Monday, November 23, 2015

The Plague of Passion - Under What Circumstances Can Partners Take You to Paradise or Put You in Prison? Or–The Tale of The Often Necessary And Just As Often Frivolous Co-habitant Protective Order

How are the following all the same? How do you distinguish one from the other?

The following is an important community service announcement that applies to all persons who seek or desire sexual fulfillment, romance, intimacy, companionship, econo-domestic partnership or mutual servitude.

This message is especially important for those souls who find themselves in the artistic community and seek, not necessarily tranquility and predictability, but rambunctious passion that sweeps them off of their feet. The trouble with rambunctious passion is that it can run to you, sweep you off your feet, enfold you in an unrelenting whirlpool that either drowns you or causes you to struggle and fight to get out. Upon escaping you are then either deflated and disconsolate, or, thanking God, the fates and sheer dumb luck that you survived. Then sometimes a third course or option is that you are left, just as quickly and surprisingly as you were embraced, with a pain, a desolation, a longing and an insatiable hunger. You find you cannot be without that other one which then leads you to your ruin or your eventual bliss if you win the fight and gain the favor of your love.

I have found that among actors, artists, film makers, dancers, directors, choreographers, photographers and clowns that they don’t just want to be in a relationship, they want to be all tangled up in it as the center of attention in the maelstrom of life. And herein lies the problem for such souls: the truth is, sometimes there is not much of a difference between love and manipulation, passion and stalking, devotion and criminal harassment, obsession and adoration, and ball busting and nurturing.

Often the difference between them is the difference in timing, the context, the intensity of your particular excesses, addictions or quirks, and the willingness of your partner to appreciate or tolerate your excesses, addictions or quirks. At times those excesses, addictions or quirks can, and sometimes should, get you into serious trouble with the law.

Here are some helpful guidelines to save you a lot of grief and money, and steer you clear of the law.

1. Physical violence either direct or indirect is never okay and should not be justified or excused. This includes threatening to commit harm against anyone or their property.

Granted, everyone has a right to defend themselves even against a beloved or not so beloved partner. But, guys (mostly guys) even when you rightfully defend yourself or your property against a woman, for better or worse, the cop, investigator, prosecutor, judge and God will, 99% of the time, regardless of what you say, blame you for any bruises or marks that end up on your partner due to your self defense or defense of your property.

I’ve known this to be true, even when I’ve been involved in cases where the woman has self inflicted injuries. I guarantee you, men, you are better off running from the woman that is attacking you or about to destroy all of your worldly possessions than trying to defend yourself or your property.

Only engage in self defense when absolutely necessary to avoid bodily harm or save your life. If that is not necessary and you can’t run, and your woman is not carrying a weapon that could inflict serious harm or death, duck and cover, or do what you’re supposed to do when a grizzly bear attacks you: curl into the fetal position. This may be against every instinct in your body but although I’m sure I’ll get many angry women responding to this post and saying that I’m incorrect, most angry women attacking you are like that same grizzly bear, they will only rip you to shreds if you remain standing in their path and confront them. Why?

Because a few women are very smart and devious. They don’t attack to necessarily win the fight with you, they attack because they are so angry and distraught they want you to realize it, and change. Then at times, there are an even fewer number who don’t care if they sustain some little damage in the process. In a twisted sort of way, these very few in number, want you to oblige them and give them some evidence to blame on you or they want to be a martyr. Don’t be participate in that.

Now, in order to not get too many hate responses, again this only applies to a very limited number of women. I do not want to diminish the problem with domestic abuse and males that actually are the aggressors and do subject their partners to abuse. Also, let me be quick to add that many men, in greater proportions to women, use violence to get their way.

On the other hand, if you are the woman who wants to manipulate the situation, I have the same advice. Violence is not acceptable. You shouldn’t be doing it. Moreover if you (or men) know the psychological buttons that set off your partner and are using them, although the law doesn’t give your loved one any legal justification to retaliate, you still should not be pushing those buttons and inflaming the situation. If your man (or woman) truly is a psycho or sociopath, truly is a bad provider, or pathetic in bed, he or she is worthless, either get him professional help, find positive ways to encourage the good behavior, or get out. It’s dangerous to psychologically beat down your man (or woman) and when it works to your advantage, it is counterproductive and despicable.

2. If you find your partner in flagrant infidelity, don’t become a one person vigilante.

Instead you should count it as a blessing because you have thereby discovered, without the nasty nagging uncertainty when you just suspected it, that it’s time to get out. So, instead of becoming a criminal defendant and going to jail, gather and preserve the proof, assess the situation with a professional third party, and make your decision, whether to try to preserve the relationship or move on.

3. When one partner emails and texts long, exaggerated dissertations about all of your flaws, this is a warning flag.

Not always, but at times, what the partner is doing is creating a profile to use against you. How is this done? Because if one party wants to punish and destroy the other, yet the recipient wants to appease the other partner and preserve the relationship at all costs, the party on the mission knows you will not respond to defend yourself. Then there will be a very one-sided set of communications in which it looks like you are agreeing to all the bad stuff about you and admitting that it is true. The best thing to do in such a situation is to send a message similar to the following, “Dear Truelove, while I don’t agree with what you are saying about me and much of it is an exaggeration and a caricature, apparently I have some aspects about myself you don’t appreciate. Let’s make an appointment with a professional and discuss them so that we can put such issues in context and solve them.”

Again, this is what you need to understand. Sometimes partners, in order to take the role of the victim, purposely exaggerate your flaws and minimize their problems. In response, sometimes in a foolish effort to appease the “victim monger” you will concede and beg for forgiveness not realizing that those emails, letters and texts may be read by a third-party at some point in the future. Don’t get set up.

An additional caution, don’t go to the opposite extreme and respond to texts and emails by getting crazy and engaging in threats. In my practice, again, I have found that a lot of men tend to go crazy in social media, emails and texts by spilling their guts and being “unwise.” Don’t do it. Be smart.

3. If your partner wants distance and tells you that certain types of contact or all communication is to stop, then by all means comply with that request. On the other hand, if you are the person requesting that certain communications or contact stop for a time, don’t then say or do things that give your partner hope that with a few presents, rental payments or troubadours sent to your window the floodgates of love will again freely flow. This is especially hard for guys to understand. Because guys don’t always understand they are being played. This is because they are taught in sport, “FAW & NLU,” or “find a way and never let up,” and many other such sayings. Such training is invaluable on the field of play but sometimes so admirable, when it works, in the game of love. But when it doesn’t, things go badly very quickly.

In Utah you can be charged with criminal stalking if you “intentionally or knowingly” engage “in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and [you know] or should know that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person:” to either “fear for the person’s own safety or the safety of a third person or to suffer other emotional distress.” In regards hereto, it is not a defense that you were “not given actual notice that the course of conduct was unwanted; or [you] did not intend to cause the victim fear or other emotional distress.”

What does this mean? Well, a course of conduct means “two or more” actions in which you yourself or through another person follow, observe, photograph, survey, threaten, or most importantly, communicate with or interfere with another’s property by any action, method, device or means. It also includes something as innocent as approaching the other person, going to their work place or other location to give them flowers, or basically in any way interact with the other person that other person finds objectionable. This type of criminal offense can, depending upon prior circumstances, arise to the level of a second-degree felony.

Also in Utah you can be charged with electronic communication harassment if with the intent to annoy, alarm, intimidate, defend, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communication of another you repeatedly send electronic communications after the recipient has requested or informed you not to contact them anymore and you persist in doing so. Or you engage in other types of electronic communications that are meant to provoke, or overload their system. This, depending upon past behavior, can arise to the level of a third-degree felony.

4. If a police officer tells you not to have contact with another person because that other person is indicating that it is unwelcome, by all means stop the contact.

If a police officer tells you to stop contact with a partner because it is unwanted, then it’s going to be pretty hard to claim that you are unaware that your behavior was unwelcome.

5. Do not use the legal system simply to do what you do not have the ability or courage to do and that is to tell a partner in certain and clear terms when a relationship is over and the contact is to cease. Do not use the legal system simply to embarrass your partner or to “teach them a lesson.” Only use the legal system when it is evident that direct communication has not or will not work and you have a reasonable belief that you are in danger.

If, on the other hand, your estranged partner does not understand what stop or no means, is engaging in threatening, aggressive, or violent behavior, call the police, file a protective order with assistance for the courts under the cohabitants Spousal Abuse Act, and get legal help. Also, realize that the piece of paper is meaningless if the person it is given to or served with will not obey the law. So take the measures necessary to protect your safety.

6. Do not hash out relationship problems with your partner’s children whether minors or adults. It is inappropriate to involve children in your mature adult relationship.

7. Do not involve parents in your relationship problems unless both partners in the relationship agree thereto.

8. If you have a problem with your partner that involves something that partner is capable of doing or not doing, then discuss it directly with them before you discuss it with your hairdresser, televangelist, second cousin, director, or post it on social media where it will live longer than you will.

9. Lastly, as the character Bill Parrish states in the film, Meet Joe Black, remember that love, “[I]s passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Forget your head, and listen to your heart... Run the risk. If you get hurt, you’ll come back. 'Cause the truth is, there's no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven't lived a life at all. But you have to try, 'cause if you haven't tried, you haven't lived.”

Yet, I say, when that someone you have found to love you like crazy is no longer wanting you to love them back like crazy, forget your heart and listen to your head. Cause the truth is, there's no sense getting a protective order filed against you, getting criminally charged or living your life in jail trying to win that which is no longer win-able. To make the journey, spend a lot of money on attorneys and have a criminal charge or jail time, well, you haven't lived a smart life at all. Be smart and stay loving my friends.
Loren M. Lambert © November 22, 2015.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Progressives, Liberals and Democrats: Border Control Is Indispensable For Security and Liberty

We have to remember that ISIS is not a State. It should not be treated as such, Pres. Obama stated recently.
They are wise words so we don't over react to challenges terrorists pose. We must not either under react.
The internet allows a sifting of populations in such a manner that a radical group can attract all the unbalanced, insane and easily manipulated to their cause so that their presence is concentrated and they have prominence that they otherwise would not have had in the past. There members also include many that have money and access to arms. Due to their composition, they will also be manipulated by rogue regimes.
Yet the same technology that allows that same minority the ability to attract the few can also galvanize, equip and organize the many who want peace, liberty and freedom for all.
And, here is what is becoming very apparent and is a reality that progressives, liberals and democrats need to come to gripes with and get behind: knowing who enters your borders and leaves them (or doesn't leave) is indispensable. Not to artificially or inhumanely control the flow of labor, immigration and refugees, but to ensure that those who are within the pathological and criminal minority cannot hide in plane sight due to our naivety.
All the laws and reforms on immigration and the best internal security and policing are undermined and useless without sophisticated entry and exit controls that combine the use of high-tech and low tech barriers and monitors of population movement between international borders. This needs to be done and coordinated among all free nations. Only then will we be able to predict, ahead of the curve, the coalescence of forces like ISIS and to thereby stop them.

Illegal Alien and Criminal Enterprise, or Undocumented Worker and His Out of Compliance Proprietor?

I met with my client and his employer this afternoon. Both are complicit in their working relationship. Both are aware that my client has no legal right to be working here and the employer knows he has no right to be employing him.

My client came here originally on an H2-a Visa. It allows ranchers, who allegedly can show they have tried to employ US Citizens under US labor laws without success, to pay extremely low wages to the "guest workers." In the 1990's the wages were about $600-700 a month, plus very basic food rations and austere living quarters--meaning rice, beans, some protein, a tiny sheep herder's cabin and travel to and from their country of origin (usually Peru, Ecuador and a few other countries). There are no other benefits.

These workers basically work from sun up to sun down, seven days a week in dangerous conditions, with few holidays, Sundays and weekends off depending on the employer. Except for recently, the wages had only gone up to $900 a month, but over the next several years, according to the employer, wages will climb to as high $2300 a month with all other conditions remaining the same.

When my client came here over two decades ago, he lost his dominant arm in a grain auger lacking its safety housing (it may not have prevented the injury--but we'll never know). I do not at this time know the reason it was missing. He was paid Worker's Compensation (66% of his wage while recuperating, his medical expenses, and a modest indemnification of about $30,000 for his missing arm). His employer promised him employment for as long as he wanted it and has been true to his word.

The employer has treated my client well (by his standards), paying modest bonuses and conducting himself in a courteous manner.

The only problem is, despite attempting to gain residency or citizenship, my client's visa expired in 2003 and was not renewed. Because of that, he had a dilemma. He could return to his country and be completely impoverished, knowing it would be difficult for him to find work without both arms, or he could remain but then be unable to safely return for visits and travel back to the US because his visa had expired. He chose to stay and his employer kept him on.

Under the law, this strips the employer of the right to pay the suppressed wage rate and subjects my client to deportation, and, as stated, the inability to leave and return.

As often occurs in all morally deficient, repugnant, inequitable or illegal arrangements--master/slave, consignor/indentured servant, landowner/sharecropper, coyote/illegally smuggled immigrant, pimp/prostitute, etc--the relationship becomes one in which one or the other--depending on the consequences of separation or of legal intervention--can exploit the circumstances of the other. It also distorts and corrupts the human interaction between them. Usually, the party with the power is the employer and usually that employer sees himself, whether true or not, (more often true) as playing a benevolent role regardless of the actual circumstances. Yet, I am not unsympathetic to the employer in this case. After all, my client is making more money than he would in his country.

In this case, there is a difference of opinion regarding whether amounts are still due to my client pursuant to federal law. Moreover, although he is currently working, my client probably could not find work from anyone else in the U.S. due to his advanced age, lack of dental and medical care, and his missing dominant arm. Indubitably, he would not find work in Peru. At this stage in his life he feels so exhausted that he doesn't know how much longer he can endure the grind of ranching. He is virtually a prisoner of his circumstances and a slave to the ranch–however benevolent it may seem or be.

Also, he has not seen his family in over ten years and has no family here to speak of. He wants to return to his country but wants to know if he can obtain more benefits or negotiate a pension from his employer. So what does he do? What does the law allow?

He may technically qualify for worker's compensation permanent disability benefits since he is not working in a competitive work environment. But this is not clear due to the fact that he is currently working--even though he is barely holding on. (I can personally vouch for the fact he has been a very hard worker, but I can see the pain in his face and the despair in his eyes from 35 years of hard labor out in the elements). He also has a right to pursue minimum and overtime wages for the past 2 to 3 years, but is reluctant to pursue such a claim that could require his employer to pay a significant amount. Also, the law is not so clear for undocumented workers.

So the question is, who's side do you pick? What is fair under the circumstances, that the law impose its penalty, or that circumstances be left on their own?

It was interesting meeting with both sides at the same time. I got the sense that the employer is an honorable, hard working man, but one who is unable to see things from his employees' points of view, who feels no compunction regarding legal niceties and views himself as above the law. The only law he thinks should apply is the law he negotiates with his servants.

So is my client an illegal alien or an undocumented worker? And is his employer a criminal enterprise or an out of compliance proprietor?

Loren M. Lambert © November 18, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Veteran’s Day–Is Greatness Measured by The Number of Lives Ruined or Spent?

I am a veteran. I served at Ft. Lewis in I Corps and then in the 9th Infantry Division as a JAG Officer. I was trained at Ft. Lee, the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, in Charlottesville, Virginia and lastly at Ft. Benning where I had the dynamic and instructive experience of training with paratroopers and jumping with them in five jumps from perfectly sound cargo planes. I have to say, it is a beautiful and exhilarating experience to behold as a participant, the blooming of canopies, like so many giant flowers, in a peach and red sunset over Georgia. I only was in for one tour and it was an important part of my life that I am grateful for so, as a Veteran, I thank you for allowing me to serve.

Although I never served overseas in a combat zone, there were a couple JAGs from my office that served in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. I also represented and was a neighbor to numerous veterans of several wars. I don’t share this because I deserve or want thanks. I share this because we have a country in which so few have the privilege and the incredible benefit of serving in their country's armed forces. I served because I believe serving in the armed forces is the best way to focus the hearts, minds and bodies of all U.S. citizens on the importance of being or electing wise, balanced leadership that can maintain our preparedness yet not engage us in unnecessary wars.

Currently it is still, even with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a very small percentage of the military that bears the great burden of combat and an even smaller number that pay the ultimate price with their wounded bodies, minds and lives. It is this group that deserves our concern, support and praise. Yet, it is this group that would be more greatly honored by the conviction and understanding that we all have a responsibility of bearing the burden of protection by having the direct responsibility of maintaining and promoting peace and democracy. And how is the burden borne by us all?

On NPR today, one of the commentators indicated with a question, that patriotism and support for our veterans means that we cannot voice opposition to the wars they have fought in or are fighting in. Nothing could be further from the truth. To honor veterans, to truly and patriotically honor their sacrifice, is to understand that we all must make sure that no blood is spilled casually, injudiciously or without great need. I fear that because this burden is borne by so few, our politicians and potential presidents can talk about making America great again in the same manner that wealthy people demonstrate greatness by the amount of money they can casually waste and the way many despots demonstrate their greatness by the number of lives they can casually expend. Let’s not be these despots. Let us honor our veterans by taking care of them, serving in our military, and electing wise leaders that will only involve us in war as a last resort.
 Loren M. Lambert Nov. 11, 2015 ©

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Candlelight Media, a Light on the Hill for Christians but Not for Writers

About a decade ago, I engaged Candlelight Media, a Provo based film production and distributing company that is run by a very devout LDS family, the Broughs (yes, I think that this fact is relevant to the story). I sent them a couple of my scripts. After reading them, they indicated an interest in employing me to write a screenplay for them. Before I was given a written contract, I was told that they wanted to pay me a “reasonable amount” for my work.

Of course what is or is not reasonable is in the eye of the beholder, and any party to discussions about what one should get paid should not be offended by the undisclosed and subjective expectations of the other–ever! They only thing that should occur is a discussion to arrive at an agreement, if that can be done. Along these lines, as an attorney I am often involved in the negotiation of lawsuits. I’m always flabbergasted when one or the other side of a dispute claims offense at the other’s opening offer and leaves the negotiations without trying to engage and make a counter offer to resolve the dispute or finalize the deal. Hold this thought, because it comes into play later.

I met with Brian Brough before I had been given a contract. He provided me a simple idea for a film and had me start writing it. The idea was basically this: a couple becomes marooned on an island. While there, they solidify their Christian faith and fortify their marriage. Excited, I immediately outlined my screenplay from beginning to end and was about halfway through writing the screenplay when I received the contract.

It was basically this: they wanted me to write the screenplay, and several rewrites under their direction, and if they liked what I wrote, they would pay me $500, but this was not an obligation, and they would decide whether or not to give me a writing credit. Moreover, pay or no pay, they would own all rights to whatever I wrote. Now, many writers who have published works, and even some like me who have not had any significant publications, would have perhaps been offended by their contract. I was not. But, fortunately or unfortunately my business acumen kicked in and I wanted to make a counter offer. So I discussed with several people in the industry what would be a reasonable amount to pay a first time screenwriter. Based upon those discussions I made a counteroffer which was admittedly at the higher end of the amount first time writer’s are paid, but within the ballpark.

Immediately, taking offense at my counteroffer, Candlelight Media, instructed me to hand over all of my writing to date, accused me of only being interested in money, and schooled me on how difficult it is to make money in the film business. They also, with great fanfare, discussed how they could not make any money if they paid me and others for our work.

To say the least, this was astounding to me. While my desire to maximize my economic benefit was seen as perverse, their desire to maximize their economic interest and turn a profit to “preserve the family business,” took on some messianic priority over the interests of the people who worked for them. During my discussions with them over their contract, many of the terms and words to express their position, indicated that they viewed themselves as somehow working as an undeclared arm of the LDS Church. Therefore, they had a mission and myself and others as their missionaries, metaphorically speaking, should be grateful to donate our time and money while it should be left to them, the right and moral authority, to actually earn any money. They also emphasized what a great opportunity it was for me to write for them whether I got paid or not. And to tell you the truth, they were probably right.

Nevertheless, at the time this all took me by surprise. I never expected this reaction. I thought I was engaging in a negotiation with a professional business. Despite this, as stated, I really was grateful for a chance to have possibly gotten a film of mine produced. Therefore I tried to repair the relationship. I drastically reduced my expectations and attempted to re-engage them by proposing a contract that would have at least paid me a token amount and that in the event that the film became profitable, only then would I get paid a very modest amount for a first time screenwriter. Unfortunately, the response I was given was an unconditional demand to turn in my work to date, to cease further work on my screenplay, and a resolute decision that they would engage in no further negotiations with me.

Well, I didn’t cease writing nor give them my work but I did finish the screenplay. It sits unproduced while they produced their own version of the basic premise. Although the bulk of my screenplay is witty, funny and compelling, it admittedly needs a little more work. It probably could’ve been fashioned by someone with Candlelight Media’s experience into a good, if not great, screenplay.

The reason I did not relinquish my work is because the law was indisputably on my side and a mere idea does not create an intellectual property right. Moreover, I would have been happy to have turned it over to them provided I had been paid, based upon what they had already promised, a “reasonable amount.” I didn’t know what that amount should specifically be, but I knew it wasn’t “maybe we''ll pay you $500 if we want to.”

Although I’ve discussed this experience with some people, I’ve never written about it because I always thought maybe there was a possibility of repairing the “offense” caused to “Candlelight Media." After all, they are still one of the power brokers in the limited Utah film market and are a force to be reckoned with. I do so now because I think the experience is a cautionary tale to others. I’m also hoping that production companies like Candlelight Media will understand that one is worth what one is able to negotiate. If you think someone is asking for more than they are worth, you simply tell them so and realize that while you may have the power to hold your ground, you do not have a superior moral right to your position. It is not a matter of morality, it’s a matter of business. At least give the other that amount of dignity and respect.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the film industry is riddled with many talented and hard-working individuals and companies that are desperate to “make it.” Because of that desperation and drive to succeed, some of them will claw their way to the top. Many of them do not care who they use, claw or step on to get there. Moreover when they do get there, they stand upon their pinnacle and disparage anyone who would dare even hint that they had been clawed, stepped on or used by them on their way up or who dared to ask to be paid.

Sometimes, though, a few have enough self-awareness to know how they got where they did, will do the right thing and graciously reach down to give a hand up to all who helped them in their success. Most will not. Moreover, the oppressed who make it to the top, sometimes then become the oppressors, and start the cycle of exploitation all over again.

Also, since there are so few players in the industry that are successful, they can take the position that the Brough family of Candlelight Media has taken, that they are entitled to make money, as a moral right, while those they deem fit to perform entry-level jobs are not. The fact is, Candlelight Media, nor anyone else, has a moral right to either use people or to disparage and take offense against those who would attempt to negotiate their pay. The only thing they have is their “might,” and while “might” may allow them to obtain volunteer and minimally-paid actors, writers and crew members, they should not take offense at those who decline to volunteer their services or who attempt to negotiate higher wages. They can simply do what they have the power to do based upon the value they think they are getting by saying, “this is a take it or leave it offer, do not attempt to negotiate it.”

To this day, although I do not think it was wrong or misguided for me to have attempted to secure greater economic value for my labor, I wish I would have been wise enough to have figured out a way to have at least made my proposal in a manner that it would have been rejected without offense or at least a minimal improvement in my contract could have been offered. Or, I wish I would have known that the contract was nonnegotiable--maybe I would’ve signed it. But here’s the reality, offense is usually not intended in such situations, but it is taken. There may have been nothing I could have done that could have avoided Candlelight Media from taking offense. They were the experienced parties in these negotiations and I, unfortunately, was not.

Yet, I do know that they were right about one thing- I have been unable to find similar writing opportunities. So maybe “might” does make “right,” and maybe the only way to make it in this business is to prostrate your services until they are valued by those who have good money to reward you for those services.

Nevertheless, I would urge both the employers/contractors seeking services and the employees/independent contractors offering services, to make their intentions clear at the very beginning, before either start performing. That way there are no misunderstandings regarding whether or not an initial offer is negotiable and so it is established categorically what is a “reasonable amount.”

Loren M Lambert, October 5, 2015 ©

Wildlife Access

District Court Ruling Scorns and Schools Utah's Cowboy Legislators Thereby Providing Hope for Advocates of Green Belts and Recreation Access Points -- Good For Everyone!!!!

The Deseret News reported a major win for the body politic by striking down a Utah Legislative driven resource and land grab. Yes, the good old boys at the Utah Legislature tried to give their buddies land and resources they didn't have to pay for and that didn't belong to them. Now anglers can access waterways for fishing. (My buddy Darrell Smith should be pleased).

You may ask, how is it a land grab? Shouldn't private property owners have a right to bar access to public waterways and mountains? Let's ask this a different way. If the public cannot access public waterways and mountains, who effectively owns them? Answer, only those who have access to them. So if land owners are allowed to trump public access rights, they own them.

Next question: Who owns the water-bound and land-roaming wildlife? The answer: those that have access to them. Who should have access to them? Answer: absent aboriginal rights--everyone. That cannot happen if developers and private land owners can slowly but surely prevent all access.

Isn't that a good thing because it limits use and wild life extraction and protects land owners from having to see that they are not the only people on earth? No because it unnecessarily concentrates use to specific areas--with an inequitable burden on the land owners in that area and resulting in overuse and degradation. It also indirectly prevents adequate resource management because the stakeholders become too polarized and contentious with divergent interests.

Bottom line is it's a step in the right direction. The goal should be to reserve, buy back through eminent domain, and create green belts and wildlife corridors of at least 50 feet or more (the belt should be proportional to the size thereof) around every major body of water, flood plane, unstable or radically uneven land area and all public lands. By this means we should also create, every quarter of a mile, access points to all public lands–including the Wasatch Front Mountain Range. And by this means we should create wildlife and access corridors through farm and industrial lands. Such a plan would actually benefit everyone in the long run. This also increase the value of the land on the edge of these green belts and wild life corridors .

Loren M. Lambert, Nov. 6, 2015 ©

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Respect the Stuff That Can Make You Bleed

About every other month, I nearly cut my finger off. But it's usually never with a big, long, thick, capable-of-severing-my-entire-wrist-sharp knife and it hardly ever occurs while I'm cutting anything of any significance or carving up a new awe-capturing owl sculpture.

No, its cutting another slice from the US-portion-sized-Costco honey crisp apple, and I want a piece, and I want it quick so I can eat my favorite dessert of crisp, flavorful apple, like the ones I picked fresh as a kid and then adding a dollop of Adam's all natural, no sugar added, peanut butter on it; or it's cutting a local heirloom tomato.

And the knife? Usually it's a Cutco butter knife. But for those who know, for those who have had a son, daughter, friend or relative that needed a job and they were roped into selling the highest-quality-on-the-planet and most expensive knives in the kitchen, you know that even the butter knives are capable of cutting through hard burnt whole grain toast like it was butter. And that's how it happened. Not the toast but with the butter knife.

Lucky my finger nail was there to stop it.

Since it wasn't bad, since my pride hid the pain, since I couldn't believe I kept forgetting my boy scout teaching to never, unless you are a surgeon, cut toward any body parts, and since the apple had a lot of red, it took me a minute or two to realize I was bleeding. But the apple and peanut butter couldn't wait. So, two pints of blood later, it hit me. I do fine on the hard stuff, I do fine on the easy stuff, I do fine with the obviously dangerous stuff. It's the stuff I don't expect, it's the stuff I underestimate, it's the stuff that is soft and insignificant that I'm cutting into with a butter knife, it's the stuff I am too anxious to devour that gets me, causing me to let down my guard and has me cutting toward things that bleed.

So, don't sweat the little stuff, sweat the big stuff, and respect the stuff that you tend to underestimate because it has the potential to make you bleed.

That is you, as in me.

Loren M. Lambert, October 29, 2015 ©