I knew Bert Smith for decades. Although I disagreed with him politically, I always loved the store he founded and I always admired his dedication to his beliefs.

Not a visit to his store went by where he wouldn’t come down, greet me as a friend, press a copy of the U.S. Constitution into my hand, and tell me how much he admired that document.

Bert, of course, felt government needed to be severely limited. He told me often that, based on his reading of the Constitution, most government should just butt out. He felt strongly that, left alone, the American people would do what was best for their land, their community and their nation.

So it is with great dismay I see Ogden City has to step up to pay the lion’s share of the costs of cleaning up a toxic mess in the former Swift slaughterhouse, and later Smith & Edwards warehouse, in West Ogden.

The flip side of preaching freedom from government and self-sufficiency is the responsibility to practice what you preach and not leave the job for others.

I don’t know if Bert knew what was in that building, but it seems to me that if his family wants to honor his memory and anti-government beliefs it will do the right thing and offer to pay for the cleanup of the site, no matter what its contract with the city says.

I cannot imagine Bert would want to leave a mess for his friends and neighbors, even if they just happen to be the government and taxpayers of Ogden.

Charles Trentelman


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