Letters: We need leadership to defeat a microscopic enemy
Defeat a microscopic enemy
For those of us who can recall experiencing World War II, we knew that our enemy was Germany’s Adolph Hitler and Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. How the American citizen coped with their fears was extraordinary, and it was all due to the intuitive efforts of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He provided the leadership that brought all Americans together in a unified effort. Individual needs were sacrificed and replaced with what is best for all Americans.
Presently we are facing an invisible enemy making it more difficult for an individual to cope with their fears and the uncertainty. It is the opinion of most Americans that President Trump has failed miserably to provide federal leadership expected of a president during a crisis. Not only does he fail to provide consistent messaging about the scope of the disease, but he continues to defy the recommendations of epidemiological experts.
It is understood by most Americans that living in a democracy makes it more difficult to control the hygienic habits of people during a viral epidemic crisis. We are used to having our individual freedoms and choices and resist any restrictions that counter those freedoms. That is why it is imperative that President Trump be a role model by wearing a mask. It is his consistent denial of the scope and seriousness of the virus that gives rise to inconsistent behavior on the part of many citizens.
So how do we cope with and eradicate this disease? We can simply do nothing. Or we can take a grassroots approach and try to solve the problem. Neighbor talking to neighbor, insisting on a scientific approach rather than an emotional reaction to the disease.
By following the advice of our CDC experts that this virus is airborne and most likely transmitted person to person, it is imperative that all of us wear a mask at all times when working or socializing with others; keep social distance at all times; and wash our hands frequently. These should not be considered an infringement on our individual freedoms but merely a scientific approach toward defeating this microscopic enemy!
Even if The Park Record were owned by former Vice President Joe Biden or the Democratic National Committee, your July 4 front page article by Jay Hamburger titled “Sundance accounts for inauguration” could not have been more blatantly dismissive, one-sided and prejudicial toward one candidate versus another for president of the United States.
A newspaper is supposed to provide unbiased news reporting for all who receive it. Totally one-sided wording such as, “… gathering on Main Street to protest the swearing-in of Donald Trump,” “… crowds could be seething with the prospects of another four years of the Trump administration,” “… if Biden were to win the White House, the Sundance crowds could be in a jovial mood as they arrive in Park City.” And, “… a large crowd of Sundance Film Festival-goers is gathering on Main Street to celebrate the swearing-in of Joe Biden as president the day before” is unwarranted opinion, not news. Such “reporting” is expected from state-run countries, with only one “side” being represented and recommended. This wording may be acceptable in a letters to the editor page, as an opinion. It has no place in a responsible, newsworthy newspaper. This has no resemblance to freedom of the press and honest reporting. The Park Record presents itself to a diverse population comprised of people from all over the world.
A matter of fairness
I see we can now have political slogans painted on Main Street. Remember the FCC’s fairness doctrine for broadcasters? It suggested that stations had to present differing views on matters of public interest — in order to have fairness.
Does this mean that, to be fair, we have to have a painted slogan that contradicts Black Lives Matter? I think the town just gave away its control of painting slogans down Main Street. What a mess.
Enforce mask mandate
I started my career in public health as a county health inspector. The job included inspecting restaurants, nursing homes, hospitals, swimming pools, landfills, well and septic tank locations, rodent control and food poisoning investigations. The focus was on preventing injury and communicable diseases.
In concert with my agency, I had authority to impose penalties on the violators of public health ordinances and state laws. The threat of penalty usually accomplished compliance. Loss of license to operate was always on the table. Point being, fines and loss of income are strong enhancements to compliance.
Summit County has passed an ordinance, Order 2020-08 (amended) to protect the public from a dangerous disease that allows a $750 fine for not wearing face coverings at the “discretion” of the enforcement officer. Evidently, “education” (not in the order) is the only option being applied according to the July 15-17 Park Record. How’s that working?
News flash, this approach is not an effective behavior change modality in an environment of science ignorance and in-your-face political defiance. If you want to change behavior apply the $750 fine for not wearing masks as required by the regulation. A few publicized arrests and fines will go a long way to protecting me and my fellow citizens, slowing the spread of COVID-19 and getting us back to normal.
Oh, about your individual rights to not wear a mask. Indoor smoking laws evolved from research on the health effects of secondhand smoke and are now well established and complied with based on the premise, “Your right to smoke ends where my nose begins.” Is COVID-19 any different?
Your voice will make a difference
It’s important to speak up, so I’m going to tune in with Zoom to participate on July 28 in the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission’s public hearing for the proposed Dakota Pacific changes at Kimball Junction. These guys who purchased the Tech Park from Boyer have tried to understand our codes and have tried to fit their request for changes to what is permissible, but they’re missing something critical: the heart and soul of the community.
I was a county commissioner in 2008 when we proudly passed the Tech Park agreement which included 152 units of affordable housing at Liberty Peak, a purchase of significant open space for $25 million, space for a transit center, a location for the Chamber/Bureau’s Information Center on our entry corridor and a restricted location for a tech/research park where we could attract high-end employment to diversify our economy. Even 12 years ago, we realized that we needed to attract something more lucrative than service industry/destination tourism employment. This agreement came after many years of fighting PRI over proposals that included thousands of units of sprawling density adding congestion and traffic to our entry corridor.
Dakota Pacific has proposed 1,100 rental units and a 130-room hotel to replace the tech park. We are under absolutely no obligation to approve their request for change. The right thing to do is just say no. When the Planning Commission makes a decision to forward a recommendation to the County Council, the ball will be in their court and we’ll have to repeat this process of discussion, but I’m in this for the long process of preserving our entry corridor, our economic health, less traffic and less congestion. I hope you’re with me. I hope you’ll speak up on July 28. Your voice will make a difference. You can view the plan at: summitcounty.org/1116/Summit-Research-Park-Redevelopment. Feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening schools is a local issue
Amy Roberts wants an edict from our Washington bureaucracy outlining the ideal solution for opening our country’s schools. This assumes a homogeneity exists nationwide and that there actually is a panel of geniuses who know all the right answers. If there are experts who say this is possible, they are either lying or delusional.
Constitutionally and logically there cannot be a mandated national plan. Each locality must use best available data to determine which elements best apply to their districts. The potential issues are handled now by school boards and teacher groups.
Not having school discriminately hurts the working class and widens the gap we are so concerned with mitigating. Online education is not the solution. Cowering in our homes, refusing to touch anything anyone else touched, may reduce our infection rate, but the cost will be devastating.
Snuff out fireworks
I know that not all wildfires are caused by the use of fireworks, legal or otherwise, but don’t you think it’s time that all fireworks are banned in Utah, unless they are fireworks displays conducted by trained and licensed fireworks professionals? There is yet another fire, which began Thursday in the Daniels area of Heber in Wasatch County and close to Park City. I think that enough is enough … too many lives lost, too many thousands of burned acres, houses, livestock and other personal property, besides the high cost to fight these fires. It’s high time that the state Legislature and our governor ban the sale and use of personal fireworks — period.
Improve quality of life for seniors
The number of seniors in Summit County is growing as a percentage of our population, and with a median age of 39, Summit County’s population is more than eight years older than Utah’s as a whole.
Most active seniors have no desire to be nestled away in a “seniors only” neighborhood. Rather, they want the benefits of an intergenerational, multi-use community setting. They want a safe environment with the same standard of living, choices and engagement as they have enjoyed throughout their lives.
Kimball Junction is an ideal location for housing, services and community amenities designed with seniors in mind. We’ve talked with Dakota Pacific about their proposal and received a warm reception to continue discussions on ways their proposed neighborhood could meet the needs and desires of the older adult community.
Summit County’s population is aging rapidly with individuals moving to the community and those who have made it their home for decades. The current facilities and services for seniors are inadequate for these growing needs, especially in the county’s western reaches. With the help of residents, community and business partners like Dakota Pacific, we’re looking forward to the possibility of improving the quality of life for this population in the near future.
Summit County Aging Alliance chair
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Gov. Spencer Cox and other Utah leaders must stand up for the Second Amendment, writes Jerry Heck.