Guest editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial

Put the divisiveness behind and let’s be a model community in 2017

Bill Rock, Senior Vice President and COO
Park City Mountain Resort

I want to start the New Year with thanks to my operations team who worked tirelessly over the holidays to offer an unparalleled guest experience. Thank you, also, to the Park City community, from local businesses to local nonprofits, who take care of our guests and each other during this particularly busy time of year.

My hope is to see our community put the divisiveness into the past and realize that we are all part of making this place special. Our national politics may have degenerated to insults and name calling but there is no reason that should be who we are. It is disappointing to see a group that says it represents the "Future" of Park City talk about me and my colleagues with words like "sociopathic agenda," "duplicitous," and "knowingly reporting lies and half-truths." There are so many unfounded accusations in the accompanying editorial I wondered whether it even made sense to respond, but more than ever, it's important to correct misinformation with facts.

Regarding the words "Park City," our resort is using these words in our marketing, sometimes alone and sometimes with other phrases. We think it's very consistent with how most guests refer to the resort. We inherited from Powdr Corp. the federal trademark application to use "Park City" for ski resorts and we scaled back what the application covered. After community feedback, we withdrew that trademark application and agreed to work with the City on clearing up any confusion with local signage. All of that work has been completed or has been presented in the City process. We never threatened Park City Lodging's right or ability to continue using its longstanding name. And, we never claimed any exclusive right to use the hashtag, #OneParkCity. Anyone can use it and many do.

Even the slightest bit of research would quickly show that our CEO, Rob Katz, is a major political contributor exclusively to political candidates who support taking action on climate change. Our Company does have an employee Political Action Committee and it does give to both Republicans and Democrats (it's clearly not "swept under the rug" since all its activities are publicly reported.) Given that our PAC represents more than 20,000 employees, it would be inappropriate for the PAC board to direct those funds to only one political party.

Finally, our Company has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to protecting the environment and doing our part on climate change, including reducing our energy use and carbon footprint.

The economic impacts resulting from a successful Park City Mountain benefit the entire community. Another inflammatory falsehood is that we don't contribute to Park City Municipal and Summit County. Since 2014, in a combination of mountain admissions taxes; Canyons Village assessments; retail, food and beverage, and lodging and property taxes; we have contributed more than $33 million to state, municipal and county governments that are being used to address local and statewide needs. This is in addition to millions in charitable contributions, hundreds of volunteer hours each year and an offer to put significant dollars into affordable housing, where we are currently in discussions with our community partners.

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With regards to the "berm" at Canyons, we cannot weigh in on that because it was built by an independent developer. And we regret the 45-minute power outage and other situations where we have not lived up to our own expectations, let alone those of the community. In these instances, we take responsibility for our actions and strive to be as responsive as we can in addressing them.

We are a business in this community, like many others, albeit a big business and we expect our share of feedback. The good news is that this community doesn't hold back expressing its opinion to us. But, as we head into 2017, there is no reason not to treat each other with respect and to start with an assumption of best intent.

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