Jim Peacock, president of the Utah Petroleum Association, was apparently kidnapped on his way to a meeting with state officials in September. An impostor was sent on in his place. It is the only way to explain why the head of Utah's free-market petroleum industry, in free-market Utah, would be asking the state for welfare payments with this argument:
shame to leave crude in the ground simply because it's not
profitable to lift it out of the ground," he was quoted in the
Sept. 29 Salt Lake Tribune. To get the unprofitable crude out of
the ground, Peacock is asking the state for tax and royalty breaks.
What a devilishly clever plot to make Utah's oil
industry look as if it didn't understand the nature of capitalism
and free markets. We hope the kidnapping is solved soon, and that
Mr. Peacock is reunited with his family and with his association.
Pat and Mike Boring of Espaûola, N.M.,
write us about a 1,000-pound moose with a yen to see the Land of
Enchantment. Somehow, he bulled his way south out of Colorado and
showed up one September day near Taos.
probably expected a warm welcome; instead, he got a hot one. State
Game and Fish officers, after some vigorous eye rubbing and
back-and-forth "Do you see what I see," peppered him with
tranquilizing darts. Most bounced off the bull's tough hide.
Eventually, he fell into a deep sleep and was shipped back to
To J.D. Arnold of Santa Fe, the
deportation smacks of hypocrisy. He wrote to the Albuquerque
Journal that practically no one is indigenous to New Mexico,
especially the Game and Fish Department. "As a community created by
many migrants - historical and contemporary - surely we can welcome
one wandering moose." Taking up the cause of the "90s, J.D. wrote:
"More moose! Fewer Bureaucrats."
moose got the headlines, this decade has been dominated by
migrating Californians. And though they are non-natives, no one
dares sedate them for shipment back home.
even without help from game and fish departments, the migratory
patterns of Californius mobilius may be changing. A heart-broken
Roger Reinhardt, who runs the Home Builders Association of Metro
Denver, told AP, "We no longer have that huge influx of
Californians in the market."
Not huge, but still
an influx. In the first half of 1994, 16,000 persons traded in
California driver's licenses for Colorado licenses. In the first
six months of 1995, a mere 13,000 Californians traded licenses.
Why the drop? The Sept. 20 Los Angeles Times
suggests that people flow downhill as well as uphill toward jobs.
And California is producing jobs faster than the nation for the
first time since 1980. The job trend, combined with another recent
first for California - affordable housing - may be pulling some
people out of the pricey intermountain West.
then there are the non-economic factors. Californians fleeing
earthquakes, floods, fires, Gov. Pete Wilson and multiculturalism
may be finding that the land to their east has peculiarities of its
own. Take last issue's real estate tip about the log cabin near
Roundup, Mont., that the IRS was practically giving away. The only
tiny problem was a sort of lien: the heavily armed former owner and
his heavily armed friends remained aggressively in residence.
By the time you were reading that note, the
Freemen had abandoned the cabin and moved by armed convoy, shadowed
by wary police, to a new stronghold near Jordan, Mont.
This is the sort of thing that could give some
Californians pause. And they may not be comforted by Garfield
County attorney Nick Murnion, who told the Billings Gazette
plaintively, "When you have a group like this that doesn't believe
they have to follow any laws, it gets to be a real big problem."
People who think it is the
federal government and not the Freemen who are out of control will
find support in the Sept. 27 issue of Westword, a Denver weekly.
Writer Steve Jackson describes, kilo-dollar by kilo-dollar, how the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the General Services
Administration spent more than $250,000 trying to decide if a bunch
of rocks in a field near Boulder, Colo., is a sacred medicine
wheel. The money went for site visits by archaeologists and Indian
tribes as well as engineering studies and the
The money-is-no-object approach comes from
the feds' desire to build a $54 million, 240,000-square-foot
building for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration. Sewer lines and an access road would skewer the
Rock Feature. Despite the $250,000 - Jackson had to file a Freedom
of Information Act request to get the numbers - the government
still doesn't know if the Rock Feature is a medicine wheel.
Some decisions have been made. Clair Green of
the U.S. General Services Administration has decided that those who
think the Rock Feature is sacred, and who also happen to oppose the
NOAA building, are "anti-growth, left-wing radicals and new agers."
Even as parts of the West spin off into worlds
of their own, previous backwaters are being snagged by "progress."
In a triumphant news release, the National Park Service announces
that, after "nearly a century of marginal to nonexistent
communications," Natural Bridges National Monument will now have
commercial telephone service.
Heard Around the West invites readers to get involved in the
column. Send any tidbits that merit sharing - small-town newspaper
clips, personal anecdotes, relevant bumpersticker slogans. The
definition remains loose. Heard, HCN, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428 or