Leftist-funded reporter works to further environmentalist influence in San Juan County

The Ford Foundation, who supports RFA and by extension, Podmore, uses “Common Cause,” which is a lobbying organization. Everyone has lobbying organizations on their payroll, The Wilderness Society spent $770,000 on lobbyists in 2018. So, is there really any issue with Energy Fuels? No, it’s a smoke screen and fodder for left-wing activists.

The Petroglyph

On the 28th of July the Salt Lake Tribune published an article by Zak Podmore titled “San Juan County (SJC) paid nearly $500K to Louisiana law firm to lobby for Bears Ears reductions.” Zak Podmore’s article implied that the commissioners were guilty of some kind of malfeasance as they were fighting the Bears Ears designation in an effort to protect the county’s economic interests. During that time, the county commissioners and the citizens were doing everything they could to fight the powerful left-wing bulling machine in order to protect their way of life, their lands, and their hometowns.

Zak Podmore

So why did Zak Podmore single out this one issue about the Bears Ears National Monument (BENM)? He reported on only select lawsuits like the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) lawsuit over the case of an alleged public meeting violation which they lost. He mentions there are others, but never mentions that the two new Demicrat county commissioners, Maryboy and Grayeyes, through their involvement with Dine Bikeyah, were parties to the lawsuits against the county. He claims that the lawsuits were filed by the Navajo Nation, but fails to mention that the attorney for the Navajo Nation is Steven Boos who also represents Maryboy, Grayeyes, and Dine Bikeyah. He also fails to mention that Boos’s charged the Navajo Nation $3,000,000.00 for his work on the voting districts case. San Juan County attorney’s charged just over $1 million for the same case.

Steve Boos Navajo Nation Attorney

Podmore interviewed the new Interim County Administrator, David Everitt, about the double charges. Everitt “who took over for Kelly Pehrson in May, said the double charge and previous method for approving invoices raise serious procedural concerns.

This statement by David Everitt is like the pot calling the kettle black.

“Serious procedural concerns” appear only to apply to the officials Podmore is singling out, because one of the major serious procedural concerns that San Juan County citizens are having is the tactics used to hire former Moab progressive, David Everitt.

With little input from SJC citizens, other than vociferous opposition to Everitt, Maryboy fabricated an emergency to bring him on board, sidestepping proper county hiring procedures, and the commissioners violated the open meeting laws to do it. Everitt’s fees are another big concern. His pay is $5,763 every 2 weeks for working only 2 days a week in the office in Monticello. His yearly wage is $149,838 which makes Everitt hourly wage to be $180.10 an hour while in the office.

In his seemingly biased reporting, did Podmore overlooked Everitt’s serious procedural issues because they have something in common? It appears they both have a background in Utah’s left-wing Democrat/environmentalist movement. Everitt worked eight years as chief of staff for the liberal Democrat Salt Lake City mayor, Ralph Becker before working in Moab and Monticello Utah.

The timing of Everitt’s resignation from the City of Moab position makes it appear that he was being groomed to take over the SJC administrator’s job for a few months. One might speculate that after the 2018 election, Utah Democrats schemed with Maryboy and Grayeyes to get a progressive Democrat into the critical position in SJC. It would seem to be a stretch except a letter from Steven Boos law firm to Willie Grayeyes dated November 28, 2018 outlines what the new commissioners will need to do to get rid of the current county commissioners. Boos, Grayeyes and Maryboy had conspired to set up Prosecutor Laws so it is very likely they had made plans for Everitt as well.

David Everitt

Podmore’s failure to report these important details or seek interviews with some of the numerous opponents of the BENM, makes it appear that a political agenda is driving his articles. This seems clear since the subjects of his interviews come from only one point of view. For example, one interview was with Daniel Stevens from “Campaign for Accountability.” The Campaign for Accountability (CFA) was “formed by alumni of another left-wing “watchdog” organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)” Daniel originally worked for CREW.

CREW is a “Public interest organization that litigates against corrupt political leaders, Targets almost exclusively Republicans”, and are “Heavily funded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute and by Democracy Alliance.”

Podmore himself is a reporter for the Report for America (RFA) and writes for the left-wing Salt Lake Tribune. RFA is an initiative of the Ground Truth Project.

“In an effort to support more real news and increase public trust in the news media, Google News Lab, in partnership with The GroundTruth Project, is launching Report for America (RFA), a nationwide initiative that will send young journalists into the country’s local newsrooms for a year of training and support.” by Report for America Launches at Google News Lab Summit

The GroundTruth Project receives funding from the MacArther Foundationand the Ford Foundation. Both of these foundations have ties to a host of “save the earth” and environmentalist foundations with ties to George Soros. Moneys were funneled through many of these foundations to lobby for the Bears Ears National Monument, and those same monies have been used to file a lawsuit against President Trump for reducing the monument. This was the same lawsuit San Juan County was defending against until the new Democrat commissioners Maryboy and Grayeyes, snubbed the will of the people by dropping the county’s defense against the lawsuit.

In Podmore’s article it appears that he has put a lot of effort into demonizing the former commissioners, Phil Lyman (R), Bruce Adams (R) who is the minority on the current commissioner, and Rebecca Benally (D), along with other county officials whom he infers are corrupt, unethical, and incompetent. Podmore unfairly targets the former commission’s relationship with Energy Fuels Uranium production company, which in 2018 was the fourth highest taxed company in San Juan County.

San Juan County Corporation Top Tax Payers 2018 Report

Obtain via a GRAMA request by Janet Wilcox


“In the lead-up to Zinke’s visit to San Juan County in May 2017, Davillier worked to arrange meetings between Zinke and then-Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, at the White Mesa Mill, which is owned by Energy Fuels Inc. The company also was engaged in its own campaign to reduce Bears Ears. Weeks after Zinke’s Utah visit, Energy Fuels CEO Mark Chalmers wrote a letter to the secretary requesting the monument boundaries be adjusted and later hired a team of lobbyists led by the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler.” from Podmore’s article

Podmore should know that there’s nothing untoward about a county government working with those industries that pay the bills.

Why does Podmore think it is wrong for Energy Fuels to hire “a team of lobbyists” but it’s okay for groups like the Democratic Party, Dine Bikeyah, SUWA, the Wilderness Society, et al., to do the same thing?

The Ford Foundation, who supports RFA and by extension, Podmore, uses “Common Cause,” which is a lobbying organization. Everyone has lobbying organizations on their payroll, The Wilderness Society spent $770,000 on lobbyists in 2018. So, is there really any issue with Energy Fuels? No, it’s a smoke screen and fodder for left-wing activists.

It appears that the purpose of Podmore’s article is to bully and harangue the former county officials, and possibly to convince readers who live outside San Juan County to believe the new Democrat commissioners are above reproach.

The reality is that the new county commissioners, Maryboy and Grayeyes, are plaintiffs in the lawsuits against the county, and their actions are costing the county a lot of money in fending off attacks by them and their environmentalist cronies

The left-wing media uses bullying tactics to achieve their agenda. They use misdirection to take the public eye off their fake news and misdeeds, then unfairly attack their foes as bigoted, racist, hater, uneducated red-neck conservatives, deplorables, or all of the above. The left and its army of biased reporters have become masters at these tactics.

There is a good example of these leftist tactics in an article titled, “Liberals Respond As Usual, By Bullying”

“The reaction was — as you might expect — explosive. Liberals took to Facebook to call us “neo-Nazis”–but wait! Were Nazis opposed to political indoctrination in the schools? Not exactly–“white supremacists,” the epithet du jour on the left, and so on. On Facebook, liberals told one another that Thinking Minnesota is financed by the Koch brothers, and similar nonsense. And they conspired to steal our magazine from neighbors’ mail boxes, so the neighbors wouldn’t see it. Which, they may not realize, is a federal crime.”

It’s important that we understand these tactics and can recognize them when we see them being used. We need to be aware of who is behind organizations like RFA in order to know which reporters are involved in media bullying. If his recent article is typical of Zak Podmore’s work, then one can assume he is more of a political propagandist than a reporter of fair and balanced facts.

See the original Petroglyph post here

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  1. I have enjoyed the articles by Mr. Podmore, it gives us the truth about the dark side of San Juan County.

    1. Like, his apologetic CYA for the racist rants of one Dine Bikeyah board member? Sure, SJC has a dark side, and left-wing apologists do all they can to minimize it.

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