Letters to the Editor, March 21-23, 2012
March 21, 2012
After spending a great deal of time on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City this winter, I would like to share some observations about Summit County’s current legislators and redistricted legislators:
Summit County has and will have some of Utah’s most ardent supporters of public education in the state if reelected to represent us. I’m not talking kowtowing to special interests, I’m talking about people who care about properly funding our children’s education, supporting parent involvement, and making sure the public education system is held accountable for the careful spending of over 50% of the state’s income tax on our most precious resource.
Sen. VanTassell, Sen. Christensen, Rep. Brown, Rep. Briscoe, Rep. King, and Rep. Powell have all been champions of local taxpayers and students. They have been bold in their advocacy for our local communities, even those who haven’t had the chance to vote for them. They attended a Summit County Town Hall during the session and spent time talking with us when they could have been home with their families or preparing for the next day’s work.
This group of legislators listens to their constituents, not to extremist or profit-driven out-of-state or out-of-county groups. I didn’t always agree with their votes but I knew they were being responsive to someone in their district who is a voter, not a lobbyist.
The adjectives courageous, intelligent, honest, loyal, attentive, responsive, and aware could all be applied to behavior I witnessed from these men this past legislative session. They served Summit County well and I am personally grateful for their work on behalf of Summit County citizens.
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I heard someone comment that Capitol Hill is not a "Shenanigan-Free Zone." It is good to know our legislators have the integrity it takes to not submit to the many competing pressures and to keep focused on their constituents’ interests. They did a good job maintaining education funding, not increasing taxes, not allowing PCSD to become a target, not caving to special interests, working for long-term benefit, and in listening to us. I hope you’ll take time to tell them, "Well done."
Park City School District Board of Education
A consumer who’s voting with his wallet
Having worked in corporate America for over 30 years, I understand well the impact legal activities can have on strategic and tactical thinking. I also understand well the impact consumers can have on corporate thinking if a sufficient number of consumers vote with their wallets. To the corporate executives and lawyers at Talisker Corporation, I urge you to tread cautiously in your land / lease dispute with PCMR. I am a Canyons season-pass holder. I love the mountain. But as a Park City resident, I love our town even more. If Talisker thinks it is appropriate to put our town in jeopardy for their own gain in this legal dispute, they should think again as it just might backfire. In my case particularly, I would give up my season pass and never ski at Canyons or any other Talisker property again. And I would never frequent any Talisker-owned business as well. There is no threat here, just a consumer voting with his wallet. I suspect that there are many others in Park City and in Utah who feel and would act similarly. Please Talisker, think this one through carefully.
Keep laughing and send the lawyers packing
First off, I love the Follies and the Egyptian Theatre, both great institutions in this town! The Follies marks the end of the ski season, lets us blow off a little steam and laugh at ourselves. It also raises money for the Egyptian Theatre without a special $150 rubber chicken dinner.
I believe that, other than Tom Clyde, I am uniquely qualified to comment on the Follies, as I have acted in every Follies and in the first few seasons helped write skits and jokes. I have seen all the inner workings of the Follies and think it is a fun event for this town.
The Follies really belongs to the town, and the people and institutions that are made fun of every year. The contributions to the Follies have come from hundreds of people who are mostly nameless but should be thanked. From day one the Egyptian has been the underwriter of this event. In the beginning and for many years following, the Follies were not profitable but tons of fun. The Egyptian had to open the doors, pay the staff, and hope they broke even or made money. As the show has gained momentum and a reputation for the hilarious spoof of this town, the sold-out shows have followed. So now that the Follies are profitable and has a huge following, there is a fight for the name. It seems unfair for the Egyptian, which has stuck by the Follies all these years, to have the name and concept taken away for other nonprofit organizations.
It is funny how that works: Nobody cares about the idea, product, whatever until it makes money, then everyone wants a piece of it. It is the same every time. It’s a conundrum wrapped in an enigma surrounded by a puzzle. But what is the right thing to do?
The Egyptian is a cool theater that we all love, visitors and locals alike. It is part of what makes Park City different and special, as is the Follies. Let’s keep laughing at ourselves and send the lawyers packing.
Egyptian, the ‘Follies’ trademark is yours
It is time to put an end to this ridiculous conflict. The Egyptian’s maniacal obsession with owning the phrase "The Park City Follies" has divided friends, neighbors, and our community. We wish we could make sense of their aggression. However, they have refused to communicate with us except through lawyers, which we feel is a tragic waste of donors’ money. The magic of the show that has drawn our town together across all lines does not lie in the name. The magic is in who we are as a community, and dealing with disagreements through bullying and anger is just not who we are.
To that end: Dear Egyptian, we hereby gift you the trademark of "The Park City Follies." For our part, we have no desire to participate in the legal action you have brought forth. We are moving on to projects far more worth our time, energy, and donors’ generosity. We wish you peace and success in all your future endeavors.
Our mission has always been, and continues to be, bringing our community together for an evening of comedy that also benefits many local non-profits. We believe in the power of laughter and that supporting all worthwhile causes with an open heart is the best use of our time and talents.
With that, we’d like to invite all Parkites to an evening of fun, laughter, and friendship next fall. Our new show, benefiting any and all local nonprofits (including, but not limited to, the Egyptian) will be called "An Evening Of Giving a #%*$."
Peace and Laughter,
A board who really does give a #%*$,
Annette Velarde, Dwayne Vance, Julie Hooker and Ricardo Velarde
A separate license for off-leash dogs?
As a dog owner, I am appalled by the incidents of aggressive dogs off leash attacking runners and otherwise wreaking havoc in our community. It is never OK for a dog to be out of control. That said, I also understand that, in order to have a healthy, well-behaved dog, it is important that they have off-leash experiences with other dogs, in conjunction with obedience training, and plenty of exercise. Unfortunately, not all dogs can get their exercise and socialization needs met while on hand-held leashes, nor can this always be accomplished at the dog park. (As a regular dog-park user, I can enumerate plenty of shortcomings with our current dog park and dog parks in general, but that’s another letter.)
My suggestion is that we create a separate licensing/permit process for dog owners who desire to have their well-behaved dogs "off leash," with the caveat that they also have their dogs under some other form of control (such as electronic shock collars) at all times. We could treat this "off leash" license as we do driver’s licenses and permits to operate a vehicle: In order to obtain a driver’s license, one has to demonstrate knowledge of the "rules of the road" and demonstrate competency in operating a vehicle. And in order to operate a vehicle on Utah roads, one has to prove that the vehicle is safe and roadworthy. Why can’t we require a similar process for dog owners and dogs?
In order to obtain a special "off leash" permit, a dog owner would have to pass a test on proper dog handling and behavior, and would have to show proof that the dog received and passed obedience training and is up to date on all required shots. Furthermore, it should be a requirement that the dog have its temperament and behavior assessed. A dog would have to demonstrate that it is well-behaved and under control in various situations (such as when a runner passes by) and that it is responsive to other forms of control (i.e., an electronic shock collar) in addition to voice commands when not on a hand-held leash. We could have stiff penalties for those who have their dogs off leash without this special permit. That way, law enforcement and animal control won’t be wasting their limited resources and time on responsible dog owners and well-behaved off-leash dogs.
I know other communities (such as Marquette, Michigan) have separate permits for those who want to have their well-behaved dogs off leash, so this approach would not be unprecedented. I say we give it a try.