I read with interest the letter from Mr. Hayes regarding his views on the Latino community in Park City. First of all, I commend Mr. Hayes for saying "out loud" what he and his assorted friends have said in private for years. You see, I am a very white-looking, Ivy League college-educated, Main Street business owner who is a "Mexican" by heritage and by upbringing. I have spent much of my adult life in the United States listening to my Anglo friends express the same list of fears and phobias that Mr. Hayes expressed. I have watched these otherwise thoughtful individuals sink to various levels of thinly veiled racism behind the mantle of illegal "Beaners" who are characterized as a bunch of drug trafficking, lazy no goods that live off the white taxpayers’ generosity. Well, Mr. Hayes, I am a "Beaner," I am decidedly not politically correct, and it is time to set you straight. The vast majority of the Latino community, as well as other new immigrants to our country, work two and sometimes three jobs. That gym you work out in is probably cleaned by them. The supermarket where you buy food would be empty if not for these people working 18 hours a day in the fields and factories that supply it. If you make a living in a business that is even remotely connected to the tourism industry of Park City, you best be very careful what you wish for as this town’s restaurants, hotels and resort companies would be unable to operate without these people in the work force. As for paying their way, most of the "illegals" you speak of pay taxes& and lots of them. They also pay lots of Social Security taxes. Most of these taxes are paid under false names with no hope of ever seeing the benefits from those contributions. But what about the kids? Did you mean those kids that are learning what your kids are learning but doing it in a second language? Or do you mean those kids that are working after school to earn extra money so the family can send cash back to their relatives still in Mexico (or Honduras)? By the way – do you or your kids speak a second language? Do your kids work after school? As for the issue of "illegals" I would suggest you check your history books. Most all of us who now call ourselves "American" are related in the past to some undocumented immigrant who washed up on the shores of this country – either to escape a tyranny or plague in their native country or to create a new life "in the land of the free and the home of the brave." Mr. Hayes, you called for people to "openly admit what the problem is." I agree. The problem is not immigrant children in our classrooms. It is people using those innocent children as scapegoats for their own insecurities and prejudices. Sound bytes and character assassinations of these children and their heritage have no place in this discussion. This is serious stuff that demands serious dialogue. In a world that grows smaller each day your gift as a parent to your children must be more than just "reading, writing and arithmetic." It must include teaching your children the tolerance, respect and curiosity needed to live, learn and prosper in a world of many languages, many cultures and many viewpoints. It is not an easy journey but one I would suggest you should begin.
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Hotel occupancy in the Park City area during Sundance is projected to drop dramatically from a typical year as organizers shift the event online.