Guest opinion: When government determines ‘social equity,’ there are winners and losers | ParkRecord.com
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Guest opinion: When government determines ‘social equity,’ there are winners and losers

Ray Freer
Park Meadows

Just a query. What is the city doing sponsoring “Black Lives Matter?” The Park City Council no doubt will say it is not. But that would be disingenuous.

Park City feels the necessity to charge the community Rotary clubs to use city property and services. This is expensive. The clubs must overcome many hurdles to get necessary city permits. The process is time consuming. Our Rotary clubs are very much oriented toward helping our not-for-profits provide services both through monetary grants and actions.

In contrast to actually bearing the costs charged by the city and the time-consuming nature of obtaining various permits and approvals, the artists who painted “Black Lives Matter” on Main Street received funding indirectly from our local government with the Summit County Park City Arts Council being the conduit. In addition, the city must have given permission with lightning speed to some entity to place the mural on municipal property. Now they are getting huffy because someone proclaims that all lives matter by blacking out the “B” in the Black Lives Matter mural. Other defamation occurred but that is a specific example. In my opinion, all lives matter equally.

Is there social inequity pervasive throughout our society? Yes. Would society be better off without that? Resoundingly, yes. Equality of opportunity and equality before the law are goals for all. But, Park City/Summit County has numerous not-for-profits addressing issues of the underprivileged/powerless, be it related to poverty or sexual preference or race/ethnicity or religion or age, meaning both the young and elderly. Some of the most important ones are the Christian Center of Park City, the Children’s Justice Center, the People’s Health Clinic, the Park City Community Foundation — and particularly its Women’s Giving Fund — as well as Holy Cross Ministries as examples. I would add that overcoming social inequity requires intentionality, so this is not meant as a free pass.

One of the troubles with the government determining “social equity” is one group or another wins while remaining groups lose or are ignored. As to social equity, the best one can hope for is a level playing field. The city played favorites in this one. One add from my socially liberal side is that we must try to foster inclusiveness and programs that give a hand up, a pay-it-forward approach along the lines of Bright Futures, a program at Park City High School. Along with the level playing field, the “haves” must have deliberate intention to correct injustices. The events of the last few weeks have made many of us acutely aware of the disenfranchised folks and the obstacles they face.

Also, I am among those people who fervently hope Trump is not to be my president for four more years. The thing that can make his election happen is for the lengthy continuation of the riots and protests as well as manifestations of them, meaning massive street signs among other things. If the white suburban population that is disaffected from Trump becomes alarmed in a visceral “feeling” sense by the idea of insurrection by a large segment of our population, then the silent majority will vote to quell that. That is what the divisive Trump seems to be espousing now and is actually just about his only hope. Of course that is my humble opinion.

As a thoughtful Stanford friend says, “All will be revealed.”


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