Letters to the Editor, June 6-8, 2012
(This is a response to a guest editorial by John White, "To care or not to care," which appeared in the May 30-June 1 edition of The Park Record)
Thank you for reminding the residents of Park City to seek facts when evaluating legislation and public policy. This certainly will be an important task as we wade through arguments that are made in the upcoming election season.
Imagine my surprise, however, that you consider a partisan site such as whitehouse.gov to be presenting the "facts" about the PPACA (otherwise known as ObamaCare). I take issue with two of the three "facts" that you reiterated pretty much verbatim from http://www.whitehouse.gov.
If it is indeed a "fact" that the PPACA is constitutional, why is the highest court in the land still considering the issue? For a nonpartisan discussion of the constitutional issues in question, I recommend http://www.SCOTUSblog.com. Like many U.S. citizens, I do not feel qualified to ascertain the constitutionality of the individual mandate and am patiently awaiting the SCOTUS decision.
Regarding the costs of the PPACA, the most recent report (March 2012) from the nonpartisan CBO states that, in fact, the PPACA "will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012-2021 period." You can read the summary and the full report at http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43080 . It is indeed very surprising that whitehouse.gov has not updated its website with these new figures. In addition, those with inquiring minds can subscribe to the CBO’s reports to stay on top of ongoing developments!
Thanks again for pointing out that we need to ferret out the facts. I hope that all Park City residents will find their own nonpartisan and respected sources, such as The Brookings Institution, The Federalist Society, and the Pew Research or Kaiser foundations. These organizations typically provide both sides of the argument on policy issues.
Channel your passion into change
The removal of the trees on the new Soaring Wings Montessori campus on Highway 224 was nothing short of shocking. I think it’s fair to say that our community is outraged. And while it is my personal understanding that no code was violated in taking down these trees it is certainly a moral matter.
The callous destruction of seemingly viable trees can be seen as symbolic of the growth of the Snyderville Basin in general: new construction can happen at a quick clip and often leaves the community feeling as if its thoughts, concerns and ideas are being ignored in favor of growth.
While nothing will bring those beautiful cottonwood trees back, and so many of us are dismayed at how a school can pride itself on "cosmic education and peace" and then act in such a manner that causes so much strife, I urge those of you who are steaming at the actions of Soaring Wings to please channel your passion into change.
Park City and the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission are currently hammering out updated general plans. Please email us your concerns; the topics that matter to you as individuals and as a community. Take the time to address the Planning Commission during public comment. Make use of the system to insure that your voice is being heard. Those of us on the commissions are also members of this community and we, too, have a vested interest in protecting the natural beauty of Greater Park City.
Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner
Soaring Wings teaches respect for the Earth
Several of our neighbors near our new school site on Old Ranch Road have expressed concern for the large willow trees on the property that have been cut down. We want to assure the community that we’ve been talking about how best to preserve them since we first stepped onto the property, but a state-certified master gardener diagnosed them as suffering from verticillium wilt. The current residents on the property confirm that those large branches threaten to come crashing down in every windstorm.
The Bloom family planted those magnificent willows in the mid-1960s and the trees sheltered their home and their family for decades. When the last nest of starlings fledged recently, the process of taking them down began. Our plan is to plant new endemic species of willows and cottonwoods as soon as possible.
Our school was founded on the concept of "Earth Day Every Day." Our students began celebrating Earth Day in 1988 by planting trees and wildflowers all over town. Some of the mature trees you see around Park City Library building, City Park, Treasure Mountain Nature Preserve, the North 40 and City Hall were planted by our students. The most recent student tree planting was a few weeks ago at the new water treatment plant.
Our students were recycling before there was a recycling center in town. Since 1994 students have been using the proceeds of their school fair to support groups including Swaner Nature Preserve, Nature Conservancy and Recycle Utah. Over the past year alone they have donated over $6,000 that they earned at the fair to groups that they have chosen as charitable groups that support children and the environment both locally and globally.
The wonderful thing about our community is that it is still a small enough town that a few concerned citizens can make a difference. We’ve found over the past 25 years that our students take this to heart. They begin by learning respect for all things, living and non-living, when they enter the school as infants and toddlers. the time they graduate they have a strong community consciousness and respect for the Earth. We delight to see our graduates going off into the world determined to make a difference in working for organizations like the Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity or their own entrepreneurial efforts. Many are back in Park City making a difference in their own home town. They are the young adults who want to make a contribution to their planet.
Thank you, Park City, for your support over the past 25 years. We look forward to the next 25. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 435-640-4858.
Executive director, Soaring Wings Montessori School
Garrison would bring discipline to board
I have known Nancy Garrison for the past eight years, going back to when our children participated in the Beijing student exchange program facilitated through PCHS. I have worked with Nancy professionally for years and can attest to her unwavering discipline in exercise, pursuing a master’s degree in education later in life, in raising her children and in negotiating life’s challenges.
Nancy has such an ability to set priorities, to buckle down when things need to get done, to stay focused on the goal and to stick with it ’til the goal is achieved. Discipline is a huge part of my business, and I recognize that the Board of Education needs fiscal discipline during these financially challenging times. I know Nancy will be one of the board’s greatest assets as she will advocate for the economic discipline that is needed for a thriving PCSD. Vote for Nancy in the June 26 primary election (District #2) or by early voting which begins June 12.
Your silence speaks volumes, Senator Lee
This is a letter to the esteemed junior senator of Utah, the Honorable Mike Lee.
Dear Senator Lee:
There is no doubt that I am not alone in being absolutely shocked at the apparent ease with which you are walking away from a $400,000 mortgage obligation. And in the time since your actions have come to the public eye, that you have made no comment about the action leaves us even more shocked.
I purchased my home in Park City in March 2007, at the very peak of the market. And I suspect that if I sold it today I, too, would be looking at a significant loss. Each and every day I must make decisions on my actions based on my overall financial position. Each of us does. And yours was easy. Just cozy up to JP Morgan and poof, your $400,000 issue is gone. No conflict of interest there. Wait. I think you are a member of the Senate Joint Economic Committee. I wonder if JP Morgan might be interested in the policies of that august body. Too bad the rest of your constituents, facing foreclosure and eviction, can’t just cozy up.
If memory serves, you spoke in your campaign of getting Washington out of "the perpetual cycle of hole-digging." I guess this is just you doing that for yourself. You dug the hole and just like that get your friends from JP to eliminate the hole for you. If any of your constituents had the notion that you would be different, that you would not succumb to the temptation to curry favor, to be self aggrandizing and to be focused on doing right in Washington, I guess they were fooled. And it sure did not take you very long.
Congratulations on the astonishingly rapid pace with which you have permanently tarnished your reputation. And as for your silence, it speaks volumes. You have no defense of your actions as there can be no defense. But the embarrassment you have heaped upon yourself won’t go away just because you ignore it. I hate to say it sir, but shame on you.
A balance of passion, insight and integrity
As school winds down, teachers and students are undoubtedly excited about the coming summer break. The school board, however, has some difficult work ahead dealing with budget troubles, employee morale, and uncertainty about where our schools are headed. I don’t know what decisions the current board will make but I do know that I would gladly have Ron Huggins there helping guide us through the turbulence.
As a candidate for the Park City School Board (District 2), Ron knows what is at stake and has the right balance of passion, insight and integrity to be an effective leader for our schools. It’s about making sound financial decisions that align with the goals of our community. It’s about restoring the trust and enthusiasm of all district employees, especially teachers. It’s about rolling up sleeves and working hard to preserve and advance our track record of educational excellence. Those of you who know Ron know he is all of this and more. I urge you to support his candidacy for the school board and vote for him in the June 26 primary.
A thoughtful, strategic and effective leader
I am honored to support Tania Knauer for the Park City Board of Education. Local school boards are integral public education agencies, and Tania will be a thoughtful, strategic, and impactful leader representing Park City citizens’ education decisions.
If elected to represent District 3, Tania will utilize her experience on the PCSD Teacher Assessment Committee, the PCEF Assessment Committee, and the Executive Board of Utahns for Public Schools. She will advocate for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, employ fiscally responsible practices, and examine PCSD’s budget and program efficacy; Tania will also ensure that professional development practices clearly and measurably support student achievement.
Tania has shown she can successfully act as a legislative liaison between Park City and the state to support the district’s interests at local, state, and federal levels. Tania’s will be a data-driven assessment and decision-making process.
Tania will always consider a wide array of views to inform deliberations, evaluate and implement policies consistent with PCSD’s mission, operate openly, honestly and equitably to allocate district funds, and responsibly monitor PCSD’s fiscal health. Tania will navigate the operational and political PCSD landscape with a "no nonsense" approach.
Her MBA in finance from Santa Clara University and BS in finance from San Jose State University, both in California, and diverse professional background in project management, process improvement, IT business development, client management, and analysis and strategic planning will help Tania contribute to the Park City Board of Education. Her fundamental belief in sound educational practices and business acumen will ensure our public education services here in Park City are delivered with care and quality.
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.