Letters, July 28-30: Kindness, from strangers and loved ones alike
Rep. Birkeland Falling Short
As a resident of House District 53, I feel obligated to call out Rep. Kera Birkeland’s disappointing performance on ABC TV’s July 20th discussion of the increase in gun violence in Utah. She said that “good data is key” in addressing the increase in gun violence, but the Legislature chose to ignore the overwhelming data that shows that adopting permitless carry actually increases gun violence. She said that we need to address the problem of mental health and suicide, but the House has never given a public hearing on legislation proposed in the past that has been proven around the country to reduce gun deaths from suicide and domestic violence. She said that it’s “not a big deal” whether someone goes to a gun shop or to a gun show to buy a gun. She knows better than that. (Her husband manages a gun shop.) Licensed gun dealers have to conduct a criminal background check before selling a gun. Private sellers at gun shows do not. The House wouldn’t even hold a public hearing on legislation to close that loophole either–despite the fact that the vast majority of Utahns, including responsible gun owners, want the loophole closed.
Summit County deserves better representation than we’re getting from Rep. Birkeland on an issue as important as preventing gun violence. Fortunately, at least a small part of Summit County is well-represented in working to prevent gun violence –by Rep. Brian King (District 28), who has been a tireless advocate for many years.
I’m Supporting Andy
Re-electing Mayor Andy Beerman is critical.
I first met Andy when he was running a climbing gym for White Pine Touring. Next I saw his work transforming Treasure Mountain Inn into an environmental management and preservation model. He is a role model for our outdoor-centric community, a former instructor for NOLS before he came to town… an ideal mayor for our mountain community, coming from a history of leadership by example.
Most importantly to me, he has championed open space preservation, volunteering as the Council liaison to COSAC (Citizens Open Space Advisory Committee) and faithfully attending every meeting for years.
He’s been instrumental on climate issues, leading Park City to becoming a national model. His interface with state officials has been critical to facilitating city policies, especially our 2030 goal. He is respected by and known to state leaders.
He’s supported affordable housing, never backing away from Council’s 800 unit goal. Our town risks losing its essence if we are reduced to being exclusively serviced by commuter-workers.
Andy is always listening, providing leadership that doesn’t shift with the wind. He is nothing if not transparent.
Kindness of strangers
My Florida family has enjoyed coming to Park City for the past 15 years. While the city is not as quiet as it once was, we continue to love to spend a week most summers rebooting in the mountains and beauty of your city. This past weekend, after another fantastic week hiking and relaxing with family, we were on our way to the airport when our rental car would not start. It was then that 2 strangers at the Black Bear Lodge stepped up and offered to give us a jump. When the car would still not start, they offered to give us a ride to the airport. We expressed our thanks and ultimately got an Uber and made our flight. When we offered our thanks, they simply said that it was no big deal and it’s what we are supposed to do. Unfortunately, these days not everyone is filled with kindness and a sense of community.
But, in Park City we were reminded that there still are good people all around us. To these people we say thank you.
Make Park City nice again
Moving to this Recreational Paradise in 1994 was a choice for a better life. At first, I wanted to keep my discovery a secret having been raised in Los Angeles and wanting more in terms of fresh air and natural surroundings. And above all, I wanted to live among people who cared for one another.
Here we enjoyed a place where we rarely honked our horn. When a driver wanted to get in our lane we waived them over. Back then, families were moving here from all over the country and somehow, they knew instinctively, to leave their stress, political activism and angst under wrap. They came to Park City to reunite with nature and nice humans. What a joy it was to experience such a warm and caring community. What a great place to raise our children. While our community remains welcoming to all, we have seen some changes over the past few years that should be of concern. Some of our big city newcomers, missed reading the sign on approaching Kimball Junction. It reads, “Entering Park City — Leave your attitude behind!”
While in my opinion, the mayoral elections should not be political, we have somehow allowed our decision makers to decide matters which served to divide us as neighbors. Enough is enough! We want Park City to be nice again. We want Park City to adhere to its own creed within its Community Visioning. In 2009 the areas vision was clear, “Keep Park City, Park City” with four community values — Sense of Community, Natural Setting, Small Town and Historic Character. Since 2017 four new priorities were added including Transportation, Energy, Housing and Social Equity. Why vote for candidates that failed us? We simply cannot allow our elected officials to make decisions that do not benefit the community as whole and we cannot allow political agendas to play a decision-making role that has been so divisive for our community.
Let’s choose our mayor and other elected officials with the mindset of keeping Park City, Park City. Let’s work to make Park City nice again.
Robert A. Sacks
Early education is critical
Research shows that early-childhood education provides an enormous return on investment for communities. As the Early Childhood Alliance Coordinator, parent of three PCSD students, and a member of the Building Bridges Task Force, I have seen firsthand the commitment of PCSD to expanding opportunities for our younger children.
The first few years of childhood are critical years for education, whether children are in preschool or cared for in a family setting. PCSD’s facilities plan includes an expansion of access to preschool to help prepare younger children for future success as PCSD students and beyond. Facilities improvements will provide the space to offer additional preschool and an expansion of wrap-around services at two of the elementary schools. A cross-sector family support hub helps families connect with needed services and tackle bureaucratic challenges, and would add considerable value to our community.
Preserving parental choice is important. For children who are not in a preschool setting, the Early Childhood Alliance is working with PCSD and Park City Preschool directors to pilot a program offering free training to their caregivers, such as their family members, friends or neighbors. PCSD will provide caregivers with an age-appropriate curriculum to support children’s development and growth while in their care. The Early Childhood Alliance also supports: (1) home visiting programs to help parents be their child’s first and best teacher, (2) affordable, high-quality private childcare opportunities, and (3) free books mailed each month to children under age five as part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. There are so many impactful ways to support our youngest community members and their families, including PCSD’s planned facilities investment in our youngest students.
PCSD is student-centered, with a focus and emphasis on the whole child. By supporting early-childhood education, we can further PCSD’s mission to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential.
Early Childhood Alliance
A community that cares
A community is made up of the sum of its parts. It is only as strong as the people and organizations that build up its core. Its strength lies in its values and how they work together and fit together and how these pieces build what is cherished by its people.
My family and I would like to thank the Park City community for sharing in the Celebration of Life for my daughter Abbey Peterson Cordery. A special thanks goes to the Park City Library and its staff who worked so hard and lovingly to prepare the patio for the gathering and the Park City Garden Club who lovingly planted a tree in her honor on its grounds. The gathering of people who joined us in Celebration came from everywhere and we were overwhelmed by their love and support.
This is what is so special about a community that helps raise and educate their children and a town that comes together when you need them the most.
The loss of Abbey was felt by many and it was comforting to us to know that so many cared.
Amanda Peterson, mother
Andrea Peterson Terwillegar, sister
Joe Cordery, husband
Valuing community voices
A noted leadership guru once said, “In these uncertain times, we don’t need more command and control; we need better means to engage everyone’s intelligence in solving challenges and crises as they arise.” Amen. And how that applies to the upcoming mayoral election in Park City is obvious to me and hopefully to you as well.
Recently there have been a variety of issues that have captivated the headlines in the paper and the focus of residents’ conversations. Some issues are big, some are transient, and some are recurring. Still others seem to be self-imposed problems that could easily have been avoided.
The recurring theme appears that the solutions that come from City Hall are just that; City Hall solutions wrapped in whatever narrative will “work.” A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, to quote Mary Poppins.
My experience in speaking directly to our current Mayor has produced an irrefutable and dismissive response; “The People Have Spoken!” That spurred some questions in my mind. How does Andy tune into the voice of the people? And, are I not a ‘people’ too? My perception is that solutions to issues big and small tend to be reverse engineered to reflect the “take” of the mayor’s office without much input from us the residents.
It was with great joy and appreciation that I heard the principal platform issue of mayoral candidate Nann Worel; all members of our community need to be heard and understood. Do I anticipate that all decisions coming from City Hall will reflect my personal wishes under Nann’s administration — absolutely not! Do I think that my thoughts and those of other Parkites will receive a good hearing, absolutely yes!
Who knows what issues, new or those yet unresolved, will surface over the next four years? The best I can hope for is that all our voices will be heard, respected, and duly considered. Please join me in voting for Nann Worel for Mayor of Park City.
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“This town cannot risk destroying this historic treasure by allowing a development that not only does not fit the environment but egregiously out-scales the entire town,” writes Nancy Lazenby.