Amy Roberts: A treasure no Moore
December 20, 2017
Last Tuesday all but about 650,000 Americans simultaneously heaved a sigh of relief. Alabama Senate candidate and accused pedophile Roy Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in the state's special election. In the days leading up to the election, it looked like Moore would win. His supporters were steadfast and Alabama hadn't elected a Democrat to the Senate in roughly two decades. Even the forecast was on Moore's side — it was supposed to dip into the teens. Thankfully common decency prevailed, though barely. The votes were close enough that as of my Monday morning deadline, Moore still hadn't conceded.
The night of the election I was tuned into CNN, halfheartedly listening to the political pundits who were dissecting both campaigns to such a ridiculous degree, I was half expecting them to have scalpels and a dead frog on the news desk.
At one point in the segment, Anderson Cooper offered congratulations to Doug Jones and asked his guests, "What did he do right?"
Which was the exact moment I realized why I am not a political pundit.
After years of public outcry, failed negotiations and threats of lawsuits, this news is a bit like Kim Jong Un suddenly agreeing to surrender his nuclear ambitions, but only if we give him his own NBA team in exchange.
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The answer should have been fairly obvious — Jones wasn't the guy accused of sexually assaulting and abusing teenage girls while in his 30s. Jones also wasn't the guy who said homosexuality and bestiality were the same thing, or the one who stated the last time America was great was when we had slavery. His opponent, Roy Moore, was that guy.
In the weeks prior to the election, President Trump went all in for Moore — endorsing him on Twitter, holding a rally in Pensacola, Florida, steps away from the Alabama border, and voicing a robo-call to Alabama voters. But as the results were announced, the president seemed like an indifferent step-parent at a pee-wee soccer match. He tweeted: "Congratulations to Doug Jones… The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot… it never ends!"
He went from everything-on-the-line-all-in to an apathetic, "you win some, you lose some" shrug of the shoulders.
The same day the country consecutively exhaled, most of Park City did too. We celebrated the unexpected news that the Treasure Hill project might not be developed at the proposed size of just slightly smaller than the state of Alabama. A tentative agreement between City Hall and the Sweeney family promised to reduce the scope of the project by 50 percent. Essentially, for $30 million, the Sweeneys are willing to give up their development rights, while their partner, Park City II, LLC, will retain their half of the development rights and pursue a smaller project. After years of public outcry, failed negotiations and threats of lawsuits, this news is a bit like Kim Jong Un suddenly agreeing to surrender his nuclear ambitions, but only if we give him his own NBA team in exchange.
It's not exactly logical, but it's in our best interest to figure out how make it happen. And that's the tougher sell.
This deal depends on voters approving a $24 million bond next November. City Hall will have to pony up for the other $6 million. It's estimated the owner of a primary home with a taxable value of $1 million would pay about $91 annually for 15 years. Which sounds like money well spent. But I worry not everyone will think, or vote, that way.
Just over a year ago voters approved a $25 million bond to save Bonanza Flats. The County Council just approved a property tax hike, and it's highly likely the school district is going to ask voters to support a bond more than twice the cost of Treasure in the very near future.
A safe learning environment, dedicated open space, road maintenance and other community services are all important, and they all contribute to our quality of life. But, they also all add up. And a lot of people are barely getting by. They've had to do more with less for a long time, and expect the same of their local governments.
With what I know now, I'd support the bond, but I don't think victory is a given. It will be an up-Treasure Hill battle. It might be wise to befriend Doug Jones's campaign manager.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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