Sunday in the Park
November 4, 2006
In this off election year, feeling off seems to be the one constant. We aren’t voting for a president, though I wish we could. We are not voting for a governor, which is fine since this one seems to be doing a respectable job. We’re not for or against abortion rights, gay marriage or the re-instatement of the draft. Those are issues that might actually motivate folks to head to the polls.
In town, we aren’t voting for a mayor because we agreed last time around no one even needed to run against Dana since he was doing such a good job. There is only one school district race out in Pinebrook with two gentlemen who seem to be evenly matched. (The winner will replace incumbent Katherine Adair who has fought the good fight and will be sorely missed.) No new council members are running for a spot in City Hall though everyone could name at least one who could be comfortably replaced.
Instead, we are having a rather pedestrian election. A few items on the ballot to vote for and against. Some, like the Open Space Bond in Park City are pretty easy. We love our open space and if we want to keep those vistas, we need to pay for them. To spend $20 million dollars now will help preserve some of that space and that price will look like a steal in just a few short years. Remember the $5 million dollars the city spent not so long ago on the old Osguthorpe barn? What would that cost today or what kind of entry corridor statement would we make if the space had been gobbled up by someone who wanted to build little boxes on that hillside? And where would the elk be this month? (They’ve been hangin’ in that meadow late at night.) And the sandhill cranes and the baby eagle I spied there in late August? Where indeed. Voting for open space increases everybody’s property values and everybody’s quality of life.
The change of governance is probably the most contentious issue of the local election season and I don’t understand why, other than for some people any change is scary. This step ahead would allow us to elect more folks to serve and share in that joy of governing but also, hopefully, represent more of our diverse community. They would all still be paid at a kind of minimum wage given the ugly hours they put in, just as the three current commissioners are. But here’s the smart part — they would hire someone who would work for them full-time and that person would come to work each day and be responsible for the business of our county. A county that has a $44 million dollar a year budget, which is very big business indeed. A county of nearly 36,000 people, whose incomes are derived from tourism, both recreational and cultural, and agriculture and retail and restaurants and doctors and lawyers and real estate agents, oh my! The only real fear we hear about is from people who fear professionalism. Backslapping government with layers of elbow nudging and winking is far more appealing to folks who like living in the mushroom world of government. We can’t afford that kind of government anymore. We need to hire a professional manager who is experienced in running a large city/county to make this county step up, not only to the current challenges of growth but those on the horizon. I’m sorry if this threatens your second cousin’s job in the courthouse. We can no longer afford the lack of oversight and the lack of cohesion between departments.
Now here’s what I want to vote for and against. I want to vote Rush Limbaugh off the airwaves. He is mean with a bad drug problem and he no longer deserves the privilege of insulting decent people who are fighting for their lives and trying to find cures for real (not self-inflicted) illnesses. (See Michael J. Fox). I want to vote against Donald Rumsfeld. And really, don’t you want to, too? I don’t want to hear any more from John Kerry and I don’t think I’ll need to worry about him being in the running for anything I would vote for, anytime soon. I think I would have liked the opportunity to vote for Colin Powell. I heard him speak years ago in Atlanta and he was most impressive. Maybe he could run with Barack Obama. What an interesting ticket that would make.
Locally, I have wanted, for nearly two decades, to be able to vote to make Main Street a pedestrian mall. You could still run the trolley up Swede Alley for those who need assistance with our steep street. And you don’t need any plaza in Swede Alley. No asphalt gathering place. Find some fab undeveloped dirt parcel and spend some of that open space money and create a genuine park with grass and trees and a piece of Poison Creek (has it really been renamed Silver Creek?) And make someplace restful and lush.
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A hospital at Quinn’s Junction? Couldn’t we vote on that? If I need critical care, I just want the ambulance or life flight to get me to Salt Lake City where some of the top surgeons and specialists in the country already work. Now a 24-hour emergency center in the area, I could get behind that.
Could we vote on the wine the new liquor store will carry in their terrific location next to Dan’s Market? As a California-born girl who had relatives in the wine country, I have a few ideas. And don’t you wish we could vote on the programming for television networks? Is it true "Studio 60" is already in trouble? Say it isn’t so.
Here’s the one true thing I know for sure. For a very long time in this country, many of us weren’t allowed to vote, either because of our gender or because of our race. Today there are no excuses for not at least honoring all those folks who fought so hard to make that "liberty and justice for all" stuff ring true. In the end, I may argue with you about who or what you voted for, but I will always respect that you voted. The No Vote/No Voice committee is an exciting new entity helping to get folks to the polls this year. Thank you to all the civic-minded folks working on this message.
Myles Rademan always likes to say, "we are governed by those who show up." Show up this week. Vote. All over the world, people are dying to be just like us voters. And just think, by this time next week, the whole drill will be done, and we can return to the fall pause between The Seasons, which is a thing of beauty on so many days, even a bipartisan Sunday in the Park