Gov. Gary Herbert and other state officials have been getting an earful from people "disgusted," "outraged," and "dismayed" at the firings of three state archaeologists. Those who support the action might say these are only people who have an interest in preserving relics of our past, not anybody important merely other archaeologists, educators and Utahns who believe the state budget should be balanced some other way.
The anger and suspicion are justified. It appears Utah values its ancient heritage less than it values increasing amounts of asphalt in the state, since the Legislature went out of its way to protect highway funding during its session this year while whacking the budget for the Utah Department of Community and Culture.
Although effects of the Great Recession have undoubtedly made reductions in state budgets necessary, the firings of three state archaeologists who got in the way of development can't be explained away that easily.