Letters to the Editor, July 16-19, 2011
July 16, 2011
On Monday night Leadership Park City gave out its first civility card to Julie Hooker, a teacher who has made anti-bullying her personal mission. Since our project, Park Civility, first launched, I have been thinking about what makes it relevant for me. I keep returning to the idea of personal responsibility and one of our tools of civility: Take Responsibility (for more tools, visit parkcivility.com ).
Some have suggested the proper activation of this project is to identify and reprimand those who don’t act civilly. It seems reasonable why not focus on those who are the problem? That idea never sat well with me. As a group, we used a quote from Mahatma Gandhi to guide the mission of our project: "Be the change you want to see in the world." I love the way this brings responsibility back to each of us. It’s easy to point fingers and accuse others of wrongdoing, but it’s much more difficult to take responsibility and make small changes on our own that can make a larger impact on our community.
When I was a little girl and went walking or hiking with my dad, he always picked up trash along the trail or curb. I thought this was insane (and dirty!); why would he clean up a mess that he had not made? Now I understand the pride that he had in our community. I hope I can pass along these same values to my son even though he may think it’s a little nuts to pick up trash.
I can’t help but think about that old proverb: If everyone sweeps in front of his own front door, all the world would be clean. I challenge everyone to think about the small ways that they can impact their families, neighborhood and community. Acting on these ideas will bring about the change that we hope to see in Park City to become an even kinder and, yes, more civil place.
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Leadership Park City XVII
Keep corporate cash out of campaigns
It scares me to think that America the beautiful is slowly slipping away. "The Ugly American" has taken on a new meaning. It is not the American tourist who is obnoxious when interacting with citizens abroad. It is our own elected politicians and professional lobbyists right here at home.
Is there a hidden agenda behind the present Congressional stalemate with regard to approving a national budget? Is it really just the differences in philosophies between the two political parties, or are there some other reasons?
For years our Congressional leaders have relied heavily on money from professional lobbyists to support their election and reelection efforts. This form of raising money for campaign funds has crippled their abilities to properly protect the welfare of citizens over and above special-interest groups. Men like Jack Abramoff, a professional lobbyist during the Clinton and Bush administrations, were allowed to financially prosper at the expense of law abiding citizens. Eventually, Abramoff’s greed caught up with him and he was convicted of conspiracy fraud, in connection with the Indian gambling casinos and sentenced to 6 years in a federal prison.
If the need for campaign money was not an issue, the request for favors from professional lobbyists in exchange for campaign money would not be the modus operandi for most politicians. I am sure legislators would be freer to handle the affairs of state in a manner that would benefit their constituents rather than those of big business. Hence, the passing of a national budget would probably be resolved by now!
A solution to this legislative quagmire seems quite simple. If we would eliminate the opportunity of corporations to contribute campaign funds to prospective candidates, we would dramatically reduce the obligation of legislators to enact laws that benefit those contributors.
On the other hand, if each taxpayer was willing to designate a nominal amount of money, let us say $25, on their yearly federal income tax form, to be used specifically for the purpose of providing campaign money on an equitable basis to each candidate seeking a legislative office, the playing field would be fair for all parties. Only money from the people could be used for campaign funds. Corporate money would no longer be a prime factor in determining the outcome of any election and money would no longer be the underlying reason for granting favors to the professional lobbyists in this world. Maybe then, legislators would be better able to perform the tasks for which they were elected: govern!
Wake up, America!
Recognizing simple acts of civility
Now that I’ve been introduced to Leadership Park City’s Civility Project, I’m more aware than ever of the simple acts of civility that make my life better every single day.
For example, often, people see me almost half a block away from the crosswalk on Bittner Road. Rather than continuing, they stop, wait, wave and smile when I pass.
Yesterday, walking with a dog on the trail behind Newpark, I encountered three construction workers using nail guns and hammers. The dog was skittish. Sensing her uncertainty and fear, the contractors stopped, smiled, apologized and waited for us to pass.
Last week, my neighbor cleaned up the dog poop in our common area. It wasn’t from her dogs — it was the icky leftovers from people who don’t pick up after their dogs.
There are so many simple acts of civility that I’ve taken for granted. Thank you Leadership Park City for reminding our town to recognize simple civility.
Teacher and dog walker
Big hotel uses resort as open space
City Hall has allowed big developers to use Deer Valley Resort land as open space for big developments without the people knowing about it. The North Silver Lake Lodge is a 332,000-square-foot hotel approved last year at the top of Main Street. The city has granted a 1-year extension of the hotel permit. This is not Treasure Hill but another Deer Valley hotel. This hotel will be visible by looking straight up Main Street, Park City. The extension of the permit allows another development to use Deer Valley Resort ski runs and terrain as open space, unbeknownst to the people. This practice increases the traffic in Park City for everyone. Appeal hearing: Thursday, July 21, at 5:00 at the Marsac Building.