Letters, Jan. 20-22: Don’t lump all transplants to Park City together. Many of us have much to offer.
Give transplants a chance
I take exception to the recent letter (Jan. 16-19) titled “A mountain-sized farce” from Jeremy Ranch condemning all “transplants from California, Texas and the East Coast,” who are somehow responsible for the demise of small town life in Park City. My husband and I started skiing here in earnest in 1995, right after we married, introduced our children to wonderful winters here skiing and eventually were able to afford a (foreclosed) home here in 2010 with an eye towards retiring here. I obtained my medical license here five years ago, planning to work part time and volunteer at the People’s Health Clinic; a Spanish speaker, I currently work in California in a city with a diverse population and volunteer at our church’s food pantry, using Spanish in both, and helping uninsured people access medical care. When I retire, I have planned on volunteering more here in Park City, as did my husband (also a physician). Since 1995, we have shopped locally, supporting great businesses like Park City Clothing Company (now defunct), Dolly’s Bookstore, Blind Dog Restaurant, Right At Home, and The Market with its Red Bicycle Bread and amazing cheesemonger Darcy. We have had a subscription to The Park Record for several years. We don’t let our car idle or honk our horn, we pick up after our dog on trails and don’t litter, we try to be helpful and kind to people here, be it on skis, trails or shopping. We don’t live in a mansion and, yes, we have been long in planning our California exit.
In 1991 I was subjected to the same kind of rhetoric from native Californians, when I moved from Massachusetts for my emergency residency training at LA County/USC Medical Center, and stayed in Southern California — subsequently paying thousands of dollars in taxes to a state that completely mismanages taxpayer funds. So yes, we want to leave California and contribute our talents and tax dollars to a state and a community that seem to function more efficiently. Don’t lump all transplants in the pile of deplorables. Why not give some of us a chance?
Mary Kaye Ashkenaze
Laguna Niguel, California
The Better Angels Club
I found the Record’s editorial “Our better angels” in the Jan. 9-12 edition a compelling read. The call to heal “the deepening divisions” in our country is a noble and essential goal. However, like so many other warranted calls over the years, it does not provide a path or identify the root cause of this unrest.
Simply trying to “understand the opposing point of view” of others who vehemently expose mistruths wrapped in hate assumes there is a rational basis for discourse. I have tried to listen and understand in the past but no longer choose to engage because I have learned what I need to know by listening between the words.
I don’t claim to have “dark state” interrogation skills but in the background and occasionally surfacing were varying degrees of the elephant in the room — racism. Yes, policy debates occur but they are not supported by facts from authenticated sources and, more often than not, if you’re paying attention, here come the dog whistles.
Most scholars tie racism to fear and unfamiliarity with a lack of in-depth exposure to persons of other races. It’s innate to look at those who are visibly different from ourselves with suspicion. Life experiences that promote interaction and understanding enhance acceptance.
I watched an interview of a former white supremacist now engaged in a program to educate and hopefully redirect others in coming to terms with their emotional response to racism by exposing them to people of different races. It brought to mind a long ago incident in Detroit involving my racist father, since deceased.
Recently discharged from the military and finishing up my degree, I cultivated a friendship with a gregarious, charming and intelligent black attorney. I brought Elliot home to meet my folks. He wore a suit, just having left his law firm office. After a few drinks and joke telling followed by lots of laughter, I could tell the way my dad shook Elliot’s hand goodbye that the ice was broken. My mother told me my dad never used the “N” word again and he frequently asked me about Elliot. Did my dad’s experience open his door to the Better Angels Club?
The problem and the solution
We have all endured “fake (alternate) news” for four years which I hope will end on this Wednesday. Truth telling is the first step in any change, personal or political. Here’s some truth telling about Park City. We are no longer a small mountain town. We are in effect a suburb of Salt Lake City. Three things at least tell us this. 1) The phenomenal increase in traffic. 2) The presence of smog in our valley from the traffic and the homes. It’s Sunday morning and there is a dense layer below me. 3) The growth in population and homes and businesses. Sprawl. We can only address and mitigate these changes, keeping what we moved here for by admitting these problems exist. We are the problem and the solution.
We are in crunch time
Regarding proposed developments involving Dakota Pacific, Vail Resorts and others in the pipeline … jobs, affordable housing, parking and tax base are all well and good if your planet of residence can support the associated population. It’s past time to get off the merry-go-round, look in the mirror and demand of ourselves answers as to how we can sustainably exist as stewards of our one Earth. Proponents want to just keep on building, while letting the state handle infrastructure and local streets handle chart-busting traffic peaks. Does it make sense to flush the toilet when there’s no place for the water to go but the bathroom floor?
Infrastructure shortcomings are but one symptom of our inattention to reality. As a species we have yet to act to effectively limit our spread. In fact, the majority still do not even realize that there’s a need for this! But there’s a precipice looming. It’s no longer just over the horizon; it is right around the corner. If we were smarter, we would have already employed clean energy solutions, the technology for which has existed for many decades. Most unfortunately, nuclear power generated covers only about 4% of our worldwide energy use. Clearly, the greed of some entrusted with leadership, assisted by misinformation, has brought us to crunch time.
Increases in population and development cannot happen without an increase in energy use. Problem is, we are currently in no position to approve any such increases, as our principally employed energy sources are without question poisoning our atmosphere. The burning of coal, oil, natural gas, aviation fuel, gasoline and diesel account for almost 90% of world energy use … that’s what you call the “elephant in the room.”
I suggest we start by changing local board titles from “Planning Commission” and “County Council” to the more germane “Energy Commission” and “Energy Council.” Because every decision made by such bodies impacts energy use, thereby directly affecting our children’s future, indeed the future of every living thing on the planet.
Much has been reported on the vetting of National Guard members by the FBI and Secret Service for the assignment to the U.S. Capitol for inauguration security. This essential check is not an affront to them — on the contrary, it is a process that is routinely performed. While on active duty as a major assigned to a Defense Agency in Washington, I had to be vetted when attending meetings at the White House Complex, even though I held a Top Secret clearance. Subsequently, I was assigned to the White House and had to undergo an additional security investigation by the FBI before assuming my assignment. Imagine my neighbors wondering if I was in trouble as plain-clothed agents canvassed the street I lived on. My credentials were routinely checked when I was the event officer at the 1993 inauguration of President Clinton — my team and I did not perceive this as questioning our professionalism, it was necessary as we were on the cutting edge of a historic national security event.
The only optic that concerns me was the initial decision of having our citizen-soldiers sleeping on the floor of the Capitol. I can truthfully say from first-hand experience that a hard, cold, marble floor is not how to treat our soldiers. You want them to be at their peak performance and not having aches and stiffness from sleeping on the floor. Leadership should have been more attuned to this eventuality and made provisions for the personal care of their charges. I was pleased to see on the news last night that cots were finally provided to these professionals.
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Two members of the Park City High School Climate Action Now Club call on the School District to a 100% clean energy goal.