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Guest opinion: Time is running out for Parkites to take the census

The Leadership Park City Class 26 “Census 2020 Awareness” Project Team has been working hard to help our Wasatch Back community become aware of the importance of participating in the census, despite the fact that our country has been in a constant state of crisis for the past several months. The truth is that, because of these crises, participating in the census is more important than ever.

Time is running out! The 2020 census data collection process ends on Sept. 30, so we only have a few days left to get this right!

The census determines the funding that we receive from the federal government over the next 10 years. Data collected from the census determines the distribution of more than $675 billion in funds to be used for education, transportation, infrastructure, fire stations, police precincts, hospitals and other public safety and social programs which are critical to help us recover from the drastic economic downturn we’ve experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each individual counted in the census adds $20,000 per year for the next 10 years of federal funding to our community. If Summit County has a low turnout of 55% that we had in 2010, we will lose over $45 million that we desperately need to recover and grow.

The unrest we are experiencing right now requires that we have the political representation we deserve. The census determines the number of representatives we get in Congress, the number of county and city councilmembers, and even school district members. The census also guides district boundaries for Congress, the Legislature, county commissions, city councils and school boards. In the 2000 Census, Utah missed out on a fourth U.S. congressional seat by just 857 people — showing the importance of counting EVERY individual in Utah. As of Sept. 15, Summit County is at 40.3% and Wasatch County is at 57.1% participation rate. Park City is only at 25.1%.

Many are uncomfortable participating in the census because of privacy and security concerns. It is important to let everyone know that there is no citizenship question and, by law, all information gathered by the census is confidential. Answers can only be used to produce statistics with no personal identifiers. Information gathered by the census cannot be used against individuals by a government agency or law enforcement such as the FBI, CIA or ICE. There are two ethnicity questions which can be ignored.

The census can be taken online at my2020census.gov, by phone by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by returning the questionnaire by mail. Those who use P.O. Boxes did not receive a questionnaire by mail. However, census takers have begun to personally distribute information directly to household doorsteps with important information.

If you own a vacation home, please take the census for that address and indicate “0” people living there. Renters should take the census rather than the landlords. But if you do own a rental property, please encourage your tenants to participate.

If you have not yet taken the census, what are you waiting for? If you have, thank you, and please share this information with your family, friends, coworkers and any organizations in which you are a member. We only have one chance every 10 years to get this right.

Guest opinion: Park City mayor shouldn’t throw stones in Hideout dispute

I have never written a letter to any editor or guest editorial, but after hearing the Park City mayor on KPCW and then reading his guest editorial in The Park Record, I felt moved to respond.

During the past 20 or so years we have owned property in lower Deer Valley, Old Town, Sun Peak, Midway, Black Rock and now Hideout. Also in a previous life I served two terms as vice chair of the housing authority in a mid-sized capitol city where I advised four mayors. None of the above qualifies me as an expert on anything, but it does give at least a little experience and maybe a somewhat educated perspective. I have never met the Park City mayor but my political experience leads me to believe that insulting folks on a regular basis might not be the best approach if one is looking for meaningful dialogue and change. Although being a “bully” seems to be all the rage in the current political environment, I don’t find it particularly effective in our community.

We moved to Hideout because we like the view and love our neighbors and neighborhood. I don’t know the Hideout mayor or any of the city officials, but I assume that even though I don’t fully understand their approach to the annexation issue, they are trying to do the right thing. So without attempting to project an understanding of all of the issues involved, I have a fairly simple opinion. Although the Hideout situation seems to give the Park City mayor something to attack, this small municipality’s growth concerns should be the least of his problems. Whether this annexation happens or not, the fact is that there are going to be a whole bunch of people who are going to live around the Jordanelle Reservoir who have nothing whatsoever to do with Hideout.

The bottom line, at least for me, is that if no infrastructure is built around the Jordanelle, in a very short time, S.R. 248 will become completely impassable and when the Park City mayor speaks of regional planning, it sounds to me like what he is really saying is that he will decide what is appropriate for folks who reside outside of his domain. I think all of us, and especially those who have lived in this area for many years, would have liked to have seen a much slower population growth. That train, however, left the station some time ago, and the “last settler syndrome” contributes little to solving complicated problems. All conflicts eventually get resolved regardless of whether the participants have equal positions of power and influence, which in this situation is obviously not the case. I truly believe that we all want the same quality of life and that we can all work together to solve our common and individual problems. Much of the architecture of our mountain communities contains a lot of glass. Maybe the mayor, and all of us, should be a bit more careful about throwing stones.

Letters, Sept. 23-25: An open letter to Utah’s senators

Open letter to Utah’s senators

Dear Utah senators,

Please stand against Mitch McConnell. Please stand for the three distinct branches of government. Please stand against hypocrisy.

As a native Utahn, my daddy taught me, “Avoid the appearance of evil.” First Thessalonians notes, “Abstain from every form of evil.”

At this point in time, the three of you — yes, the three of you, including former Sen. Orrin Hatch — have the opportunity to demonstrate traditional Utah values and your commitment to your constituents. I include the former senator because I once shared with him that I was never more proud to be represented by him than when he eulogized Teddy Kennedy. Back then, senators built relationships, crossed the aisle, created and passed legislation.

Friday, when we lost Justice Ginsburg, I learned that while Sen. Hatch questioned RBG about her views and previous rulings, he was one of the fiercest advocates for the appointment. Again, I felt proud to be represented by him.

Now, I ask you, Sen. Hatch, to use your considerable influence with your colleagues to persuade them to act appropriately and avoid the appearance of hypocrisy.

I am calling on Sens. Romney and Lee to honor Justice Ginsburg’s wish that she not be replaced until a new president is installed. I am calling on Romney and Lee to stand up to Mitch McConnell, stand for three distinct branches of government and stand against hypocrisy.

Julie Hooker

Francis


Vote for a thoughtful leader

Thomas Cooke. Please remember this name and, if you live in Park City Board of Education District 2 (Park Meadows North, Trailside, Highland Estates, Old Ranch Road, Ranch Place/Willow Creek, and Snyder’s Mill), write in “Thomas Cooke” as your choice to serve on the board.

Why do I support Thomas’s campaign? First, I am concerned that no one filed to run against the three incumbent school board members up for reelection this year. Democracy suffers when no one is willing to run for public office. Local elections determine critical issues that impact our lives. In running a write-in campaign for school board, Thomas has stepped up to the plate.

Second, Thomas has demonstrated an ability to listen and collaborate to solve complicated local issues during his three years on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. In a small town like Park City, every issue brings out passionate supporters and detractors. An important attribute in any elected official is the ability to listen to criticism and use that feedback to inform decisions. Thomas respectfully and thoughtfully works with all members of the public to craft win-win solutions.

Finally, Thomas is a thoughtful community leader who puts the public interests above his own. If Thomas is elected to serve on the Park City school board, I know he will work to increase transparency, collaboration and community-building on behalf of the board.

Please join me in writing in Thomas Cooke’s name when you vote for Park City Board of Education District 2.

Vicky Fitlow

Silver Creek


See through the smoke

Aspen trees throughout the West are dying. Drought and heat are amongst their suspected killers. Since we are living in a tinderbox, I appreciate the property owners who have been taking down old sick trees, in spite of the wood chipper noise.

Listening to a wood chipper the other day, I heard some uncharacteristically high notes. Uh oh! I wondered:

• Did someone once nail a birdhouse to that tree and the nail was hidden in the wood?

• Could metal in the chipper create a spark? (Lots of things can create a spark.)

• If there was a spark, how fast would the kindling piled up next to the wood chipper catch fire on this windy day?

• How fast could the fire department get here in today’s traffic?

• How fast can the firefighters access the nearest hydrant on this old, vegetatively overgrown street, always full of construction vehicles?

• Can the pipes in this neighborhood withstand the pressure needed to get the water through the hoses? Old water pipes here have frequently been breaking with normal usage.

I applaud the people who are getting rid of their dead wood and I thank the city officials who are promoting fire safety as our environment becomes increasingly flammable.

As I write this on Sept. 21, our air quality is unhealthy, winds are gusty and the East Fork Fire in the Uinta Mountains is only 22% contained, though it’s been burning since Aug. 21. Five fires are now burning in Utah according to utahfireinfo.gov/active-wildfires/ and hundreds of fires continue to burn out of control throughout the western U.S., with no relief in sight.

I hope the smoke in our eyes doesn’t prevent us from seeing that fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility, and it should be a top priority for our city leaders.

Beverly Hurwitz

Park City


Support Armer in Wasatch County

The citizens of Wasatch County are facing an election that will determine its future direction for generations to come. As one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States the growth pressures are tremendous and well over 20,000 residential units have already been approved for development (mostly concentrated around the Jordanelle Reservoir). If the economy remains robust we can expect the population to balloon to over 80,000 in the next several decades.

It’s time to put away past animosities and parochial thinking and unflinchingly look at how both Summit and Wasatch counties can plan a future that is at once livable, equitable and more importantly desirable.

This will require us to think, plan and act REGIONALLY. To work out our transportation needs, to connect trails and open spaces, to add new amenities, to build affordable housing and to ensure an infrastructure adequate to support the potential growth. And this needs to be accomplished while understanding each community’s desire to remain unique while determining its own future. No easy task!

Aimee Armer, candidate for the Wasatch County Council, clearly understands these realities. As a member of our community’s leadership program she has built the necessary relationships to reach across jurisdictional lines and has the forward-thinking intellectual mindset to tackle these daunting challenges.

It is vital that our elected and appointed representatives work together, and Aimee has built her campaign around exactly this sentiment. Please support Aimee Armer for Wasatch County Council.

Myles C. Rademan

Park City


Back write-in candidate

If you live in Park City Board of Education District 2, (Ranch Place, Silver Summit, Trailside, Mountain Ranch, Old Ranch Road, Snyders Mill, Park Meadows North, Highland Estates) I urge you to write in Thomas Cooke on your ballot for Park City school board. Though I have his sign in my yard, I don’t live in his district, so I can’t vote for him. What I can do is tell you what a superb Snyderville Basin planning commissioner he has been. He is thorough, intelligent, well-spoken, diligent, detailed and a great team player. He listens carefully to the staff, his fellow commissioners and the public. I have found him to be a very easily approachable public servant and an active listener.

I think our school board could profit immensely from his ability to communicate with the public and the staff to create a strong, transparent, cooperative and effective public body. If you can’t vote for him, please encourage your friends in his district to write his name in their ballot for school board.

Sally Elliott

Prospector

Guest opinion: Better communication from health officials needed

Cooler nights and changing leaves indicate that ski season is fast approaching. Skiing and tourism are the lifeblood of our community; COVID-19 will make this season vastly different. I was concerned with some events allowed to go forward this summer and voiced my concern in the following email sent Aug. 8 to Chris Crowley, Summit County public health emergency preparedness coordinator:

“Hi Mr. Crowley,

“My name is Hannah Hunsaker and I was born and raised in Park City. I have been away at school for the past five years, but I was lucky enough to spend my quarantine time back home. I spent four years in Massachusetts for undergraduate education and began my master of public health last fall at the University of Vermont. While this has been an extremely difficult few months for the world, it has reinforced my desire to pursue public health and has provided major learning opportunities.

“First of all, I would like to commend the entire Summit County Health Department on all of your work during this pandemic. My family and I have appreciated the extra precautions taken by our county and the data is encouraging.

“That being said, I was disappointed to see the number of cars parked at Ecker Hill Middle School today for the Ski Town Shootout lacrosse tournament. I know that the annual soccer and softball tournaments have been cancelled, so I am curious as to why this tournament was allowed to take place. City and county officials have stayed focused on trying to save our ski season, the heart of our town and economy, and this tournament seems contrary to that goal.

“I love this town and have been impressed with how businesses and individuals have been able to adapt to our new normal. The loss of the ski season would be catastrophic for our community; allowing large gatherings like sporting events seems to make that an even more real possibility.

“I felt strongly that I needed to voice my concern. Again, thank you to you and your entire team for all of your efforts.”

I received a prompt reply from Mr. Crowley indicating that he forwarded my email to Summit County Health Director Richard Bullough. As of Aug. 21, I had not heard back from Mr. Bullough, so I sent a follow up email:

“Mr. Bullough,

“I am reaching out to you as a follow up to the note I wrote two weeks ago to Mr. Crowley voicing my concern over the continued county sanction of sports tournaments (see below). I received a prompt response and it was indicated that my note was passed on to you. As I have not received a response from you, I am reaching out again. I know there was another lacrosse tournament last weekend with large crowds, and with school starting, I am even more concerned that this could lead to increased case numbers that will negatively impact my community and family. As I mentioned in my previous email, saving our ski season is of the utmost importance for the economic health of our community and increasing case numbers further jeopardizes the season.

“I would again like to thank you and your entire team for all of your work during these unprecedented times.”

It is now Sept. 13, and I have heard nothing from the Health Department. I know this has been an extremely busy and stressful few months, but our community deserves answers. If the community wants to save our ski season, there needs to be open communication with the health officials we have trusted to lead the COVID-19 response.

Guest opinion: Park City mayor: Just because you can, Hideout, doesn’t mean you should

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

This old adage is perfect for the mess that Hideout has created for all of us who cherish our quality of life along the Wasatch Back. Once a relatively quiet golf hamlet, the Town of Hideout is now courting predatory developers and engaging in backroom deals with the hope of building a sprawling development on Park City’s doorstep.

The developers and the Hideout Town Council argue that their desired new town center — 2 miles outside their actual town — will solve our region’s problems by providing more high-priced housing and what they call a “commercial mecca.” They claim it will deliver a treasure trove of new taxes to Hideout, as well as an equestrian center, trails, fast-food court, indoor surfing and abundant open space filled with a wild herd of unicorns. Their justification: Everyone else is creating growth and traffic, so let’s fix it with more growth and more traffic.

When you’re in a hole, stop digging! But sadly, it appears that the Hideout Town Council, with the exception of Carol Hazelton, will stop at next to nothing:

• Premeditated illusory legislation: Communications depict a concerted effort to slip an amendment past the Utah Legislature to create a special, predatory annexation law. These beyond-the-pale tactics led the Legislature to overwhelmingly repeal the law during their August special session. Sen. Winterton and Rep. Quinn both publicly implored Hideout officials to stand down and honor the legislative repeal — effective Oct. 19. Hideout previously said they “would drop the annexation if the legislation is repealed,” yet they continue to pursue loopholes with the justification that it will only be illegal if they don’t hurry up!

• Deceptive public meetings: Hideout actively sought to minimize public participation and input. Meeting agendas are posted just under the 24-hour deadline and include little detail and/or incorrect maps and information. The Town Council even met the Friday night of Labor Day weekend, and again declined to hear public input. The public hasn’t been allowed to speak for most of this process, but the developers and their lawyers freely participate as if they sit on the Hideout Council.

• Actively undermining previous development agreement: Twenty years ago, Park City residents spent a decade negotiating the development of Empire Canyon and the Montage in exchange for keeping areas like Richardson Flat low-density, open space and recreational. Now, Hideout is facilitating attempts to void Park City’s agreement. In essence, Wells Fargo and the developers are trying to double dip and use the same entitlements twice. If Hideout truly honors our covenants, this area should be removed permanently from Hideout’s Annexation Policy Plan map.

• Regional planning excuses: Hideout claims they’ve been ignored and need to annex for “regional leverage.” Simply untrue, ill-conceived and a weak justification for them to do what they want and ignore the regional impacts.

We must demand more from Hideout. It has misled and disrespected the Utah Legislature, undermined Park City’s agreements and suppressed public participation. These actions are reckless and, according to Summit County’s lawsuit that seeks to prevent the annexation, illegal. Hideout Council members have repeatedly said they want to be part of the Park City community. If this is true: Act like it! In Park City, we value public input and quality process; we respect our neighbors; we protect our open space; and we honor our agreements.

Hideout — just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

Letters, Sept. 19-22: This is suicide awareness month. Let’s save lives.

Save lives in September

September is Suicide Prevention Month and it’s important that we are there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s theme for the month is to #KeepGoing, by taking simple actions to safeguard our mental health and save lives. From learning the warning signs for suicide and what to do if you are worried someone is struggling, to bringing education programs to your community, we can all learn new ways to help each other save lives.

One action I’m taking is to urge my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health. When someone is in acute crisis, it’s hard for them to think clearly, and even reaching out for help can be a struggle. For this reason, it is vital that Congress pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R.4194/S.2661) to make a three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a reality. This legislation will provide the funding and resources needed by crisis centers across the country that support those struggling with their mental health and thoughts of suicide.

I lost my father to suicide when I was 14 years old. He was only 33. Then, I lost my best friend to suicide at age 20, just five short years ago. I was almost lost to suicide (but luckily AFSP and resources were easily available to me). We must make suicide prevention resources more available to save lives. We must make it more accessible to everyone. We must have more awareness out there. We must do more. And you can help! Please, I’m begging you, to take action and help as much as you can!

In this time of uncertainty, we all need to find new ways to connect and support each other.

Together, we #KeepGoing.

Rebecca Palmer

Eagle Mountain


Support Cooke for school board

I am writing in support of Thomas Cooke, a write-in candidate for District 2 for Park City school board.

I have known Thomas since 2009; over these many years, Thomas has shared meaningful, compelling ideas, opinions and initiatives on parenting, coaching, education and community development. We have worked together on youth sports teams, the Community Sport Coalition, soccer and ski clubs, and education and marketing strategies.

He focuses on the greatest needs of a group rather than the needs of any individual, genuinely seeing the “forest through the trees,” whether in the classroom, on the field, in the bottom line or though civic engagement. Based on his exceptional character, competency, compassion and communication, Thomas has earned my highest regard and support for his run for election to the District 2 seat of the Park City school board. Thomas’s priorities and objectives center around the safety and support of the most important stakeholders in our education system — students and teachers. Thomas is a keen and thoughtful listener, respecting, considering and integrating opinions different from and even counter to his own. He would keep this vital dynamic to progress at the heart of his leadership and decision-making, a refreshing change from the current leadership.

Thomas’s honest, practical and caring approach is an asset. He has expressed and shown great concern for the teachers, students and families in the school district and across our community, and his willingness to listen to people’s needs and to seek safe, responsible, transparent and proactive solutions in these unprecedented and epochal times of COVID-19 is commendable and noteworthy — and what our learning community desperately needs over these impending years of significant and profound unknowns.

I will be writing in Thomas Cooke for the Park City school board!

Julie Glusker

Snyderville Basin


Cooke will build alliances

I would like to commend and enthusiastically support Thomas Cooke for choosing to run a write-in campaign for the Park City Board of Education in District 2. Thomas is a well-known entity in our community. He is a longtime Trailside resident, a parent and a concerned, involved citizen. Thomas currently serves on the Planning Commission for the Snyderville Basin. As a community we know he is a thoughtful, respectful, insightful commissioner. He works to build alliances and understand all sides of issues under his consideration.

Thomas will employ the attributes he has and has learned with the Planning Commission to bring together all the stakeholders. Thomas will work to find solutions all sides can support. As is often said, these are unprecedented times. As such, we need exceptional leaders. Thomas Cook is the exceptional leader we need in these exceptional times.

Thomas will bring an empathetic ear and a flexible approach to the very challenging myriad issues the school district is facing — from our facilities needs to the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic. He understands the need to have understanding and compromise in our processes, while maintaining clear channels.

If you live in District 2 — Highland Estates East or West, Park Meadows North, Ranch Place or Snyder’s Mill, write-in Thomas Cooke for the Board of Education in District 2.

Julia Paas

Trailside


The arts are vital

As we head into the last weekend of the Twilight Drive-in at the Utah Olympic Park, I wanted to take a moment to express my immense gratitude to our partners, sponsors and community members who have made the Twilight Drive-in such a tremendous success. By the time we wrap up on Sunday night, we will have hosted a total of 33 film screenings, 2,300 cars and approximately 7,000 happy film lovers! It has been a great honor and pleasure to work with the incredible teams at Dragonfli Media and Utah Olympic Park — and we owe a huge thanks to series sponsors: Buddy Drops, Switchback Sports, Made in Park City, Bill White Restaurant Group and Julie Hopkins, Keller Williams Real Estate.

A huge debt of gratitude is owed as well to our community members, as we would not have been in a position to pull off the Twilight Drive-in without the support that we have received over the past 26 years from our members, donors, film underwriters and grantors — the largest of which is the Summit County RAP Tax. RAP Tax grant funds in particular have given us the support we needed to expand our programming and partnerships over time and put us in a position to not only withstand our extended closure this spring, but creatively reimagine how we engage our community in the cinematic arts this summer. If you love film and appreciate what the Twilight Drive-in has brought to our community, please vote YES on Proposition 21 in November. RAP tax funds are vital to the well-being and success of our arts nonprofits in Summit County and your vote to re-authorize this small tax can make a huge difference over the next 10 years.

Katharine Wang

Park City Film executive director

Letters, Sept. 16-18: Empty mansions are replacing wildlife

Empty mansions replace wildlife

I am so disheartened. The golden goose hasn’t existed in decades. Can we please go back 30 years?

This town consists of 70% second, third, fourth home owners. Their 10,000-square-foot houses sit empty most of the year. Yet they have made a huge impact on Park City’s environment — leaving less and less room for our wildlife.

The moose, like every other form of wildlife were here long before humans. They are trying to survive basically in a city and they are paying the price. Just for being here. They were BORN here. They did not CHOOSE to move here. And yet they pay the price. They are being relocated (which usually kills them), hit by speeding cars, shot illegally, etc.

Watching moose in my yard was the last thing that reminded me of the old Park City.

My kids grew up here. Moose used to be everywhere and we loved them. And we used common sense. They were in our yard all the time. We gave them the respect they deserve.

Why are people hiking in the mountains during rutting season? I’m sorry, yes a mother in any species is protective of her young. It used to be the police would “escort” the moose back into the mountains. Now, they are just relocated — a death sentence.

So, gone is the mountain lion, the fox, the beavers, the grouse and so many others. We have made Park City into the city left behind. No wildlife, only empty mansions.

Ann Kruse

Park City


A helping hand

I would like to thank everyone who participated in Drive-in and Give a Helping Hand, the donation drive that was hosted during Park City Film’s drive-in movies at the Utah Olympic Park. We collected over 100 pounds of food, 11 gift cards and over $700 in direct donations from movie-goers. The Christian Center will use these donations to help with their mission to fight hunger and ease poverty. It was amazing to see the success of the collaborative effort for this project from Park City Ski and Snowboard, Utah Olympic Park, Christian Center of Park City, Park City Film, and the Girl Scouts of Utah.

Lauren Macuga

Jeremy Ranch


Mask up on trails

As the summer weather dwindles down and the crisp mornings and leaves begin to indicate fall has arrived, I can’t help but wonder if the next COVID hotspot isn’t hiding in the schools but instead is lurking on the hiking/biking trails, in our own backyard. Yes, schools have an insurmountable number of hurdles as they navigate our new reality but we are ignoring the patches of dirt that surround our community.

We aren’t requiring hikers/bikers to wear a mask, but we should. Very few hikers/ bikers are being careful about social distancing and wearing a mask.

To make matters worse on the trail most hiker/bikers are breathing heavier than one typically does when you engage in a non-aerobic activity, causing more potential droplets to spew out into the air. Meanwhile, hikers/bikers are walking closer than ever to each other in order to stay on the trail.

To keep everyone safe and the trails open, I plead with everyone from the young, the old, the fitness fanatics, to the out-of-shape: Please wear a mask. Please move off the trail to let others pass, don’t blow your mucus out of your nose onto the trail, especially during a pandemic.

If we all want to stay healthy and enjoy a winter full of skiing and snowboarding, then I beg and plead for each one of you to wear a mask and move off the trail as others pass. If you are not a competent enough biker/hiker to pull up a mask while riding or hiking while around others, please stay off the trails. There will be a time in the future for you to perfect your sport.

Tiffany Marshall

Park City


Who represents our nation?

We’re almost exactly 50 days out from the election; do you know who you’re voting for?

I was a registered Republican for 10-plus years. I was president of my college Republicans club. I interned with former Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. I campaigned and voted for Romney for president in 2012. But, over the last four years, both my political beliefs and the Republican Party changed in significant ways. I moved left. The Republican Party moved (further) right. I campaigned and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. This year, I officially changed my party registration to “unaffiliated,” and am voting for Joe Biden. Why? Because at this point, I’ve stopped looking at whether there is an R or D in parentheses after the candidates’ names and focused more on who they are as people. There are three things I look for in a presidential candidate:

1) Is this person empathetic and compassionate? A president’s ability to not only listen, but to truly understand and care about voters’ lives and issues helps him or her successfully determine what action to take when faced with a decision that will affect Americans’ daily lives.

2) Will this person surround him/herself with thoughtful advisors? The selection of logical, pragmatic, caring advisors is vital in that the actions senior advisors recommend will significantly influence the policies that the Executive Branch enacts.

3) Most importantly, will this person act in the best interest of the U.S. and its citizens? This should be the easiest bar to pass, and yet, given recent events, it’s important to reiterate just how essential this attribute is. If there is ever any uncertainty with this one, we need to vote that president out of office. They don’t deserve to be there and we don’t deserve to have someone like that in the highest leadership position of our country.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris both meet all of the criteria listed above. To the roughly 10% of undecided voters out there, I ask that you forget party politics and ask yourself: “Who best represents the best aspects of our nation?”

Rachel Jacobs

Jeremy Ranch


Leadership change needed

My son is a white police officer in an industrial Chicago suburb that abuts the heavily traveled O’Hare International Airport corridor. He has lived and worked in his ethnic, working-class hometown for more than 30 years.

A highly decorated officer, my “street cop” son has been consistently recognized for his abilities to go far above requirements, literally pulling residents out of burning buildings alongside firefighters, partnering with the FBI on drug arrests, participating in hostage negotiations, and chasing three murder suspects on foot, cornering and holding them alone until unit backup arrived. Add all this to routine traffic stops, domestic disputes and drunken party-goers. This is his precarious life day after day, getting the job done and allowing the citizens in his community to sleep safely at night. His only mission has been to get the bad guys according to the laws on the books.

How many of us could eat, sleep and breathe this kind of job each and every day for 30 years? How many of us would want to? My son is not a racist and raised his sons in a large ethnic area. They all socialized, played sports and went to school together.

After the recent riots in Chicago and suburbs, he must now endure “in your face” taunts and challenges from the very people he has protected, being dared to go ahead and shoot them on the spot accompanied by the most demeaning language and slurs. He endures daily an unearned payback for a broken system and the unfortunate racism in our country.

My son had hoped to retire in five years, but has decided to leave law enforcement this year for good. Add his loss to a local community to the losses of too many ethnic lives in communities around this country.

There is only one answer to all these tragic losses. We need a total change in leadership in the United States of America.

Jeane Kruse Baron

Midway


Support write-in candidate

I am writing to support Thomas Cooke as a write-in candidate in the upcoming election for the Park City Board of Education representing District 2.

I know Thomas from our time together on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. Time and again he has demonstrated his commitment to our community through this work by carefully researching the issues that have come before us, listening to feedback from community members and spending countless hours to ensure that decisions are made that will positively impact Snyderville Basin residents and the community at large. As a planning commissioner and a parent of a daughter who attended Trailside Elementary, Ecker Hill Middle School and Treasure Mountain Junior High, he is also attuned to the challenges faced by teachers and parents in the School District.

Thomas is a thoughtful leader, longtime community member and engaged parent, and I think he would be a valuable asset to the school board. As Thomas is running as a write-in candidate, if you live within the District 2 boundaries, you will need to write in Thomas Cooke in the space provided on your ballot. I think it will be well worth your time and effort to do so.

Canice Harte

Pinebrook


A special mountain town

My son graduated with the PCHS Class of 2020, thanks to the support and guidance of PCSD’s teachers, counselors, and staff. He’s now taking a gap year and I’ve moved to lower altitude.

When we moved to Park City in 2013, my son was introduced to Summit County’s recreational opportunities through the National Ability Center. Diagnosed on the autism spectrum as a young child, he was eligible for NAC’s adaptive programs and day camp. By the time he entered high school, he could ski black diamonds, fearlessly waterski and paddleboard, and expertly navigate a high ropes course. I won’t tell you how many times I watched in tears as he headed out with an NAC support crew or instructor on a new adventure. Almost all of which were made possible by NAC’s generous scholarship program.

After mastering the use of a mountain bike, NAC’s rec director tapped my son to be part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s ELEVATE program. This adaptive component of NICA allowed him to race with the Park City High School Mountain Bike Team for four years. The support of the PCHS MTB Team coaches, volunteers and fellow riders — and the whole NICA community — changed his life. Again, tears of gratitude for the big hearts and generous, kind individuals who made him feel welcome and included.

During high school, like many teens, he experienced mental health challenges. The prescribed therapy required six months of intensive outpatient treatment for four hours, five days a week. With the clinic almost 50 miles from Park City, I had to reduce my work hours to accommodate my son’s schedule. Thankfully, the Christian Center of Park City helped me — now a divorced mom with reduced income — keep food on the table and an affordable roof over our heads.

Much-needed emotional support was also available during that time. In addition to CCPC’s dedicated social worker and counselor, Connect Summit County was a godsend. The organization’s group meetings and events were invaluable as we learned to deal with our new normal. And Connect Summit County’s partnership with NAMI Utah and CCPC to launch a teen mental health class made my son’s transition back to regular life much less stressful.

No matter where our lives take us in the future, I will always remember Park City as the special mountain town that helped raise my son.

#StigmaFree #KindnessCounts

Valery Pine Behr

Salt Lake City

Guest opinion: Wasatch County Council candidate says regional collaboration is key

I am running for Wasatch County Council this November because with so many high-density developments approved, I want to ensure local government is taking every measure to grow smartly and responsibly, with forethought and prudence. What happens in Wasatch County affects Summit County and what happens in Summit County affects Wasatch County as we have seen with the recent Hideout bid for Richardson Flat. Regional collaboration has never been more important. “Problems don’t see borders,” I once heard someone say.

An estimated 20,000 units are coming in around the Jordanelle Reservoir, which will impact traffic, pollution, education, housing affordability, economic growth and open space. With so many people already living and working in either Summit or Wasatch and commuting daily to the other, those numbers will continue to rise, if not soar, once new developments are completed. I understand thinking and acting regionally is notoriously difficult, but my goal, if elected to Wasatch County Council, is to unify leaders in both counties to work collaboratively around economic growth, infrastructure and the issues that matter most to citizens. Collaboration, seeking to understand the other and inclusion are key.

I am a business development professional who has spent the last 18 years of my life in public service, working in the nonprofit sector, on boards and community coalitions, and advocating for the health and welfare of community members. I went back to school and received my master’s in public administration from the University of Utah. All of this experience has given me a skillset that makes me uniquely qualified for Wasatch County Council: 1. Listening to people 2. Being responsive and driving policy 3. Acting and collaborating.

If you are a Wasatch County resident, please consider voting for me. If you are a Summit or Wasatch County resident, please reach out to your local officials and be vocal about the importance of a regional alliance initiative. It is essential for representatives to have buy-in from community members. If you are a government official in either county, please know regional collaboration will become critical as growth skyrockets. The stakes are high and improving both the efficiency and effectiveness of local economic development are possible when counties work together. I was pleased to see Summit and Wasatch counties, Heber, Midway and Park City, as well as Utah County, working collaboratively on regional transportation. I am hopeful this is the start of something wonderful. My name is Aimee Armer and I am a candidate for Wasatch County Council and an advocate for regional collaboration. For more information please visit www.armerforwcc.vote.

Letters, Sept. 12-15: Park City continues to consume itself

Lamenting the changes

While complaining is a temporary relief to the soul, it is not a solution. I have been living here for 22 some-odd years and watching Park City destroy itself, consume itself. It is not pretty. Building is rampant and escalating, traffic is such that leaving home to go to a restaurant sometimes involves at least 20 minutes if you need to make a left turn into a state road or off it, and brings forth the question “Why bother?” Many years ago I wrote to this paper “build a home on 20 acres, not 20 homes per acre.” This town is choking as its arteries are plagued by too many users and soon it will be a long parking lot. I am not equipped enough to know how to stop this trend but I am certain there is no going back. Every occupied new condo brings a trash container, a recycle bin, a car or two and other toys.

There should be a moratorium on building due to lack of water, and let’s make this a bit clearer: Charging more for water does not produce water, just more revenues. You cannot drink revenues, try as you may. Despite COVID we are witnessing: tie ups, road signs ignored, speed signs unseen, road rage on the rise — and winter is not even here yet. Texting while driving seems to be up, as is lack of attention to the road and fellow users. Taking such a mountain jewel that we have, the gorgeous mountain setting, the beautiful four seasons, abundance of wildlife, wild flowers and more, and corralling it with fumes of impatience and pollutants. It is enough to sicken the heart. So there you have the lament, my lament.

Jack Karmel

Jeremy Ranch


Americans deserve better

As has been corroborated by multiple news outlets, the president of the United States and commander-in-chief called those who served and died for this country “losers” and “suckers.”

As an Army veteran and West Point graduate, I am appalled and disgusted by Mr. Trump’s latest remarks about our military and I am not surprised. We have heard these remarks before. There is no basement for his comments, just an abyss.

This is the Trump brand — disparage and denigrate. He has denigrated our allies, insulted and attacked Sen. John McCain’s service and sacrifice as a Naval officer and prisoner of war, laughed at and dismissed Gold Star families like the Khans, and discredited Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a veteran and double amputee. All of this from a man who did not serve when he had his own opportunity.

There are no more feeble excuses to ignore his remarks. They are not one-off comments. They are part of a pattern of belittlement, disparagement and denigration.

Mr. Trump repeatedly and regularly shows this country who he really is and is not. The proof is in plain sight. There is nothing in his character that demonstrates he is fit to lead — morally, ethically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

Mr. Trump’s disrespect for the women and men who have served, areserving and will serve is a threat to our national security. It is an honor to serve in the military and it is a choice many of us make. We do it because we love our country.

Please register to vote and exercise that right to vote early with mail-in voting. Cast your vote to relieve this man from the presidency and his role as commander-in-chief. Our military, veterans and war dead deserve better. As American citizens, so do we.

Donna Matturro McAleer

Park City


Keep it up

I recently put a Biden sign in my front yard. It disappeared. I put up two. Today I lost another. I would like the person who is stealing them to know that for every sign that is stolen, I am donating to the Lincoln Project. Keep it up, dude, and Biden will surely win.

Beano Solomon

Park Meadows


Armer has initiative

I am writing this letter as my unreserved support for the candidacy of Aimee Armer for Wasatch County Council. She possesses the qualities of a good leader and is dedicated to preserving the beauty of Heber Valley through smart growth, open space and economic balance.

Aimee grew up on the West Coast and moved to Utah to raise her children; she graduated from the University of Southern California and received her master’s from the University of Utah. She is raising her two beautiful children in Midway.

I have known Aimee for several years, since we both work for People’s Health Clinic and have been directly involved in not only human rights and women’s issues but also in many other nonprofits in Summit and Wasatch counties. As a woman, Aimee believes in the importance of family values, and she has been very much involved in helping others in the community. I believe as a councilperson, she would represent the valley with great honor and ensure people’s interests would be properly protected.

Aimee Armer has the initiative and dedication to make a significant difference to the progress of the county. I confidently believe she would perform well as your representative.

Beth Armstrong

Park City


Re-up the RAP tax

As executive director of the Alf Engen Ski Museum and recipient of RAP Tax grants, I would like to encourage Summit County residents to vote to reauthorize the RAP (Recreation, Arts and Parks) Sales Tax on Nov. 3.

Twenty years ago, Summit County residents voted to levy a local, non-food, sales-and-use tax of one penny per every $10 spent in Summit County. Over half of this tax (approx. 53% in 2019) is paid by visitors, and all of it is used directly for the benefit of Summit County residents.

The Alf Engen Ski Museum, located at Utah Olympic Park, has been able to provide two free museums to Summit County residents and visitors, in part due to the support from this grant. We were also able to utilize funds to support interactive exhibits such as the Hometown Heroes Exhibit, which features local athletes who grew up here in Summit County, trained throughout our community and participated in the Olympic Winter Games. Currently this exhibit highlights Ted Ligety, Sarah Hendrickson, Brita Sigourney and Keith Gabel. The museum and its exhibits draw local and out-of-state visitors to our museum who then support other Summit County businesses.

Thank you for joining me in voting “yes” on Proposition 21! This is not a new tax, but rather a renewal of an important source of funding for county-wide recreation, arts and culture programs.

Connie Nelson

Alf Engen Ski Museum


Live the mountain life

Like Adam Strachan expressed in his Sept. 5 letter to the editor, I would like to extend a welcome to the many newcomers to Park City. I do have one additional tip: Please don’t honk! We are all doing the best we can driving around in what all of a sudden feels like a congested town. You’ll notice that some green lights turn yellow quickly, but take a breath — it’s OK if you don’t make it. Parkites generally run seven minutes late anyway.

Enjoy the mountain life. It’s the best.

Sara Hutchinson

Trailside

Guest opinion: A Trump loss may allow Republican Party to repair itself

The dictionary defines the word “seduction” as attracting someone to a belief or to a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy! President Trump has successfully attracted many to follow his beliefs in his tenure as president.

Trump’s seemingly total rejection of the existence of the COVID-19 has led many of his followers into a falsehood of reality. At this point, over 187,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus. In addition, his enablers in Congress have followed his statements and beliefs almost in a cult-like fashion. Instead of exercising their oath to uphold the “rule of law” as described in the Constitution, they blindly and obediently have supported his “rule by man,” authoritarian style of leadership. In essence, they have accepted Trumpism in exchange for Republican ideology.

In Trump’s almost four years as president, many political analysts have concluded that his uncontrollable lying rhetoric about facts, along with is need to keep this nation in a constant state of chaos, is becoming increasingly disturbing to many American citizens. That strategy worked for his presidential campaign in 2016 but is not as exciting to the informed public in 2020. I could go on listing various inconsistencies in his rhetoric verses his behavior, but I choose to express a more optimistic, hopeful tone by sharing with you my conversation with a lifelong friend who happens to be a lifelong Republican party supporter.

Was I ever shocked when he stated that he is voting for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 November presidential election? I immediately asked him why. He replied simply that the present Republicans in Congress do not reflect the values of the Republican Party as under Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. He further stated that the present House and Senate Republicans have abdicated their oath to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law in exchange for admiration from President Trump. In essence, they have sold their souls to become cult followers of Trump!

Again, I asked why. He sincerely believes that the Republican Party needs time to heal and be reborn in solid conservative ideology. A thorough cleansing of the old guard for the enthusiasm of new Republican faces. So, let Joe Biden solve Trump’s America!

Let Joe Biden solve the coronavirus pandemic problem. Let Joe Biden solve the racial injustice that exists in this country. Let Joe Biden solve the nation’s economic and unemployment problems because of the virus pandemic. Let Joe Biden repair the leadership damage caused with other countries because of dropping out of the Paris Agreement. Let Joe Biden restore the leadership reputation lost with our allies because of Trump’s association with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Let Joe Biden bring unity to a politically divided country. Just to mention a few of the problems created in our last four years under the leadership of Donald J. Trump!

My friend goes on to say that, while the Democrats are trying to solve those problems, it will give the Republican Party an opportunity to repair and restore the reputation of the Grand Old Party. In 2024 the GOP will have a new look and a legitimate opportunity to retake the White House. I sincerely hope he is right!