Letters to the Editor, June 16-18, 2010
Education funding in the State of Utah is at a substandard level. Utah is ranked 50th in the nation for education spending, and the difference between 49th and 50th is so great that if there were 65 states, Utah would be number 65.
This needs to change. We need to fund the education of our children. The path to success begins with education, and we need to provide the best education possible if we want to stand behind the Utah rhetoric that our children are our most valuable asset. We have an opportunity to elect Anthony Kaye to represent House District 25 (Summit Park, Timberline, Pinebrook).
Tony is an attorney with two young children in public school. He has strong interest and commitment to funding public education. He wants to explore other avenues for education revenue and wants to put more dollars into education, rather than taking more funds from Park City and redistributing them to other school districts.
Park City currently sends over 100 million dollars in taxes to the state, money that funds over 15 different school districts. With the so called "equalization" threats backed by House representatives who don’t want to raise their constituents’ taxes, Summit County is facing losing more of our local dollars. We need a representative who understands how to draft legal, comprehensive, defensible legislation, someone who can get laws into place that can stand up in court and won’t cost taxpayers money to defend. I believe Anthony Kaye is the representative we need. Please join me on June 22nd and vote Tony Kaye for House District 25.
Walkability vote ‘overwhelming?’ No!
The bond funding the tunnel under Kearns was on the 2007 ballot, a $15 million issue called the walkability bond. In Saturday’s Park Record ("Tunnel digging nears"), Jay Hamburger reports "Parkites overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure that provided the funding." Overwhelming? No!
Here are the numbers in that 2007 election: 1,851 votes were cast in that city election. The difference between the yes votes and the no votes on the $15 million bond was 185 votes — 1018 voted yes, 833 no, a difference of 185. In addition, on the run-up to the election, the city produced, at taxpayer expense, an "infomercial" promoting the bond and those campaigning for a yes vote delivered "vote yes" signs, ads, etc. and general cheerleading to pass this bond. Much of that effort came from Mountain Trails and other groups from SLC and elsewhere in the state. The "no" side was not organized and spent not one nickel to defeat the bond. Still only a 185-vote margin. Not overwhelming.
Sadly, a 185-vote shortfall caused the passage of a $15 million bond that was placed on the ballot by the will of the city council alone, the cost of which is not fully seen on our tax bills yet. Five city council people can and will place such on the ballot by fiat whenever they want to. We are paying for a bond that was absolutely not necessary while the streets and roads of Park City continue to fall into disrepair.
Incidental information: That year Candace Erickson received 1,216 votes to return her to a third term on city council. Joe Kernan received 861 to return and Liza Simpson received 895 for a first-term bid. I know at least two of them campaigned in full support of the $15 million burden.
Jon Hellander is no puppet
I would like to respond to the accusations that Jon Hellander running for House District 53 is a puppet of a number of state legislators. It is absurd to think that a strong willed, principled individual like Jon is submissive to anyone. In fact, he has influenced me to reconsider my position on the statewide property tax equalization proposals that I have vigorously supported during my four years in the legislature.
Through our discussions ranging from budget and tax policy to health care and transportation, Jon expressed his desire not to be a politician and simply say what people want to hear. It became apparent to me that he meant it. So when our conversation turned to public education and statewide equalization, he asked me a very simple but sincere question, "How could any conservative support taking money from one group of people and giving it to another?" His unabashed question caught me off guard. I am one of the top conservatives in the House each year. I vote for less government. And here I had an ordinary man, with no agenda, wondering why a conservative would vote for this type of legislation. Wow! My principles had been challenged and not by vigorous debate, but by a forthright question of inquiry. Because of this experience with Jon, I will no longer be supporting statewide equalization bills. I realize now that statewide equalization is not conservatism. Conservatism is the pursuit of less government, lower taxes, local control, and the elimination of regulations in a season when there is an incessant march towards absolute socialism at the federal and state level.
Jon will not compromise his principles: of parental, individual, property, and gun rights. He is purely himself and is not a clone of another legislator. His honest sincerity influenced me, the vice chair of the Education Committee, to change my position to not supporting statewide property tax equalization.
Rep. Ken Sumsion
House District 56
Volunteers needed to help Maria rehab
I would like to commend The Park Record for your front page article, "Kamas mom is undeterred by crash." It was heartwarming to learn how the community is coming together to help someone in such need, and also inspiring to read about Maria’s positive attitude in the face of such adversity. After reading your article, I visited Maria in Kamas. My visit confirmed, as you wrote, that she is facing a long recovery. I also learned that Maria is desperately in need of physical rehabilitation services. However, since she has no medical insurance, these rehab services have remained out of her reach, despite the fantastic community support she has received to date. So, I would like to make a plea to any health-care professionals (especially physical therapists) willing to volunteer time and expertise to help Maria with her physical rehabilitation. If you can help Maria in this manner, please contact her friend Violet Lopez who is coordinating volunteers. She can be reached at (435) 731-6286. Thank you!
Summit County and Park City’s elected leaders celebrated Earth Day by attending the signing of the Community Renewable Energy Act.