Don’t underestimate the power of a small group of people

by Bob Aagard
by Bob Aagard

In 1993, Salt Lake County released plans to realign Holladay Boulevard where it intersected with 4500 South.  The county’s plans including tearing down several large pine trees that were likely planted by the first settlers of the Holladay area.  Students at nearby Olympus Jr High circulated a petition to save the trees.  However, the powers that be didn’t really care what a bunch of young people thought about the trees.

olympus pines signDid the students give up?  No, they did not.  They spent the next several Saturdays going door to door through the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection to get a new petition signed — this time by adult residents of the area.  When this petition was delivered to the country, plans were changed.  The original plans called for the road to go through the trees, the new plan routed Holladay Boulevard to the east of the trees (versus the old intersection to the west), and spared the trees from the chainsaws.  Not only that, they worked with the Olympus Jr High students to create Olympus Pine Park, which stands as a nice pocket of green space for the people of Holladay.  And as a testament to the power of a small group of people.

speaking at grama rallyIn 2011, the Utah Legislature passed HB 477, which limited the public’s access to some government records.  In a matter of days, outrage increased on social media.  On Sunday, less than 72 hours after the bill’s passing, I decided that I would throw a rally opposing the bill and asking for Governor Herbert to veto the bill.  I had never planned a rally, and didn’t even know anyone who had.  I threw an invite up on Facebook Sunday night for a Tuesday rally.  On my way to the Capitol Building the next day to find out what permits I needed, I received two phone calls.  One was an offer of a sound system to use, and the other from a reporter at KSL. I made a brief stop at the Triad Center for an interview before heading up to the capitol.  Reservations for the rally in hand, I headed home and watched myself on the evening news.  Tuesday morning, I headed to the capitol to get ready.  Sitting in the cafeteria that morning, I fully expected to hold a “rally” of a dozen people in a nearly empty rotunda.  What happened still amazes me 5 years later.  Several hundred people showed up at noon on a Tuesday to tell the legislature that open government is necessary for a free government.  That night, Governor Herbert ignored our pleas and signed the bill.

Much like the Olympus Jr High students, we didn’t give up.  A small group of citizens from across the political spectrum created the SaveGRAMA PIC to start a petition to get the repeal of HB477 on the ballot.  After several weeks of signature gathering, Governor Herbert called the legislature into a special session, and they repealed HB477.

We Bernie Sanders Supporters are a small but growing group of people.  Even if we do not get Bernie as our nominee (and he will be elected in November if he is our nominee), we must not give up the fight.  And that fight begins at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where delegates will have the opportunity to help shape the future of the Democratic Party.  I would be honored to have your support in my campaign for national delegate as we take back America from the special interests.  Please visit my web site at http://www.bobaagard.com and “like” my page on Facebook.

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