Guest editorial: Mountain Accord opponent doesn’t have his facts straight |

Guest editorial: Mountain Accord opponent doesn’t have his facts straight

Liza Simpson, Park City Council Member

First I want to thank Rich Wyman for his many years of activism and commitment to our community. He and I have worked together on many issues, starting with CORR, the Coalition of Residential Renters in the very early 90s. However, I feel compelled by his latest letter to the Editor to respond to the inaccuracies and hyperbole included in the letter. While I share some of the concerns Rich voiced, I do want to correct the record.

"The MA is a fast motion machine to connect Park City to Salt Lake City by trains and tunnels through Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons." FALSE

I am a member of the Park City Council and a participant in the Transportation System Group, and nothing about this has been fast moving — unless you are comparing it to a glacier. The Transportation System Group has been meeting since early 2014 to formulate proposals and ideas. Those proposals and ideas came to be adopted as blueprints, or suggestions worthy of study going forward. And there are many, many more steps, and years, before even reaching a decision to implement anything.

And Rich knows this.

"The environmental impacts to wildlife, recreation, and water supplies in these precious mountains will be devastating." FALSE

In fact, the environmental portion, which has received very little attention, could prove to be the biggest agreement to protect and monitor both wildlife habitat and watersheds that this state has ever seen. The bigger devastation would come from failing to plan for the growth that is coming.

Rich knows this as well.

"Everything about the MA is geared to perpetuate its process, from vote taking, to comments, to studies. It’s all done with the intention of proceeding to its desired goals." FALSE

In my experience, the Executive Team and the consultants have been very willing to hear diverse viewpoints and incorporate them into the plans. That is exactly why there is a spectrum of options. They have also been very willing to recognize when the process could have performed better and modify the process. If by ‘perpetuate’ Rich means that the Mountain Accord was organized with the idea of being able to reach the end of the process, that is correct. I have never gotten a whiff from anyone involved that there was a predetermined outcome.

Rich knows this also.

focusing on the trains and tunnels, and deliberately continuing to make statements like this, Rich only adds to the confusion, rather than the conversation.

And for those of you who are thinking right now that I am being tough on Rich, please understand that several of us on the City Council, as well as others involved in the Mountain Accord process, community activists and participants in the system groups, have spent many hours meeting with Rich and explaining the points above and more. Rich knows the points I make in this letter because I have personally told him. I find it to be incredibly frustrating that despite that, he is continuing to disseminate false information. Given the amount of time spent, I have to wonder why the inaccuracies continue, and what the agenda really is.

One last point to correct: I do not feel one iota of "political and economic pressure" to stay at the table. Rather, I stay at the table because, to paraphrase Council member Tim Henney’s remarks at last week’s City Council meeting, I, too, feel it would be irresponsible of me to not gather all the facts and information BEFORE coming to a conclusion.

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