Letters: We are at a watershed moment in Park City following visioning efforts
A watershed moment in Park City
The upcoming “State of the City” presentation by Mayor Andy is a watershed moment in Park City politics. The future of the town could go north, south or nowhere, because it comes at the culmination of the highly visible PC Vision 2020 project in which residents expressed consensus opinion on what needs to happen. (“Park City summit reveals near-unanimous concern about community’s trajectory” Feb. 16 in The Park Record)
The major points of the vision are really quite remarkable: pedestrian-only Main Street in five years; zero waste in five years; tax increases to fund affordable housing next door; sustainable tourism in 10 years, and more. And there was clear frustration with leadership’s perceived deference to tourism and business interests at the expensive of livability. Painting curbs and pushing traffic cones around clearly isn’t cutting it anymore.
So the Park City Council has been in retreat to absorb this input, address how, and if, it meshes with reality, and interpret it in a set of broad plans. Were they listening, and what did they hear?
Of course, the city also has to judge the sincerity of residents’ vision. People love to endorse change as long as somebody else actually absorbs the consequences. Will Parkites really modify their lifestyles, get out of their cars, walk, bike and ride buses? Will they put up with composting and mandatory recycling? Will businesses trust people to keep coming if they can’t park at the front door? Will taxpayers happily open their wallets even further for affordable housing and transportation projects?
It’s anything but certain. Somewhere between what people say they want and what they will actually do is the place at which change can happen, and the city has to divine that point.
Take Rocky Mountain Power to task
The title of The Park Record’s article “Changes may ‘kill’ Utah’s solar industry” in the Feb. 26-28 edition is not only correct, I would revise it to say “Changes WILL (not may) ‘kill’ Utah’s ROOFTOP solar industry.” This statement may be illustrated from our first-hand experience with residential solar.
In July 2013 our home in Park Meadows went 100% solar with a savings in electric bills that will pay back our initial investment in an estimated 10 1/2 years. We did this for two reasons: first, to be environmentally friendly and, second, because it made economic sense. The formula of an estimated payback on initial investment of 10 1/2 years was predicated on the following factors valid at that time.
First, the excess energy we produce (fed back into the grid) six months of the year (May through October) is credited to our account for use November through April at a rate of 1:1. The Rocky Mountain Power current proposal would reduce that by 83%.
Second, our initial investment in 2013 was reduced by a state $2,000 tax credit and a federal $11,000 tax credit. Utah has now reduced the state credit substantially.
The most important factor that made our solar system make economic sense was the 1:1 credit for excess power we put into the grid.
Important facts that Rocky Mountain Power’s spokesperson will not talk about is: For six months of the year, we feed our excess power back into the grid free for their use to sell retail. Also, that power is fed directly into the grid with little loss than that which occurs when power generated at the power plant must be transported long distances to the final user. Also, as residential solar producers, we pay the utility a monthly connection fee of $6 and a minimum charge of $2 that non-solar-producing households do not pay.
If one calculates the economics of a residential rooftop solar system such as ours using Rocky Mountain Power’s current proposal, which reduces the credit of the excess power we have given to the grid by 83%, the economic incentive is not only gone, it would over a period of 20 years cost the residential consumer more for electricity using solar than not.
In The Park Record’s article, Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Spencer Hall stated: “It’s certainly not true (that the rate would kill the area’s solar industry).” Speaking as a residential solar producer for eight years, that statement is false. In an era of climate warming due to human-caused environmental degradation, Rocky Mountain Power’s stand is unconscionable and they should be taken to task for it.
David C. Ludema
A painful incident
Open letter to the two women skating in Round Valley on Monday, Feb. 24, towards evening. You will remember that your brown and white dog crashed into me from behind near the RV Express junction heading toward the Hwy. 40 trailhead. You kindly stood there and asked if I was OK, but I was in such pain that I just couldn’t answer, and we didn’t exchange names. I would like you to know that the incident resulted in me having to be rescued by the sheriff, taken to ER, and I will ultimately need surgery to fix a broken tibial plateau. I am appealing to your goodwill to come forward and contact me through Charlie Sturgis, executive director of Mountain Trails.
Remove the shackles of corporate kleptocracy
We are on the brink of losing our democracy and becoming a full-fledged oligarchy. A corporate kleptocracy feeding a tiny group of billionaires has taken over our nation. But a vote for Bernie Sanders will lessen their control.
He is the only candidate who will address the issues of wealth inequality, tyranny of the health care industry and the threat of climate change. He is the only candidate committed to ending our continuous wars, who will fight to give all Americans a living wage, who will work for us, not Wall Street’s big banks.
Many high-profile news outlets are endorsing Amy Klobuchar, the least progressive of all the current candidates, a senator who approved a majority of Trump’s conservative judicial appointments. Mainstream media, which represents Wall Street, has consistently discredited Sanders’ policies and attacked his political views, branding him a socialist, which is totally untrue.
The last time our country had a chance to move in a new direction and embrace a new frontier of freedom, it was blocked by the assassination of JFK, who wanted to end war, racism and poverty. Sanders is promising to do the same. However, our situation today is much more urgent. Our freedoms have eroded, the middle class is disappearing, our environment is in crisis, and we are becoming a military state.
A vote for Sanders is a vote for freedom and a step towards removing the shackles placed on us by the corporate kleptocracy. We must do this or our government of the people, not the billionaires; by the people, not the billionaires; and for the people, not the billionaires will perish from the earth.
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The presidential race is getting most of the publicity. But down-ballot contests are also crucial, writes Nan Chalat Noaker in a guest editorial. That’s why she supports Cheryl Butler in Utah House District 53.