This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I am sure the vast majority of Utah voters are as deeply offended by the arrogant comments of Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne as I am.
Byrne accused Utah voters of failing a statewide IQ test because they voted down Referendum 1. I believe just the opposite occurred in the election. Voters examined the issue thoughtfully and simply said no.
Over the past few months I have been very impressed with the high level of interest and the even higher level of discussion over this referendum by the people of my own community, the Uintah Basin.
Questions were asked by concerned citizens on each side of the issue, and I heard many insightful answers. Even though I am a member of the education community I approached this issue with an open mind, as did most people I encountered. We all want the system of public education to work better.
Utah voters were not "brainwashed" by any teachers' union. We made an informed decision. Obviously, it was not the one Mr. Byrne wanted us to make, but that is no excuse to insult the intelligence of Utahns. My experience was that Utahns cared deeply about this issue and studied it intensely, and that is why Referendum 1 was defeated.
Robert J. Mueller
Associate Professor of History
Utah State University, Uintah Basin