affect us all. It becomes easier for them to believe everything written in any publication, personal blog, opinion piece or even on social media; much easier than doing their own research or using critical thinking skills. It becomes easier for them to agree with the position and ideas of their friends or “cliques,” than it does to form and be outspoken about their own opinions, instincts and feelings.
        .
        What you say about both the animal shelter and the Dixie Ambulance issue is true; however, most people who know otherwise, will not speak openly about what they feel is just not right. And some will still go along with what seems the popular opinion for fear of retribution and/or rejection by their peers. Personally, I would much rather feel good about standing up and speaking out about what I know to be truth – through my own tedious research, than have any number of “friends” who would harshly judge me for doing what I know to be the right thing.
        .
        I agree, the animal shelter needed changes, and it was obvious those changes had already begun to occur after the first media story. What I do not agree with is not just the timing of the publicity surrounding the issue, but also the attempts by various politicians to hide the true source of donations to their campaigns. While I appreciate the efforts of those who seek to protect precious animals, I feel it is irresponsible that they would choose to do so by employing a “lynch-mob” mentality, instigated by the very same politicians and candidates who have already been revealed to have dishonest and self-serving intentions which are not in the best interest of our community. Do people really believe Steve Urquhart and Jon Pike care about them? Can people truly not see the truth about what happened to Dixie Ambulance? Can people truly not sense what is so obvious – that the animal shelter issue was clearly instigated by sources not difficult to identify? Despite not agreeing with every action taken by Mayor McArthur, do people truly believe he, as a person and a lifelong resident, deserved to be publicly crucified by his own community? Can people truly just continue pointing fingers and displaying the least desirable qualities in humans with no regard for what is truly important? How can anybody not understand that what is most important is that things ultimately may only change through teamwork, community cooperation with local government and coordinated efforts?
        .
        Lastly, I cannot help but mention that I am relieved to currently be out of town for an extended period of time. I am truly ashamed of much of what occurs now within the very community I call my “home.” There have been times when I have felt blessed to be surrounded by people who proclaimed to live for helping others…people who swore to me that they were raised to not be judgmental of others, but rather to be accepting, kind, giving and loving.
        .
        There have been times I have been lifted in times of need by some people I would later see viciously assaulting others on online forums, social media, etc., It did not take long to worry then about who could truly be trusted. To me, it will never be truth that any one political party; any one religious affiliation or any one group could represent those virtues which are supposed to be what defines our community. What has happened to St. George? Teamwork; community support; standing together….those are all important concepts which have seemed “missing” for a long time.
        .
        I wouldn’t be honest if I said this does not make me sad and I especially wouldn’t be honest if I said I wasn’t ashamed of the place I finally believed was my “home.”

        • RNewby August 31, 2013 at 11:16 pm

          Pamala, I would like to clarify something about the timing of the shelter accusations. First I should say that I have not donated money or personal time to any candidate. I have voted and placed a single sign in my front yard.
          I have attended the city council meetings, read the “report” and spoken with advocates including one who directly complained to the Police Department on multiple times.
          I read the laws and codes that are applicable to our shelter, read the Shelter Regulations PDF, and the AVMA Euthanasia Guidelines PDF.

          For ten years complaints have been made to the Police Department about the shelter conditions and procedures. For whatever reason nothing was ever done.

          On June 27 of this year a statement asking the public what they would like to see happen in Saint George etc. was posted on a candidates Facebook page. It said nothing about the shelter, it was just a general question to engage the public in discussion.

          On June 28 one woman who runs a local TNR program politely challenged this new candidate to check out the Ivins Shelter and compare that to the Saint George shelter.

          This same challenge and invitation was posted on EVERY candidates page ( new or old) that had a Facebook account .Many of “us” in the community joined in and asked them to please accept the challenge.

          Some took up the challenge and visited without any fanfare or media attention. They showed up without an appointment to see first hand what they were like. I know that Tara Dunn didn’t put the visit off, she visited Saint George’s shelter on July 2rd and the Ivins Shelter on July 3rd (according to her posts on Facebook).

          I do not find anything nefarious or questionable about this at all. The public told a candidate what was important and what they knew to be a broken and antiquated shelter.

          To have someone actually listen after ten years was incredible. Remember the city council had essentially ignored the shelter. The Mayor admitted he had not been there in at least ten years. The city shelter is less than 1 and a 1/2 miles away from council chambers. In fact it is right off that brand new Parkway. Yet it may as well have been out in the desert well beyond the city limits.

          Would you not approach someone “new” if the “old” did not respond or address a situation?

          We do expect that the city officials, elected or hired, to pay attention to the city departments. They should be current on the laws and regulations governing those departments. To have at least a basic knowledge of how it should be run.

          It is really unfortunate that people have used this forum and others to personally attack one another. I have read some outlandish comments that have done nothing more detract from the seriousness of the issues at hand.

          Hopefully we are all intelligent enough to differentiate between the trolls and those who have legitimate concerns and questions.

          • Pamala Englert September 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

            RNewby,

            I truly appreciate your intelligently worded and sincere response. Because I have often been verbally assaulted in this forum for the length of some of my comments, I may not always include enough information, and especially in my hopes that anybody will actually take time to read any portion of what I express. Likewise, I am grateful for your clarification of the fact that you are not involved, beyond your normal citizen responsibility to vote and your right to support a candidate by placing a sign in your yard.
            .
            I too have attended city council meetings, read reports, and have taken other actions which I feel are necessary to understanding the entirety of many important issues, including this one.
            .
            I have no doubt that many people have directly complained to the Police Department and others on many occasions, nor do I doubt that their complaints were conveniently overlooked, ignored or dismissed. I certainly do not approve of this.
            .
            I would like to clarify the chain of responsibility that seems to be misunderstood by many in our community. I attach a copy of our city budget for FY 2014 for anybody’s perusal. On page 17 our city’s organizational chart may be studied. As you and hopefully others will see, our Animal Control Facility is directly overseen by the police department. Our police department is directly overseen by our City Manager. Our City Manager also is paid to directly oversee the Human Resources Department of our city; the very people responsible for policies, procedures, hiring and termination. Please note how it is our Mayor and City Council who directly oversee our City Manager.
            .
            Many have criticized, in very harsh ways I might add, Mayor McArthur – completely ignoring or dismissing the more direct and shared accountability and responsibility of others. Please remember Jon Pike is running for Mayor, his direct opponent being Mayor McArthur. If this issue has been so concerning for “ten years,” which I believe, why hasn’t any current city council member, or more importantly, our City Manager, been more cognizant and reactive to this issue?
            .
            Why isn’t anybody saying right back to Jon Pike directly, that it was his responsibility too, not just be aware, but to have demanded this investigation long before he was running against Mayor McArthur, only bringing the issue to the surface in a publicly critical way, only weeks before a vitally important primary election and upcoming general election?
            .
            Why isn’t anybody concerned that Tara Dunn’s largest campaign contributor is the Park City Group – or doing their homework to learn who is the CEO of that group?
            .
            Why isn’t anybody concerned that Jon Pike and Tara Dunn are working together at a time right before they need to secure your votes for their own self-serving reasons?
            .
            Why isn’t anybody asking Jon Pike why he never visited the shelter before he needed your votes? Why aren’t we concerned that he too is “veiling” the true source of his second largest campaign contributor? (which happens to be Senator Steve Urquhart, disguising himself as ‘Friends of Dixie’) This, because neither he nor Jon Pike can afford to be “connected” after their blatant disregard for our community (their constituents) over their desire to serve their corporate benefactors and paying legal clients (in the case of Steve Urquhart), when the issue of public safety was on the forefront.
            .
            I am grateful the candidates for city council invited public discussion on their Facebook pages. Ask yourselves how many times our current city council, or other current elected and non-elected officials have done that during their entire tenures.
            .
            Still, we should investigate and research further when things as this occur. We are all “ripe” to be emotionally manipulated, and it won’t be the first time a political candidate has done so.
            .
            I know other candidates who visited both shelters as well, yet I also can see clearly that they used the results of their fact-finding missions to initiate change; to encourage problem resolution with logic and well-presented ideas, not stir us into a frenzy and discourage us from evaluating ways to move forward, rather than to think with our emotions, become angry and point fingers. Tara Dunn and Jon Pike could have chosen to do the same, because in reality, “stirred emotions,” and particularly anger – accomplishes nothing forward-moving and truly worthwhile. Anger and finger-pointing divides us as a community. It does not solve problems – it creates new problems.
            .
            I agree, “to have someone actually listen is incredible,” but it is our responsibility to understand “why” they are listening. We may only do that by allowing ourselves to silently reflect upon intentions, facts and logic. We should be grateful, and I am, but not so grateful, that we forget to ask ourselves: “Why now?” It’s an important and valid question, just begging to be answered.
            .
            As for “expecting our city officials, elected or hired, to pay attention to city departments and be current on the laws and regulations governing those departments,” I couldn’t agree with you more. You are absolutely right.
            .
            And as important for me to say is that I am grateful for your comment, “hopefully we are all intelligent enough to differentiate between the trolls and those who have legitimate concerns and questions.”

          • Pamala Englert September 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

            So sorry, I neglected to include this link, which is referred to in my prior comment:

            http://www.sgcity.org/budget/FY2013-14%20Final%20Budget.pdf

        • Kris September 1, 2013 at 7:41 pm

          Pamela, bottom line regarding the shelter is laws were broken. Abuse was taking place. Yes, the City wrote it off as bad shelter management but abuse is abuse. Animals were being killed in the most horrific manner imaginable. If you want blow by blow details, message me and I’ll be glad to let you sit in on conversation with those who witnessed the animals die a slow painful death, screaming (because they were not sedated) while confined.

          I used the chain of command as did other rescue groups, and individuals for years and years to institute change in the shelter and that chain of command did not listen. It failed the animals of this town , the rescue groups, every person that had to relinquish their animal thinking our shelter was a safe haven for their pet they could no longer keep and every person that took their animal there to be euthanized thinking it would humanely be put to sleep. How open do you think this city is to class action law suits right now? You still feeling bad for lost jobs or are you sick to your stomach this happened in our town.

          Because of the years of false promise of change, I purposely used the election system as a wake up call. I am thankful Tara was responsive and quick to look into the problem and had the guts to act. Jon actually met me at my car the next day on his way back from the shelter appalled what he had seen and took responsibility as he has from that day forward. Neither of these people have ever talked in our conversations how to further their political ambitions through the shelter. They only talk of how to move forward with improvements and programs.

          Pamela, here are a few of the laws that have been broken. Pretty serious laws: Broken in a department that has managers on top of managers. How did that happen?

          Utah Code 11-46-402 – Animal Shelter Euthanization Training, which states: “require each person who conducts or assists with a euthanization to attend the training program annually.”

          St. George City Ord. 81-11-2, 11-5-1981; amd. 2003 Code states: The division of animal control shall provide suitable premises and facilities to be used as an animal shelter where impounded animals can be adequately kept and supplied with food and humane care. It shall provide for the painless and humane destruction of animals where necessary, or it may furnish medical treatment for impounded animals.

          Utah State code: R156-37-305 which states: ”uses the controlled substances according to a written protocol in performing animal euthanasia” AND “maintain accurate records of controlled substances which come into their possession; and they maintain an effective audit trail”

          People donate to candidates we believe in and that support the causes we feel will better our City. That is what inspires us voters to contribute. If a candidate promised he could slow the traffic down on my street, I’d open my check book.. That’s what we do..

          • Pamala Englert September 2, 2013 at 12:33 am

            Kris,

            My reply to you is quite simple. There is no place in any of my comments you will find any words which do not clearly state my position on animals. In fact, I will repeat once again, the quote I have used many times: “To inflict cruelties on defenseless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilized society – reverence for life.” ~Jon Evans
            .
            That being clear, I refer now to your own words from your comment: “Because of the years of false promise of change, I purposely used the election system as a wake up call. I am thankful Tara was responsive and quick to look into the problem and had the guts to act. Jon actually met me at my car the next day on his way back from the shelter appalled what he had seen and took responsibility as he has from that day forward.”
            .
            Of course Tara Dunn and Jon Pike would be responsive that close to the primary election and upcoming general election. If you followed the proper ‘chain of command’ before, then why not ask yourself why Jon Pike was not concerned before his “tour of the animal shelter just before primaries?”
            .
            He has been a city council member for quite a long time – in fact, if you review the organizational chart for the City of St. George, you will learn that he has had as much authority and responsibility to be aware of the laws and the current conditions of the shelter as anybody. For him to be “appalled’ now is a weak and ineffective position – only useful to those who do not understand our form of city government and our city’s organizational chart.
            .
            That you “purposely used the election system as a “wake up call” is not something about which you should be proud, Kris. I applaud you for your efforts to love and care for animals. I cannot honestly say I have much respect for any person who would purposely use the election system as a “wake up call.” That’s asking for trouble, and in our community, we have enough trouble with which to contend. It’s also self-serving and somewhat manipulative on it’s own, at least of the system.
            .
            There are other ways to accomplish your goals. Personally, I would gladly have suggested those ways to you at no charge, as would many others who are very capable. It does not mean I do not believe in accountability – I certainly do. However, I believe there’s a time and a place for everything.
            .
            “Bulldogs, don’t belong in china shops.” Politicians with clearly unethical motives do not need to be handed their agendas on a silver platter. They are plenty experienced at finding their own. Likewise, there is a stark difference between an animal advocate and an animal activist.
            .
            As for the applicable laws, I read them immediately following the first story. In that same story, I already saw that appropriate actions were being taken to resolve the problem. Resolution of issues should be our primary goal. If what you seek is resolution, that is occurring, you said so yourself. If what you seek is revenge, then stick with your current methods and you might accomplish your goals, but only at the expense of our community, and I do not refer to financial expense. Just remember though, most intelligent people can detect what is genuine and what is not.
            .
            If Tara and Jon think the voters are not seeing through their political motives, they are sadly mistaken.
            .
            I do not place my words here to further stir your emotions. I care as much about animals as any person, and I protect and love as many as I can.
            .
            If Randy Fields, from Ivins, is so intent on ensuring we have the best possible animal shelter facility in St. George, then why don’t you recommend to him that he use some of his personal wealth to make that happen? .
            .
            In fact, a good start would be to redirect his campaign contributions as the Park City Group toward that very goal, don’t you think? Of course you do.
            .
            Respectfully submitted,

            Pamala
            .

        • Kris September 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm

          Pamela, Isn’t this what elected officials are for? What better litmus test for a candidate than seeing if they will actually listen to the people, do their homework and choose the right thing to do? Watching them in action, getting a first hand look at what that Candidate is about before electing him/her in office, seeing them in action work on a project with such passion is a testament to their dedication of what they will do if elected. But then, we can listen to candidates chant the same promises of the three R’s or four T’s but we’ve all heard that since we started voting at age 21 and we still haven’t accomplished transparency and don’t trust one of them. We’ve had the rare opportunity to see a couple candidates in action! Pamela, Tara Dun did not accept the small donation you seem to loath (or jealously Randy is supporting Tara and not your gal) for over 4 months after her original conversation with me. Her work had begun and was underway long before Randy’s contribution. Hooray on Randy Fields for stepping up and supporting a candidate that is embracing candidates he believes in. Pamela, could your anger actually be about Steve Urquhart representing Gold Cross against Dixie Ambulance more so than the St. George Animal Shelter? Shame on you.. Pamela, if your negative posting in every non-related shelter article written in the STGnews is about discrediting one candidate to promote your gal…. that is really, really creepy.

    • Joel Deceuster November 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Pamala, I’m trying to contact you regarding the TEDx Conference you put on at Sun River. I’m the Director of Marketing for the St George Chamber of Commerce and would like to discuss some of the speakers at your event. I think they would be inspiring for our chamber members to hear at our “Inspiration Luncheons” which will be starting in 2014. Would you be willing to talk to me about them and about the possibility of putting on another TEDx here in the St George area? You can call me at 408-314-1941 or by email at joel@stgeorgechamber.com Many thanks. Joel Deceuster

  • Ellen Lambert August 30, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I asked a friend of mine who has worked at several drug treatment centers about the imposition of a treatment facility in a residential neighborhood, and here is her response:

    Is it a detox or a long term residential house? Usually it is the latter or a sober house and I wouldn’t be big on it in my neighborhood. I think they should be located closer to main cities or more isolated. Being right smack in the middle of neighborhoods doesn’t seem to work. In the 4 years we lived
    , we got broken into twice and constantly had needles and beer bottles and cans thrown into our yard. There is too much relapse and then where do they go to use? The neighborhood. I would not worry about drug dealing or approaching the kids, it is the relapse and the theft when that happens and the comings and goings of police and ambulances answering to od’s. sad . I would vote against it. Kills me to say that but I hated having it down the street. Plus in their spare time, they hang out in the yard and on the front steps and it can be uncomfortable. I so suck for saying that but they can’t put the houses right in the neighborhoods.

    • Garth August 30, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Not sure I believe that story. A properly operated sober living home usually has a full-time employee that monitors the people in the home. These folks have jobs, go to 12-step meetings and are trying to get their life in order. They are (should be) regularly tested for drugs and alcohol. If a positive test comes up, they are evicted immediately. The rules there are very, very strict. There should be no beer cans, needles or burglaries associated these homes. Maybe these needles and beer cans came from the other neighbors that you know absolutely nothing about. The burglaries could have been completely random too.

      The other type of home is an in-patient recovery facility. These people are in the home full time for 45-90 days to be introduced to the tools and skills they need to start on a life of sobriety when they leave. These are the safest and most quiet of the treatment facilities. The only cars coming and going are therapists and other facility workers. Sometimes they have a once a week family group day so there might be more cars that day. But not any busier than some homes I see in most neighborhoods. You know the one, constant chaos and vehicles coming and going. Hmmm, I wonder whats going on in that home??

      Most of the backlash towards these treatment homes comes from the fear of the unknown. Most people just don’t understand addiction and don’t want to. These homes are generally 99% harmless to the neighborhood. So the best way for them to fight back is yell things generated from their uninformed mind. And that also make them feel better about their stance on this issue.

  • DoubleTap August 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Has anyone even bothered to check campaign financial reports for local candidates? Specifically if the owners of the treatment facility have been a contributor/donor to McArthurs campaign. Would not be a big surprise if it came out that they are major donors. However, there are numerous ways to conceal a donor/contributor on required reporting paperwork. Sure would be interesting….
    I am not a big fan of Jon Pike as well. And he has his “skeletons” he is keeping well hidden. His major supporters are not even from Southern Utah. So, you see…a few years of “on-the-job” training at the local level, and his sights are trained on state political ambitions. It is truely sad that the citizens of St. George DO NOT have a better choice for Mayor. Both are just as conflicted as the other.
    There really NEEDS to be a change in leadership in St. George. It has been way to corrupt for too many years for it to remain the same.

  • Lisa August 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I didn’t make it to the meeting but my experience with Rep. Stewart has been that he’s dismissive. After listening to an interview by County Seat TV interviewer C. Booth, I wrote to Steward asking for details on a comment he made. He asserted that an energy development in Kane County’s Grand Staircase Escalante would only cover 40 acres and require 12 miles of road. I wanted details to back up this information and expand my understanding. Not only did I not get the information; I did not even get a response from the man. If this is serving his constituents, there’s a problem! Apparently, he doesn’t like to be nailed down. Pretty slippery.

  • tyler September 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Il ove how the Mormons want to be Christian so bad but they could not bear to have a facility
    that helps people in need in their community.

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