Lessons learned in 2016 offer opportunities to improve in 2017
The Park Record editorial, Dec. 31, 2016- Jan. 3, 2017
The national roundup of last year’s top news stories offers a pretty glum assessment of our world — natural disasters, violent crimes and untimely deaths. By contrast, Park City and Summit County residents have a lot to be thankful for: the economy is roaring, we are surrounded by natural beauty and we have a strong sense of community.
But we were not completely insulated from tragedy or political tumult. As reported in these pages, Park City logged its first murder in over a decade when a popular bartender was shot by an acquaintance at a home in Old Town. While we are lucky that type of violence is rare in Park City, the incident raised awareness of our connection to the national debates regarding gun control and the risks police officers take while protecting citizens.
Also in 2016, the deaths of two students from overdoses instigated a communitywide response — grief mixed with resolve to openly address drug use and other mental heath issues. While the tragedy exposed problems that some may have been reluctant to face, it served as a catalyst for others. A multiagency task force has been formed that is committed to preventing a similar heartbreak from happening to other families and to improving access to mental health services throughout Park City and Summit County.
On the political stage, Park City was once again shut out in the state and federal elections thanks to a deliberate effort by the state’s conservative wing to dilute our community’s voice. In 2010, as part of the post-Census redistricting, the state’s right wing leaders ensured that state legislators and Congressional representatives would all come from the same party. That has resulted in bitter partisan battles and disappointing outcomes surrounding land use and environmental legislation. However, another Census is approaching. Local leaders may have a chance to turn that tide. The effort begins with the turn of the calendar page this weekend and will be tested under the new administration that takes office next month.
The coming year will no doubt be marked with both highlights and difficulties. But with dedicated leaders and an engaged community, we are looking forward to facing the challenges together.
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Our view: The races and measures we’ll decide next month may lack some of the excitement found in even-year elections. But residents in Park City and the Kamas Valley should not be lulled into inaction.