The sad plight of the ‘Sixers’
Last week Park City was host to 200 state-level Democratic Party officials from all around the country. They were here to debrief the election and try to set a strategy for the next one. It’s a good bit of business for the town at a time of year when there’s nothing much going on.
I’m surprised the Democrats had even heard of Utah, let alone would hold their meeting here in the most Republican state in the union. The meeting doubled the number of Democrats in the state. People were driving up from Provo just to get a look at them, never having seen a Democrat before.
They held their meeting at the Montage, which even in the week before Deer Valley opens is a pretty deluxe setting. They probably got a deal on the rooms. Nobody else would want to stay there this time of year. But Democrats at the Montage? Really? Somehow, I expected these great defenders of the common man to hold their meeting in a gritty hotel with a proper union staff and all-you-can-eat buffet set up in the lobby bar. Even if the whole event was donated, holding it at the Montage seems a little awkward. Still, if somebody wants to spend some big money here during the snow-less first week in December, roll out the welcome mat.
The ongoing soap opera that is Service Area 6 keeps getting interesting. Legally, the county’s General Fund and the various service areas are as separate and distinct as Kamas is from Coalville. They have their own budgets and their own income, and aren’t supposed to be sloshing cash back and forth. Area 6 has run dry, so the roads in Area 6 aren’t going to get plowed very often. As the warm weather fades away and winter begins in earnest, the prospect of being marooned in isolated cul-de-sacs in the nether reaches of Snyderville is looming large.
Residents are beginning to prepare for the long winter of isolation that lies ahead. The "Sixers," as the residents of this benighted region are known, are forming militias, stocking up on canned goods, and keeping armed guard over their snowblowers. The shelves at Whole Foods are already stripped bare of organic post-consumer recycled toilet paper. It’s hard to know how effective their preparations will be. When you come right down to it, your average Sixer is not really equipped for life on the frontier.
Viewing this from the east side of Summit County, which is Service Area 0, the prospects don’t look good. On the east side, nobody expects regular snow-removal service. I live at the end of 10 miles of state highway that isn’t plowed after dark. UDOT actually put up little warning signs that let the residents of Woodland know they are on their own once the sun goes down. We are in the "no-service area," and OK with it. If they plowed the snow regularly, well, nothing good is going to come from that. You never know what kind of people will start moving in if the water mains don’t freeze up now and then. The typical east-sider is more adept at putting on tire chains than tying a necktie. We use grizzly-bear milk in our coffee because it’s easier than going to the store.
But the suburbanized Sixers are soft of hand and dependent on the county to free them from winter’s icy grip. When the wolves are howling on the back deck, right there under the pergola between the water feature and the hot tub, they call animal control instead of going for their rifles. It’s possible that, when pressed to the limit, the Sixers would form volunteer brigades of snowblowers and, in matching Patagonia shells embroidered with the logo of their subdivision, heroically open a supply route out of Silver Springs to the highway with an armada of 24-inch Toros. Or they could just get snowed in and resort to cannibalism.
On the east side, trucks with plow blades on them are as common a household implement as spatulas. How many of the Audis in Pinebrook are equipped with front-end loaders? Many Sixers chose to live in the mountains, but this winter we will learn if they are really mountain people. They have come to expect all the accoutrements of suburban life, and are overwhelmingly willing to pay for snowplowing.
The proposed tax increase that has been successfully bollixed up was around $50 a year. But when the plows run out of money and get parked for the season, the desperate cul-de-sac dwellers will have no place to turn for help. Maybe the black helicopters from the UN will air-drop pallets of canned good in the frozen reaches of the ‘burbs.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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A Trailside resident, and Snyderville Basin Planning Commission member, launched a write-in campaign for the Park City Board of Education hoping to “get the trust of the community back.”