Letters, Oct. 24-27: Readers weigh in on elections, urge support for Live PC Give PC
Schools can play a key role
An open letter to the Park City Board of Education and Wasatch Back Community:
We at Citizens’ Climate Lobby Wasatch Back (CCLWB) strongly support the students asking the board to adopt a 100% Clean Energy Resolution. This resolution will commit the district to a 100% clean energy transition by 2030, and a transition off of gas by 2040.
According to a report by Climate Central, Utah is warming at twice the national average. Temperatures will continue to increase, with longer and hotter heat waves in the summer, more intense and frequent precipitation extremes in winter and a decline in late-season snowpack. These are just a few of the climate impacts that will intensify over time in Utah.
For many years CCLWB has been engaged in climate mitigation efforts, and we are very strongly supportive of the parents, students and teachers in Park City schools who are doing their part to create a healthy future. We encourage the citizens of Park City to help out by signing the student-led petition asking the PCSD board to adopt the Clean Energy Resolution (addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/park-city-schools-clean-energy-campaign).
Park City is already taking steps towards achieving ambitious climate goals: to be net-zero carbon and run on 100% renewable electricity for city operations by 2022, and for the entire community by 2030. We would like the school district to play a key role in this transition!
Sign the petition here: addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/park-city-schools-clean-energy-campaign.
Sincerely, the 180 members of CCLWB, including:
Lauren Barros, Tom Moyer, Robin English, Eileen Gallagher, K.C. Hildreth and Ann Sowder
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Wasatch Back
Seize this opportunity
Whether you’re brand new in town, or a born-and-raised Parkite, this fact will probably come as no surprise: Summit County ranks No. 1 in the state of Utah for the highest per-capita income with an average household income of $147,806, according to census data.
For this tax year, Summit County is expected to generate over $38 million in property tax revenue. Here’s a few other eye-popping economic numbers for Summit County from the Kem Gardner Policy Institute: In 2018, visitors directly spent an estimated $730.5 million. Visitor spending generated $130.4 million in direct tax revenue, including $69.8 million in state and $60.6 million in local tax revenue. Visitor spending generated approximately $26.8 million in additional indirect and induced state and local tax revenue, for a total of $157.2 million. These are just a few data points demonstrating the economic impact that our county has on our state.
Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars our county pours into the state of Utah, our county completely lacks representation in the Utah Legislature. Due to our state’s extremely gerrymandered state districts, the current representatives for the two Senate and three House districts that represent Summit County come from Duchesne, Morgan, Weber, Wasatch and Salt Lake counties.
Our county deserves true representation in our state government. In this election we have the opportunity to elect our own community members to represent the citizens of Summit County in the Legislature.
Katy Owens, Meaghan Miller and Cheryl Butler are not just the most qualified candidates in their races, they are the candidates who will best represent our community in state government. These candidates live here, raise their families here, support our nonprofits, run their businesses and hike our trails. These fantastic candidates understand our desire to protect our natural surroundings and the environment that makes living in the community so precious to us; these candidates understand that we value quality education; these candidates know how to listen to the concerns of their community members.
It is time for Summit County to end taxation without representation. We must seize this opportunity to have our voice represented in the Legislature.
Summit County Democratic Party chair
Charge for parking
It’s time to start charging for parking on Main Street again. I was down on Main Street the other day and from top to bottom the curbside spaces were mostly full. This is good! It means people are visiting Main Street again. However, the longer it takes to reinstitute paid parking, Main Street, and Park City, will suffer. Charging for parking in the public right of way is good public policy. Charging for parking encourages turnover, increasing the availability of limited curbside parking. With increased availability we can reduce congestion and pollution because drivers will spend less time circling looking for spots. Additionally, studies have shown that the price elasticity of demand for parking is rather inelastic (i.e. demand for parking does not decrease even as the price for parking increases), so, in a time when local budgets are under strain from a loss of tax revenue, charging for parking is a good way to keep the coffers full. I am glad to see Main Street packed, especially in shoulder season. But as we approach peak season, we need to start charging for parking along Main Street again. If we don’t we will see our traffic get worse, our air quality suffer and revenue to the city diminished.
When considering the big questions of reality like pandemics and climate change, don’t “believe” in science. I cringe when I hear that, because belief is irrelevant, unnecessary and destructive of science. Science is a self-correcting process using facts and evidence to continually improve our knowledge of reality. Belief is where you go when you don’t care to understand facts, evidence or reality. Do you believe in French? In carpentry? In music? If those questions sound ridiculous, so is a belief in science.
Be a superhero
As the fall leaves scatter on the ground and the first dustings of winter arrive, we all are trying to take in the last of the nice weather. People are walking on the trails, biking and hiking, and kids are playing on the playgrounds.
I happen to be one of them. My twins and I are desperately gripping onto the nice weather. We take walks and try to play outside as much as possible.
We head to the playground a few times a week. It seems like no matter what time of the day we go, the playground is bursting with children.
It’s my kids favorite place to go.
While I love watching my kids play on the playground, I have a constant and real fear of COVID-19.
While we are incredibly lucky to have the resources to have the playground sanitized daily, the sanitation only does so much. I watch parents walk around freely without masks and the children accompanying them almost never have a face covering on. While I’m guilty of not forcing my 23-month-old twins to wear masks yet, we do so because we have been instructed it is not safe for children under the age of 2 to wear a mask. However, we will be making them wear masks as soon as they turn 2.
According to the CDC all children over 2 should be wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially in situations where it is difficult to maintain social distance. As most parents can attest, keeping children 6 feet away from each other at the park is a huge challenge.
Parents in Park City seem to think that the rules don’t apply to them and that their children are exempt from wearing a mask.
Be a good role model and wear a mask yourself. As my sister who is a preschooler teacher tells her students, “Superheroes wear masks.”
It’s true. Every time you and your children wear a mask you are help preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Please everyone, be a superhero.
Lawmakers facilitated land grab
Shame on our state legislators for enabling Hideout to annex and commercially develop Summit County land that has been zoned for decades as non-commercial. The Legislature repealed the legislation (H.B. 359) allowing for cross-county land annexation without consent of the county being annexed at the special session in August. The repeal was overwhelmingly approved because it was seen as condoning a blatant land grab and because the legislators acknowledged being duped and lied to by a representative of the developer. Legislators must have realized that given 60 days, Hideout and the developer would have time to craft a new annexation plan. By not eliminating the 60-day delay, the Legislature approved the land grab and facilitated Hideout’s and the developer’s plans.
Also shame on Hideout’s mayor, Mr. Rubin, for his disingenuous behavior. At the Oct. 12 Hideout council public meeting he was asked why Hideout didn’t commercially develop land within the current boundaries. He stated he wouldn’t do this because the Hideout land was previously zoned as residential and he would not go against a previous administration. So it’s OK to rezone Summit County land, but it’s not OK to rezone Hideout land? How can one trust someone who is selective in when he applies ethical values?
As was clear from the Oct. 12 public meeting, in addition to antagonism by Summit County and Wasatch County neighbors, Hideout residents are also opposed to annexation. One wonders why a mayor and council members would approve annexation that is opposed by their town’s residents and why legislators would say they repealed the bill yet include a loophole so annexation can proceed. The situation smacks of corruption and one wonders what kickbacks have been or will be involved.
Suzanne and Robert Rosenberg
District has stepped up
I am writing to express my gratitude for our Park City School District teachers, administrators and school board members. I am the parent of a second-grader at McPolin. Like all parents, I anxiously awaited the school reopening plan this summer. After months of feeling like every decision was a choice between our children’s mental health, their physical health and the health of the community writ large, the ultimate of these impossible decisions had arrived: Do we send our kids back to school?
With this summer seeing our newsfeeds filled with heated discussions of the pitfalls of remote learning, of hybrid learning and of in-person learning, it became clear that there were no perfect options. I decided that the least-worst option would have to suffice. I sent my children back to school. We stocked up on masks, practiced hand washing and kept our fingers crossed that we were making the right decision.
As we complete the ninth week of school, I feel even more confident that we did choose the least-worst option. The parents I talk to feel grateful for the in-person experience. Our kids are happy. They’re getting caught up academically and spending time with their friends and on their sports teams.
As the daughter of a public-school teacher, I have the utmost respect and admiration for teachers. A couple months of remote learning took that admiration to new levels. So, to all of our teachers, our heroes, I just want to say thank you.
I hope we remember that when it comes to our schools we have nothing but the BEST options. A community that stepped up to exceed all goals in this year’s PCEF Beat The Call Initiative. Class sizes that many Utah districts don’t achieve at 50% capacity. A school board committed to harnessing resources to attract the top talent in the state. A master plan for the future of learning that reflects years of hard work, community input and thoughtful anticipation of the needs of our community for the next 30 years. I’m so thankful and proud to be a part of the Park City School District.
Help us save animals
My name is Heidi Black, I am a full-time volunteer for Paws for Life Utah. It is hard for me to express just how wonderful this organization is. Every single day is all about saving another animal at risk from kill shelters. We spay/neuter, vaccinate and microchip every animal we take in. And all of our animals are taken care of like they are our own. From medical to training (we have a trainer not only for us, but when needed by an adopter) or just love, whatever it may need. We then find a foster family for the animal, or an adopter. PFLU always takes our animals back if it doesn’t work out, no matter what. Saving an animal from euthanasia, then seeing this animal get adopted into a forever, loving family is such a wonderful experience! I live in Park City (Bark City) and have the absolute joy of seeing so many of our PFLU dogs with their new families. This is the best! PFLU is a non-kill 501(c)(3) animal rescue organization. We have saved the lives of over 9,000 since 2012. Because of COVID, we had to cancel our largest fundraiser, along with a few other fundraisers that we had planned. Therefore, we are in great need for donations during Live PC Give PC! Please consider donating to Paws for Life Utah during Live PC Give PC. Our voice is their voice.
Create a safe space
Live PC Give PC is rapidly approaching and I strongly encourage my friends and fellow residents to support Connect Summit County this year. I’ve worked in the mental health field for my entire professional life and I am a board member of Connect. Never in my 30 years have I witnessed a time where people need our help more and Connect is meeting that need in our community. In Summit County we have an opportunity to support the one out of five Utahns living with a mental illness. Connect Summit County is an organization that benefits so many in our community, now more than ever. By providing access to resources, and facilitating more conversation around the topic of mental health, we can create a safe space for people to seek help in these uncertain times.
Please put mental health in Summit County on your radar this year for Live PC Give PC and support Connect on this special day. Visit LivePCGivePC.org/organization/CONNECTSummitCounty to learn more.
Birkeland fights for real people
I would like to take a moment to share my experience working for Kera Birkeland. As a small business owner for over 10 years, Kera knew all her employees personally. She knew their lives and their struggles. She employed high school and college students, single moms, veterans and me, a military wife. Kera knows that when America was facing economic collapse, thanks to pandemic lockdowns, hard-working people across our state needed more of their paychecks. No corporate executive can understand this in the same way, because they are not the ones interacting with all their employees daily the way that small business owners do. Kera knows what it is like trying to make payroll with our ever-increasing tax burden. She knows what her employees could have done with the money that had to be withheld from their paychecks. This experience matters. Utah was built upon the sweat and hard work of entrepreneurs. As your representative, Kera will always fight for the real people who make up our state and national economy. You deserve nothing less. If you want a representative that wants more of your hard-earned money to stay in your pocket, vote Kera Birkeland!
An investment in the community
I volunteer to serve on the board of directors at PC Tots. PC Tots is dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable and safe child care and early education for the workforce of Park City and greater Summit County. We have a diverse socioeconomic and cultural blend of children, from infants through age 5 years, leading to rich community building and social equity from a young age. Please support PC Tots during Live PC Give PC this year.
As a pediatrician in our community, I recognize and value the wisdom in investing in early childhood development. Quality early learning and development programs for every child, regardless of socioeconomic resources, can foster valuable skills, strengthen our workforce, grow our economy and reduce social spending. According to Professor James Heckman at the University of Chicago, the return on investment is 7% to 10% annually through better outcomes in education, health, sociability, economic productivity and reduced crime.
Similar to many in our community, we have had to adjust with COVID-19 and have implemented stringent health and safety protocols. With the helpful guidance of our local health department, our centers are open and providing much-needed care. Families are back to work in our community and their children are lovingly cared for at PC Tots. Learn more at pctots.org.
Please give generously anytime, and especially on Friday, Nov. 6, as part of Live PC Give PC, in partnership with the Park City Community Foundation. Your support of PC Tots is an investment in Park City and Summit County families. Be a community visionary and join me in supporting PC Tots.
PC Tots board of directors
Help create wonder
Vote “yes” for Proposition 21 to renew the RAP tax.
Over the past 20 years, all citizens of Summit County have benefited from this lifeline to recreation, arts and culture. This reauthorization will give residents another 10 years of support for programs and facilities that directly impact lives. This tax is 1/10th of 1% of sales tax revenue. So, if you make a $100 purchase, 1 penny goes to creating wonders!
Most sales tax in our county is paid by passersby and visitors. The loss of this support would be a major pandemic blow to those that benefit from it — you!
Please, vote “yes” on Prop 21.
Egyptian Theatre director
A positive force
I’m writing to share some positivity in our current climate of stress and negativity. Right now, my daughter (a senior in high school) is in her weekly Zoom with her Teen Council group, a peer-led education group that focuses on education about sex and other critical issues. As an obstetrician, I have seen firsthand how crucial education about healthy relationships is to our youth. In Utah, our students don’t get the education they need about topics like consensual sex, sexually transmitted infections or birth control, and the repercussions of this in terms of not only unwanted pregnancy but also mental health and wellness are felt throughout our health care systems. I am particularly aware of this right now, during this pandemic which has maximally stretched us in health care and put a strain on everyone’s mental health.
Teen Council stands out as a positive force in today’s world, for my daughter and the other teens in her group, as well as the middle and high school youth they reach out to. During this socially isolating pandemic, Teen Council has been a steady and supportive environment; for these teens, it’s not just about teaching and connecting with others, but also learning about themselves. Over the past three years, my daughter has accomplished many things within Teen Council, teaching hundreds of hours of lessons to Utah teens (most recently via Zoom but previously in person), educating local professionals about unconscious bias and microaggressions, discussing with health care workers how to talk to teens, participating in community events for occasions such as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and World AIDS day, and much more.
Thanks for letting me share how grateful I am for Teen Council, a critical part of our community, an irreplaceable part of these teens’ lives and a positive influence on Utah youth in general.
Children need our support
I am a recent Park City High School graduate attending university. I was born and raised here in Park City and wanted to tell you of an outstanding organization that deserves your donations. For the last few summers, I volunteered at Camp Safety with Dr. Christina Sally (investigator) and other law enforcement and volunteers. Camp Safety is an educational week for young kids (5-6 years old). It is part of the Summit County Children’s Justice Center and provides essential safety information for kids, especially about keeping themselves safe. And it was so much fun I kept coming back!
I worked with Dr. Sally on other projects as well and learned about the importance of the Summit County Children’s Justice Center. I also learned about its services and resources for child abuse victims and their families. During these challenging times, it is even more crucial to support the work of the Summit County Children’s Justice Center, its resources and programs. Child abuse happens everywhere. Victims of child abuse and their families need these services that the Summit County Children’s Justice Center provides.
Our community is truly outstanding, and I am so blessed to have grown up here. Please support the Summit County Children’s Justice Center by donating on our special day, Live PC Give PC. These children deserve our support.
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Dozens of physicians at Park City Hospital urge community members in a guest editorial to adhere to health guidelines to prevent illness and save lives.