Letters: Park City councilman shows true colors in guest editorial
I would like to thank The Park Record for printing Councilman Tim Henney’s guest editorial. I also give Henney credit for showing his true colors. Rarely do people, especially politicians, tell the truth for fear of being ostracized. But then again, if you have the ear and vote of the “Alt woke” super progressives in Park City, you can go for it.
Those of us whose opinions happen to go to the conservative side just don’t pass muster with your community values — which is what exactly? Giving our hard earned money to politicians to spend carte blanche on social justice causes that really don’t solve problems but make you feel good?
I remember when you moved here Mr. Henney. The town happened to be more right leaning than you. We did not judge you. We used to value the diversity in our community and differences for robust discussions to find consensus and solutions. You were just some rich guy who could afford to move here and impose your beliefs on the rest of us. You wonder what happened to our quaint mountain town? People like you kept moving here.
Just in this editorial you have berated parents of kindergartners who believe it is their job to raise their own children, not the government officials pushing an LGBTQ agenda with Welcoming Schools. It does not matter that they are 100% against bullying and would like to use a program less controversial.
Then the irony of Councilor Kim Carson being “bullied and humiliated” at a UAC meeting is rich, after all the state of Utah is mostly conservative so I suppose being in a room that does not share our “community values” might be distressing.
I am not perfect nor have I ever professed to be, but I have learned to have an open heart and mind. After all I might learn something from a different perspective. I know I can have meaningful, civil and respectful relationships with all walks of life here in Summit County.
The question is, Mr. Henney — can you?
Our community values
In the guest editorial entitled “Park City Councilor says Parkites must explore how they align with community values,” Park City Councilor Tim Henney states with regard to parents opposing the Welcoming Schools program at Trailside Elementary, “Dissent is an essential component of process and leads to better outcomes, but there is a fundamental difference between fact based dissent and an attempt to sow and amplify distrust by presenting a specious narrative, then calling it dissent.” I would assert that his first sentence is fact, but his second is merely his inflammatory and specious opinion. Though he says he seeks to build community, his words sow discord. The Trailside parents are not wrong. Welcoming Schools is, in fact, a curriculum explicitly focused on LGBTQ lifestyle choices making it sex education (per state law). This doesn’t belong in our elementary school.
I encourage Councilor Henney to welcome the concerns of his taxpaying parents. His editorial communicates a sense of “get in line with my values or get out of town,” along with a finger wagging attempt to shut down and discredit concerned, taxpaying members of his community. It’s time our leaders (community, state and national) promote bipartisan participation to determine our community values instead of using their positions to enforce their own. Parents most certainly have the right to raise concerns over any school program or curriculum. It is Tim Henney’s job to listen to and respect the values of ALL Park City citizens — not condemn his constituents when their values differ from his own.
Anti-bullying and suicide prevention are something we all support. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has implemented a suicide prevention program available to all K-12 schools in Utah using the “SafeUT” app. All parents and teachers should encourage their children to download it. Because of his suicide prevention/awareness campaign, suicide rates in Utah are falling.
While children do need to feel safe in their learning environment, I propose we also teach them not only to treat each other with respect, but also to equip them with the self-esteem and interpersonal skills to enable them to diffuse hostility on their own — valuable skills that will serve them throughout life.
A model program
What a wonderful introduction to high school sports! This fall, my daughter was a member of the Park City High School freshman volleyball team. We were hopeful it would be a good experience filled with lessons of skill, teamwork, and friendships. This program FAR exceeded my expectations.
At the helm is an incredible team of caring coaches: Matt Carlson, Kai Nielson, Wayne Carlson, and Sid Ostergaard. Each has a sincere interest in seeing every player succeed. And by “succeed,” I don’t just mean winning games (although each team had an outstanding record). They have created a culture of developing your best self — in volleyball, school and life. As Matt shared in one of his weekly inspirational emails, “we strive to improve technically, tactically, physically and mentally to provide a greater depth of character that will rub off to all aspects of their lives.” They did just that.
The program fosters an inclusive and supportive family of players, regardless of grade. The sophomores, juniors and seniors consistently demonstrated kindness, mentorship and enthusiasm to their freshman teammates. They and their parents can be proud of what strong role models they are and what lasting impacts they have made. And not to be forgotten, a whole lot of fun was had — both on and off the court through social events that strengthened friendships and team bonds.
Thank you for starting my daughter’s high school years on such a positive, impactful note. She has acquired life skills and lessons to help guide her in the future on and off the court. This is a model program for youth sports and I’m grateful she’s a part of it. Go Miners!
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Steve Berlack, whose son died in an avalanche in 2015, writes in a letter to the editor that “[i]f you want to venture into the backcountry, do it safely. Get the education you need. … Understand the forecast. Make conservative decisions like your life depends on it.”