Letters: Public interest wasn’t served in Tech Center hearing
Public interest wasn’t served
I want to express my frustration with the Aug. 11 public hearing in front of Snyderville Basin Planning Commission regarding the requested use change at Kimball Junction’s Tech Center. I feel the public process was severely corrupted.
What was noticed as the public hearing turned out to be 105 minutes of the developer first giving his presentation. Please know, that this same developer gave a very similar and long-winded presentation during the first public hearing July 28. There was no leadership from the Planning Commission telling the developer that the community — already frustrated by the Zoom failure during the July 28 hearing — was waiting to give public comment. It was as if we, the public, didn’t exist.
I am not new to public hearings. Over the last 30 years I have attended and spoken at many. I have never experienced a situation where a developer presents his vision and plan (vaguely promising things with no details) for that length of time while the public is limited to 3 minutes to respond.
If the developer wanted to give a recap of what he already presented July 28, it should have been short, with consideration for the public.
At a true public hearing, members of the public should have the opportunity to listen to full comments from their fellow citizens. Many public servants at the time of the Tech Center’s original development approval in 2008 were unable to present their full historical understanding of why many of us oppose this change-of-use request.
The public should be informed of the estimated length of time the developer’s presentation will take, so the public knows when their comments can start. It is dinner hour for many and difficult to stay in a Zoom meeting for 2 hours before being allowed to comment. I also suggest that the developer presentation be available to the public in advance of the meeting so it can be reviewed in advance and people can jump on at the designated time for public comment.
This proposal carries a huge and almost unimaginable impact to life as we know it in the Park City area. Nothing about it should be limiting to the public sentiment.
Vote Trump out
For two years I have proudly worn a bright red t-shirt with “Trump” embossed in 3-inch yellow letters across the chest. Lest you think I’m a Trump supporter, in place of the letter “M” is a Russian hammer and sickle denoting our president’s subservience to Vladimir Putin. Someday we may learn why the commander in chief of the United States kisses up to a totalitarian dictator and former KBG officer who is leading a country that intends to do us harm.
As a member of the U.S. military during the Cold War, I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and its citizens. Then, my president had my back. Fast forward to 2016. This president not only ignores Russia’s interference in our elections but solicits it. This president refuses to accept U.S. and ally intelligence that Russia pays the Taliban to kill our soldiers in Afghanistan. Now this president is preparing to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany, something on Putin’s wish list, to weaken our defensive position in Europe.
This president’s actions are an affront to every serving and veteran member of the military. He refuses to confront Putin and perform his Constitutional duty to protect us from a foreign threat. Is this not a dereliction of duty?
The seeds of tyranny were planted with Trump’s election. The Republicans in Congress have enabled an ugly weed to grow that is evil, poisonous and paralyzing. It threatens our democracy and institutions.
Our only recourse is to vote him out of office. I look forward to a new attorney general or state prosecuting attorney pursuing Trump for his many alleged crimes. That is if he is not hiding in Moscow.
Break this bad habit
My son and I unfortunately had to get tested for COVID. Sadly, the line of idling cars on the breezy 83-degree day irritated me more than the 6-inch Q-tip. A week later, after the negative test result, my errands included a trip to the library, ATM and recycling center. Again … idling cars.
Both Park City and Summit County have 1-minute idling ordinances with few exceptions. This includes hot and cold days! One newcomer to our community, a mother of three young children, needed me to explain what idling is after I kindly asked her if she could flip her key.
There is no need to explain the negative effects of idling. It’s a bad habit that many of us can easily break while occasionally experiencing some heat discomfort in our cars. We can do this. Let’s model by example and respectfully educate the new families in our community on how we do it here. We care about our air and environment in Summit County … and we care about our kids.
Facts above politics
The Summit County Health Department claimed “a Significant Reduction in New COVID-19 Cases Due to Face Covering Order.” They base this claim on the decrease in COVID-19 positive tests two weeks after the June 26 mandate.
The mask mandate may well have worked. I believe masks probably do help slow the transmission of the virus. And so like many of us I expected the mandate to work. Unfortunately our expectations often seduce us into conclusions that are not scientifically valid.
Show this to any high school or college student who has just passed a statistics course. They will tell you “correlation does not imply causation.” On the same day somewhere in Summit County, somebody probably fell to their knees and prayed for a decrease in COVID cases. They are probably convinced their prayer was answered.
It is hard to draw valid conclusions from data. You need to do things like randomized controlled trials with large numbers of people, and to use sophisticated math. The conclusion the Health Department drew here is based on one county with a good outcome. This is like a drug company doing a non-randomized, uncontrolled trial in which one person tried their medicine and got better.
To make things worse, the Health Department took out a paid advertisement on Facebook promoting its own success. This has shattered my confidence in their leadership. And based on the online reaction to this advertisement, the majority of residents feel similarly.
It is easy to reduce all issues to a single dimension. Mask vs. anti-mask. This is not an anti-mask letter. Promoting the use of masks is good — this may be how Dr. Bullough justified this dishonest announcement. But promoting science and reason is, in the long term, even more important.
As public institutions such as the Health Department lower their standards, it moves us closer to a world where beliefs about every factual question — from global warming to public health — will be determined by politics, not data. The responsibility of the Health Department should be to educate, not indoctrinate. They should be making decisions — and informing the public — based on the best available data and most reputable scientific studies, not self-serving pseudo-science.
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Skier, mountaineer, environmental activist and Park City resident Caroline Gleich writes that Andy Beerman’s commitment to the climate is vital to Park City’s future.