Guest opinion: Parkites deserve elected officials who embrace healthy debate |

Guest opinion: Parkites deserve elected officials who embrace healthy debate

John Oswald
Snyderville Basin

On Friday, May 21, I virtually attended the Park City Council’s retreat and was appalled at how absolutely tone deaf Mayor Andy Beerman and Councilman Max Doilney appeared. I encourage everyone to access the recording of the event available on the city’s Facebook page.

An overdue conversation about the racial equity murals painted on Main Street last July 4 was kicked off at 2:28:28 when Councilwoman Becca Gerber referenced Black Lives Matter and systems of oppression. At one point, Councilwoman Nann Worel expressed, just as she did in the City Council meeting subsequent to the murals, that Park City Municipal failed the community by subverting process around the planning and execution of the murals and then not having in place the tools or people capable of supporting a transparent discussion around their many outcomes. She mentioned the public was afraid to speak out about such matters for fear of being judged or, even worse in my opinion, bullied into silence.

Police Chief Wade Carpenter broke down when addressing the city’s failures in communication that compromised his officers and the public. City Manager Matt Dias ultimately offered an apology, taking responsibility specifically for failures in process, including failing to inform in advance the chief and Main Street business owners. But Councilman Max Doilney blindly defended the city and implied that anyone taking issue with the process was merely a coward masking their racist views. This is patently false and an example of the binary “you are either with us or you are against us” approach exemplified by City Hall recently and undermining public discussion on any number of matters ranging from racial and social equity to toxic soils.

Early on, Councilman Doilney seemed offended that LatinX members of our community expressed feeling underrepresented because only one of the murals was in Spanish. But, as he put it, “25% of the murals that we did got a hundred percent of the attention.” Are Mayor Beerman or Councilman Doilney aware of the size of our LatinX population in Park City? Do they believe categorizing concern as complaining inspires anyone to engage or seek representation, particularly those who are marginalized?

After setting the stage with offensive and divisive narrative that continued for about 40 minutes, Mayor Beerman opened up the discussion for public comment. Community advocate and personal friend of mine, Angela Moschetta, was promoted to speak at 3:23:00. She stated some facts and referenced specific comments offered by specific individuals in an attempt to address them directly. And when her comments became uncomfortable for some of our elected officials, Mayor Beerman motioned repeatedly to cut her off. And just like that, she was silenced. Several others waiting to comment reportedly went offline. Who would dare to join the conversation now? Imagine how stunned I was a short while later when these elected city officials had the audacity to state it is difficult to engage the public in discussion.

It is an absolute shame our city has been taken over by tone-deaf, cancel-culture zealots who would rather suppress criticism than intelligently and accountably respond to it. Parkites must use their voices and their votes come November to rid City Hall of the arrogance that reeks from just behind our beloved Main Street. The character of our inclusive community capable of supporting healthy debate and open dialogue depends on it.

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