Dear Editor,

The recent action by the BOS to oppose the already approved creation of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni-Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument and spend county tax dollars to mount a legal challenge against it ignores the decades of work by our Indigenous brothers and sisters to secure protections for this existing federal land and ignores our current county budget deficit, but it does support the Arizona Republican Party’s efforts against the Biden Administration.

The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument protects and preserves the rich cultural, ecological, historic, and scenic value of the Grand Canyon landscape, it also protects the tributaries of the Colorado River. It preserves over 350 thousand acres in Mohave County for outdoor recreation, camping, hiking, biking, hunting and fishing. Existing mining and grazing are not impacted despite what the BOS infers. The creation of this monument did not affect one acre of county or private land in Mohave County.

Like 18 other presidents before him, both republican and democrat, President Biden utilized the Antiquities Act to protect and preserve this federal land. The BOS spending county taxpayer money to fight this is irresponsible given the projected budget deficit we face. The BOS spending county taxpayer dollars to further their personal political party interests is just wrong, they should be representing their citizens, some of which are indigenous people.

Interestingly, there was no open discussion at the meeting on this agenda item, a motion to adopt was made and seconded before a public speaker had a chance to speak on the matter and as soon as that person finished, a vote to approve passed. I had filed a written Request to Speak on this matter and was sitting up front to speak but was denied the chance to address the board. I verified that my signed form had made it to the chair but apparently in their rush to pass this party driven motion it was ignored. As a citizen, I was denied my voice. The board followed their party’s instructions and passed the motion.

I would like to know where the open meeting was held where the BOS discussed this important issue and discussed spending out tax dollars, it certainly was not on Feb. 5, at this BOS meeting.

The BOS does not represent the citizens of Mohave County, they represent their political party. It’s time for a change, we need representatives on the Board who will hold open public meetings, listen to the citizens and represent their constituent’s concerns. We don’t need politics at our board meetings, we already get too much of that everywhere else.

Paul Smith