News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Commissioners caved in to the special interests on fireworks
Jul 15, 2012 - Robert Spengler, Lander
Fremont County Commissioners displayed an unbelievable lack of good judgment, common sense and serious disregard for the safety of the citizens of Fremont county. They reversed their ban on fireworks in the county and for four hours put us all at extreme danger, both our personal safety and that of our property, as they caved to the special interest of a couple of fireworks sellers.
According to the newspaper article, commissioner Becker felt that without some kind of compromise ... "we're going to criminalize most of the people of Fremont County." Hickerson noted concerns about fires all around us and the lack of resources to fight a fire and yet he, and all the commissioners, voted for the lifting of the ban.
As far as I can see this is no more than double speak for justifying their thinly disguised support of special interest over the very real fire danger in Fremont County.
Every other jurisdiction that I am aware of in the state, including the reservation, band their planned fireworks displays and the setting off of fireworks by private citizens. Where were our leaders who are supposed to exercise good judgment for our safety? They were siding with special interest and disregarding their own fire protection district chief as well as the published "extreme fire warning" of the weather service. Both of those sources said "don't do it." If that wasn't enough warning for the commissioners, then just a quick look at the brown hills outside their window or a double check of the bans around the state should have been enough.
Thank goodness most of the citizens of our county exercised better judgment and held their fireworks for another day and we dodged what could have been a disaster of major proportions.
However, this does not change the fact that the sitting county commissioners clearly failed to exercise a strong and well reasoned decision for the safety of the county and its citizens when the facts couldn't have been clearer as to the danger and risk. This was a time for Chairman Thompson to take the lead and steer the commission back to rational thinking, but he did not. It let us see the lack of competence and reasoning skills in the rest of the incumbents as well. They, too, failed us when the hard decisions were called for. They all caved to the special interest of a few with the potential of a tragic impact on the rest of us.
We are lucky it is election time and Thompson, Hickerson and Christensen are up for re-election and all have opponents in the primary. It is time to vote these men out and put new candidates forward in the Republican Party in the general election.
We can stand up and say we will not tolerate local leaders who bow, no matter what they call it, to special interest. We can stand up and say we will hold our elected officials accountable and we will not re-elect those who have clearly demonstrated a lack of good judgment, common sense and leadership that put us all at risk. We can stand up and say we expect and demand leaders that have the demonstrated ability to be leaders we can trust and rely on to act responsibly, demonstrate good judgment and make decisions that are in the best interest of the citizens of Fremont County.