Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tower debate was mythical


The Galena cell tower debate stood for much more than a mere cell tower. The story attracted mythic qualities. Some of the healthiest dialogue came from spokespersons both for and against the tower who occasionally contradicted themselves in papers and in public meetings. Some saw Idaho Tower as Atlas, not shrugging in her epic efforts, while others perceived her as Medusa and did not dare look reason in the face, knowing it would crush their conceptually confused logic into Billy's Bridge gravel.

A friend who participated closely in the public hearings remarked: "Much opinion was allowed full rein, fueled by rancor and emotion, and absolute dismissal of facts and information. The Galena example is almost comical because the situation is so whacked. Local staff has dismissed voluminous handbooks, manuals, regulations and laws that instruct permitting of telecommunication infrastructure, and are hanging onto a thread of language that is discretionary, and also could be validly seen as violating its own forest plan."

Suddenly, the Forest Service supervisor selected a path for redesignation, with the secret motive of making the tower impossible. Moreover, she used Labyrinthal language, which only the most adept of Minotaur attorneys could follow without strings. Meanwhile, Homeland Security prepared to shift Atlas onto his own back with an improved plan to foil us all, by paying two Princess Bride government factions to sword-fight it out. Citizen angst against the tower sometimes stemmed from dissatisfactions within, which the fuming ones projected by gnashing their dragon's teeth to channel harsh sound bites onto the tower.

Anti-cell tower Victorians will discuss this result for decades. In the meantime, astute Idaho historians should include this legendary chapter in state history textbooks so our grandchildren may gain clearer perspectives than we have. To harmonize Idaho history books, our transportation department should install a historical sign at the Galena overlook to commemorate the epic battle of the defeated tower. To appease earth muffins and water sprites, they should mount it smack-dab next to the new Galena landline phone, to soak up less sacred SNRA space.

Jim Banholzer

Ketchum




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