Letters to the Editor, September 30, 2009
September 30, 2009
Whatever happened to intellectual honesty? It seems that too many people in positions of power or positions of voice choose to abuse that position by putting forth intellectually dishonest discourse and trying to pass it off as truth.
Last weekend (Sept. 19-20) there were two such examples in the front section of The Salt Lake Tribune.
The first was a repeat of the absurd assertion by Iranian President Majmoud Amadinejad that the Holocaust never happened. That assertion is hardly worth dignifying with a reply, yet the fact is there are many who will believe Mr. Amadinejad because they want to. And he has the bully pulpit to get away with this dishonesty.
The second was the assertion as fact by Mr. Bruce Hafen of the LDS First Quorum that there is no genetic link to being gay. While so far the specific genetic link has not been established, we must remember that the human genome is only now being decoded and there is lots of work to go. There is a significant body of research to suggest the contrary. And the American Psychiatric Association has stated its belief that in many cases genetics likely a significant factor.
I have close relatives who are gay. I am 100% sure they would not simply choose the lifestyle. It is too hard. Life is really complicated. Many believe it is no more a lifestyle choice than green eyes or brown ones.
Recommended Stories For You
But here we have the church putting forth its proclamation as if it is a scientific fact.
Just like the Iranian president, the proclamation does not make it so. Just because one wants to believe a position, and wants others to believe it as well, does not change fact that the statements are intellectually dishonest.
The good news is that most of us recognize this kind of discourse for what it is. The bad news is that many don’t. Many choose to blindly believe those they perceive to be above reproach. And so when I see this kind of intellectual dishonesty, I have to call it out. And it is my hope that the readers will not allow intellectual dishonesty to sway their opinions or incite discrimination or hatred.
A Park City skyline of tall buildings?
Discussions on the proposed development of Treasure Hill have now moved on to mass and scale. However, it is clear that significant traffic and safety issues remain unresolved, making the development completely unfeasible on that basis alone.
The applicant has failed to present any workable solution to mitigate the significant increase in traffic and safety issues (pedestrians, cars, trucks, emergency vehicle access, etc.) that would result from this project. Traffic and safety currently present significant challenges in the Old Town area. These issues would be dramatically compounded by the proposed Treasure development and would create a potentially lethal situation. Concerns have been voiced repeatedly by many Park City residents and planning commissioners for months with no resolution.
Many year-round residents and families who make Old Town their home would be forced to move. Visiting downtown Park City would become practically dangerous as residents and tourists try to navigate the already narrow and congested Old Town roads to reach the shops and restaurants on Main Street. The massive scale of this project would dwarf Old Town and absolutely ruin the integrity of historic Park City. The 1986 Treasure Hill MPD is clearly incompatible with the Park City of 2009 and beyond.
The applicant is trying to justify more than a million square feet of development right in the heart of Old Town Park City (vs. the approximately 400,000 square feet that was approved back in 1986).
If built, Treasure would dramatically impact the skyline of Park City. Yes, Park City would have a skyline if this development is approved with several proposed buildings over 10 stories high. Below is a list of the buildings that have been proposed along with the number of stories and corresponding square footage:
Building 1A 3 stories (12,230 sq. ft.)
Building 1B 6 stories (60,816 sq. ft.)
Building 1C 3 stories (31,900 sq. ft.)
Building 2 4 stories (12,831 sq. ft.)
Building 3A 3 stories (8,154 sq. ft.)
Building 3B 8 stories (45,083 sq. ft.)
Building 3C 3 stories (13,421 sq. ft.)
Building 4A 6 stories (98,964 sq. ft.)
Building 4B 13 stories (252,491 sq. ft.)
Building 5A 11 stories (60,272 sq. ft.)
Building 5B 4 stories (14,941 sq. ft.)
Building 5C 12 stories (81,124 sq. ft.)
Building 5D 7 stories (45,312 sq. ft.)
Do they really need over a million square feet of development? Is this what was agreed to back in 1986? Is this really the place for the largest convention center in Summit County? Do they really need over 200,000 square feet of parking space (more than a super Wal-Mart)? Do they really need all this commercial space and common area? Do they really need to blast the mountainside, clearing half the hillside of all trees and existing vegetation? Do 10-plus story buildings really belong in a neighborhood with a 3-story height restriction?
I agree with the Park City Planning Department that the current design of the project is both excessive and inefficient. The current design clearly exceeds many of the limits set forth in the MPD.
Surprisingly, many Park City residents still remain unaware of just how big and just how much this one development would change Park City forever. The City and the developer need to better educate the residents of Park City so we all understand the potential impact.
The applicant should be required to create better renderings, streetscapes (to scale that show the entire project in relation to the existing neighborhood homes), and an actual physical 3-D model that truly shows the proposed development in relation to the rest of Main Street and Old Town. These and others need to be made more available and more accessible to the general public.
I’d like to encourage all Park City residents to find out more about this potential massive development by visiting the developer’s website at http://www.treasureparkcity.com or THINC’s website at thincpc.wordpress.com. You can sign up on THINC’s site to receive updates and important meeting notices via email.
The next Planning Commission meeting when Treasure Hill will be addressed is scheduled for October 28. Please plan to attend to learn more and voice your concerns.
Brian Van Hecke
Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition
Menial pay for those who shape society
When a society pays professional athletes more than ten times the average salary of its educators, police officers, firemen and other necessary civil employees, it is a very obvious indication of that society’s failure. I thoroughly agree with Joan Mills that education is everyone’s issue and we, as the public, should absorb a very large tax hike to pay good educators what they earn every single day. I am a fairly young spring chicken without children and without a so-called "care in the world." Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. The way we educate today determines the fate of this society tomorrow, and I am incredibly anxious that we have a failing education system accompanying the economic situation. Our success as a community begins and ends with the value and trust we give our teachers; what are we telling them now? It is laughable that we claim to want and need great educators, but pay them a menial amount while they shape and mend society. Most teachers are not just teachers but part-time parents and counselors; they are not just educators, but mentors and healers. Not just administrators, but humble heroes banishing ignorance and hate. When will we open our eyes and simply realize that valuing those who have the ability to shape the future through knowledge is the greatest investment we could ever make?