"Yep, that's our mayor," we would say with a hint of pride while pointing out the Hawaiian-shirted guitar player and vocalist in the popular Motherlode Canyon Band.
Park City's three-term Mayor Dana Williams is stepping down after more than a decade as one of the most hands-on, visible local politicians in the town's history. Whether it was on stage at a free outdoor concert, chairing a public hearing at City Hall, or in Washington, D.C., lobbying for a variety of local interests, Williams has been an active participant. And, best of all, he encouraged us to become citizen activists as well.
Like many of his constituents, Williams was a child of the 60s, an idealistic baby boomer who kicked off his political involvement by challenging City Hall and big developers.
He organized Citizens Allied for Responsible Growth, the group which was successful in helping to rein in some of the density proposed as part of the Flagstaff project above Old Town. The effort endeared him to a host of new and longtime Parkites who were concerned about the town's superheated growth in the run-up to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Ever since, Williams has been consistent in championing the causes of his generation. He has been an outspoken advocate for environmental initiatives, for preserving open space and enhancing the region's impressive trail system. He has also pushed for cultural diversity and affordable housing and has encouraged the city to support local nonprofits.
And as he demonstrated, even at his last official City Council meeting this week, he hasn't lost his passion for taking on potentially controversial causes. A few years ago, at the height of the National Rifle Association's swaggering attempt to throw the 2010 midterm elections, Williams raised eyebrows by enlisting in the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. This week he called on the Park City Council to legalize same sex marriages.
Yep, that's our mayor.
Park City has been fortunate to have a mayor who could represent the iconoclastic side of the community with enough intelligence and tolerance to maintain the respect of the state's more conservative factions.
So to Mayor Dana we say thank you, and in the words of Bob Dylan, "May you always be courageous, Stand upright and be strong, May you stay forever young."