Letters to the Editor
July 25, 2009
(This letter is a response to a letter, "Put faith in technology, not Pelosi," by Randy Jones, which appeared in The Park Record on July 11.)
Dear Randys of the Great American Political Landscape:
Americans had a long, interactive, educated, heated debate and election which subsequently produced the highest voter turnout in our great American tradition of democracy. President Obama was elected and did not land on a fence post unannounced and unknown like a turtle. I have never personally even seen a turtle on a fence post.
Today our new president is very much "out of his shell" and not stuck, going with your interesting turtle analogy. Out of his shell on multiple fronts, addressing issues that are not easy to tackle — the global and national economic crisis, health care, international relations, global terrorism, and climate change to name a few. He is filling appointments, some from the middle, appointing a handful of Republicans such as our governor who seems to be able to put the nation first, unlike some insular people who hide in their shells. Our president has upset the right and the left by trying to build consensus. In addition, President Obama in six months has left his cozy habitat and soared more like a bird, visiting multiple continents and has met with multiple world leaders. He has a long neck and can look in many directions with fluid motion — actually more like an owl than a turtle.
Let’s have a debate about the fact that for too long elected officials have put our long-term goals and national interests on hold for short-term financial and political gains — i.e., our economy, our heath care, our education, our addiction to oil and our environment. We need to chart a new course and this is an investment that will take a very long, long time. Kind of like the story of the tortoise and the hare – the tortoise being the bigger cousin of the turtle who lives as long as a century. I believe the tortoise won by methodically moving forward. We can do that too — together but there are no easy fixes such as drilling.
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P.S. As an aside and a civic lesson, Nancy Pelosi (like her or not) has represented California’s Eighth District in the House of Representatives since 1987 when she was elected. In the fall of 2002 she was elected as Democratic leader of the House of Representatives; Nancy Pelosi is the first woman in American history (and a mother, as you point out) to lead a major party in the U.S. Congress. I don’t care for her much, either, because she is polarizing, but these are the facts, Randy. Democracy in motion.
Malone forgets who pays the bills
I was surprised, but not shocked, to see Bill Malone’s letter a couple weeks ago opposing state regulation of the nightly-rental business. He thus performs the remarkable feat of keeping his snout in the public trough and his nose a few inches from the backsides of the most parasitic faction of the lodging industry. The Chamber/Bureau is funded by your tax money — both transient-room tax and restaurant tax — but has no accountability to any government agency, the same condition he favors for nightly-rental operators. This has got to change.
Lodging operators who rent owners’ property to tourists are playing with other people’s money. The owners buy the units, pay property tax, and cover most maintenance and common-area costs. They expect a return on their investments, and should have the law on their side. For Malone to suggest that market forces will correct any problems in the industry is either naive or deceptive. The industry uses long-term contracts, makes side deals with HOAs, and generally operates in an environment where comparison shopping by unit owners is difficult, if not impossible. And, as for the argument that reading the contract is protection enough, as put forth by George Martin, the fact is that some of the operators are notorious for violating the contracts — reporting less than all of the rentals, making rooms available to their friends (including the Chamber) for free, and fudging expense reports.
If the Chamber Bureau’s spokesman won’t stand up for the rights of tax-paying property owners, it should simply no longer receive tax money for its operations. Let the transient-room tax be used to make the victimized unit owners whole and let the lodging community support the Chamber.
For USSA, there’s no place like home
On behalf of the athletes of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding, thanks to everyone from the community who visited our open house during the dedication of our new national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, here in Park City. We were excited to host around 500 community fans at our athletes’ new home.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has roots here going back 35 years when the U.S. Ski Team opened its first training center in Park City. This is our home. And we were proud to share our athletes’ new home with you!
Our athletes are now Vancouver bound. As they go all out to prepare for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, it’s reassuring to know that we have such great fans and supporters here in our own hometown.
Thanks for your support!
President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
What’s the story on nonprofit funding?
A while back, The Park Record covered the story of delays and possible cutbacks in county funding of nonprofits. At that time, the County Council indicated that it wanted to first put in place some procedures and controls before releasing funds.
Since then, we have heard nothing in the press. I have now learned from a councilperson that the council has delegated the decision on nonprofit funding to the interim county manager. I am trying to find out from him what is happening but so far no luck.
Perhaps it is time for the paper to resurrect this issue so we can all learn what is happening and why.
Contract: only as good as law behind it
There is no denial from me about the importance of reading a contract prior to signing. My contract with DHRL clearly states that I am to receive 60% of rental revenues and DHRL receives 40% for operating expenses. I have had that contract since 1995. When the automatically renewing contract was signed in 1995, the nightly rental revenues were protected. I have been paid that revenue without fail until this season, and DHRL has collected its 40% without fail — until this season, when it took 100%.
And I do not deny the fact that I — and all the other owners — should have investigated Utah’s laws concerning nightly rentals. However, with 90% of the states requiring escrowed rental monies, and with the majority of owners living in these states, it came as a surprise to most that Utah did not protect owners of nightly rentals, but rather, protected the nightly rental management companies. Since escrowed rental monies were, in fact, the law back in 1995 when my contract was first signed, it was a major surprise that the property management lobby reversed this situation 10 years ago. And living out of state at the time, I was never informed of the change in the law or that there were legal maneuverings to change that law.
Mr. Martin is correct — not only should owners scrutinize their contracts, but it behooves owners to check with the laws of the states where they’re doing business. I will not make that mistake of omission again. My concern is that the state of Utah should initiate legislation to restore escrowed accounts for nightly rentals. Tourism is big business in Utah and it had better not bite the hand that feeds it its rental units!