Letters, June 19-22: Take these considerations into account with the proposed toxic soils facility
Dig into these considerations
With regard to the proposed use of a plastic liner to “permanently” contain toxic waste at the proposed Park City repository, consider that:
• A liner could get punctured by a badger or other burrowing critter.
• Seismic vibration could create a sharp rock that punctures the liner.
• Some chemical compounds could eat through the plastic.
• Plastic-eating bacteria (Ideonella sakaiensis) and plastic-eating worms (Galleria mellonella waxworms) are capable of sustaining themselves on plastic as their sole source of nutrition. Other species may be evolving to make plastic digestible.
• What might fire do to the plastic?
• A great snow year could cause spring flooding and wash the toxins out of the liner.
According to Wikipedia: “The United States Environmental Protection Agency has stated that such barriers ‘will ultimately fail,’ while the site remains a threat for ‘thousands of years,’ suggesting that modern landfill designs delay but do not prevent ground and surface water pollution.”
Find information about your water quality at ewg.tapwater and at mytapwater.org/zip.
And while we’re on the topic of water quality, let’s not forget that water quantity is also in jeopardy due to the endless building around here, let alone the profound drought.
Keep your promise, Vail Resorts
I read with great interest the letter to the editor by Jody Whitesides published in the May 19-21 edition of The Park Record. Our family, too, has experienced similar lack of follow-through on the promises made by Vail Resorts in regards to refunds of Epic passes. Based on communication from Vail Resorts, the only option for skiing the “white stripe of death” during Thanksgiving week was to purchase Epic passes for our family. I did not have a problem doing so as multiple senior Vail Resorts officials made both written and verbal promises that if you were unable to utilize your passes, you would receive a full refund. In fact, many of those promises are documented in The Park Record. Even though I logged in the day reservations opened for our trip, we were unable to get reservations for our priority days as they were already full.
Well, seems that Vail Resorts definition of a full refund is unique. After spending countless hours on the phone with both Vail Resorts and American Claims Management, Inc. (Vail Resorts’ insurance claims management company), we have nothing but a denial of our claim for reimbursement. I do find it interesting that American Claims Management was given an F rating by the Better Business Bureau based on a search performed on Dec. 30.
After allowing ample time for our claim to be processed (we filed our claim on Dec. 2), I sent a letter to Vail Resorts CEO Robert Katz on April 21, hoping for some movement. FedEx delivered the letter on April 23. To date, no response has been received.
While I applaud Vail Resorts for many of their actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which have exceeded many of their competitors, the issue of adhering to their verbal and written promises is clearly one glaring area that still needs attention. I also must question utilizing a company that the BBB gave an F rating to manage Vail Resorts claims.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Search for nonprofit leader continues
Park City Community Foundation continues to search for our new president and CEO. Since 2007, the Community Foundation has been fortunate to have two outstanding leaders of our organization, Trisha Worthington and Katie Wright — both of whom were dedicated to building the organization into one that has generated more than $43.8 million in total impact to Park City and adjacent communities. We are working diligently to find our next amazing leader, which is critical not only for the Community Foundation but for our whole community.
Please know that our staff, search committee and board of directors are all working hard to fill this position, and we are confident in our organization’s leadership. The impact of our work is unabated this summer with a focus on our Women’s Giving Fund, Park City Climate Fund, Early Childhood and Mental Wellness Alliances. We continue to play a vital role in solving our community’s toughest challenges!
Kristi Cumming, Karen Conway, Kitty Friedman, Mike Ruzek, Maddy Shear, Peter Vitulli, Diego Zegarra
Park City Community Foundation search committee
Time for in-person meetings to return
At this point, the Summit County Health Department approves of in-person meetings. So, in-person Park City Planning Commission meetings can resume. With in-person meetings in combination with Zoom participation, the public process can be more democratic. Zoom alone is non inclusive. Screen sharing of presentations during Zoom meetings often is problematic. It is time to have genuine public meetings.
Regarding the Park City Mountain Resort base parking lots development, the Planning Commission is going through a grueling process. Stakeholders in this development include the community as a primary stakeholder. The applicant and resort were mentioned as stakeholders in this project. Taxpayers, the community and Park City’s future are big stakeholders, not to be overlooked. This project is huge. Let the process continue. Careful, thoughtful, visionary consideration can only improve the outcome. Thank you, commissioners, for your vigilance.
Sherie C. Harding
Power-hungry dynamic at play
The community’s vision is revisited often; defined in our General Plan and most recently in the latest visioning process, it continues to reaffirm our long-term community aspirations. Unfortunately, the mandatory democratic mechanism of public input that upholds these values is being regularly suppressed at City Council meetings by the current mayor. If critical and reasonable questioning that comes from the public continues to be ignored, marginalized or simply cut off, we have completely lost our ability to participate in any collective vision.
When the public voice is squashed like this, you can only wonder whether the mayor actually wants to hear what the community at large has to say. Is it because the collective public will and its protective nature doesn’t fit his own personal ambitions to begin with? This undermining of the fundamental principle of citizen-led governance got its first serious jolt when then-Mayor-elect Andy Beerman and Mayor Jack Thomas scuttled two years of public debate on the future of Treasure Hill by interrupting and then disrespecting the authority of an in-progress planning meeting by announcing they had struck a deal behind closed doors with the land owner that left the packed meeting stunned, bewildered and even angered.
The mayor’s staff reports and meetings are carefully structured to end debate and hide key details regarding important facts in what seems to be a pre-planned strategy that thwarts critical public review. When you dig too deep or criticize our mayor, he reacts with a public flogging and shut down of the messenger. The open democratic process is currently and has been for some time effectively undermined. And when the judgment of a few who sit in council chambers fails to dig deeper or completely ignores the collective power, wisdom, ingenuity and experience of the community at large, it is time for them to move on.
If we do not reverse this business-as-usual, power-hungry dynamic, it could become a permanent fixture: pretending to listen, thanking us and then pursuing the vision of a few powerful people hidden behind the shiny curtains. Park City needs leadership that reverses this troubling and destructive trend.
Peter J. Marth
The seeds of a tribute
The Park City Garden Club met on Tuesday, June 1, to plant a tree in honor of Abbey Cordery, one of our longtime members who passed away from breast cancer last year. The tree is planted at the Park City Library Field. We were honored to have her mother Amanda Peterson, husband Joe Cordery and sister join us. The tree is a Kwanzan Cherry that has deep, rosy pink (for breast cancer) flowers in pendent clusters — a beautiful, growing tribute to our friend Abbey. The tree is also marked by a plaque. Parkite Robert Means played violin music during our celebration.
Keep wild horses free
Did you know that Utah is home to the most beloved and widely publicized wild horse herds in the U.S.? The Onaqui Wild Horses of Utah live less than two hours from Park City. They have been with us since the late 1800s and are a part of Utah’s heritage and a modern-day symbol of freedom and the wild west.
Its not hard to find the Onaqui. One only needs to stroll through the art galleries on Main Street or Park Silly Sunday Market to find breathtaking and impressionable photography of the herd. Known the world over, the Onaqui are visited by tourists, horse enthusiasts and photographers from around the world. Their natural beauty combined with their love of freedom and family are cherished by many.
But starting on July 12, the Federal Bureau of Land Management plans to round up 80% of the remaining herd. Helicopter roundups are a cruel and inhumane way to gather horses. Driving them in the desert heat for miles until utter exhaustion, many are injured, foals are left behind and casualties are not uncommon. In the end the horses will be trucked to federal holding facilities to live out their lives — no longer wild, no longer free and without the family they cherish the most.
Summit County resident and animal welfare advocate Katherine Heigl has joined the Animal Wellness Action group, which together with other Wild Horse Advocacy groups has announced a rally to end this horrendous plan. “The Freedom Rally for the Onaqui” will be held July 2 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol. For more information, please go to savetheonaqui.com.
I hope others in our community will join the cause and lend their voice to help them before it is too late.
Let’s see the proof first
While PEG and city staff press for the Park City Planning Commission to approve (and quickly) a 40% reduction in parking that saves the developer tens of millions of dollars for their project at the base of PCMR, they defy belief that personal technology and the collective might of the tech and automobile industries will play second fiddle to an already-failed program of electronic signs on the edge of the road.
Ignoring this entirely in their outdated industrialized assumptions, we are told to trust that “accordion” style parking charges (read: higher prices when you want to ski), a few electronic signs pointing to Ecker Hill (already exists) and Park City High School (already exists), and a new park-and-ride at Quinn’s Junction will protect our town and neighborhoods from swarming vehicles (Uber, Lyft and shuttles excepted), by getting visitors out of their cars and onto communal buses up to 10 miles out of town (sorry locals — there is no solution for you other than to pay up).
No problem, they say: If it doesn’t work, we’ll tweak it to make it work (read: even higher prices when you want to ski) — after we get our approval!
With two-thirds of these amenities in play today, and everything riding on their use — let’s make them prove the emperor has clothes before we give them approval and they leave town. They can shut down the first-time lot, and charge $50 to park on the rest, and if peak days are only on weekends, as they say, the high school is available, and Ecker Hill is wide open every day to be filled to the brim.
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In a letter to the editor, Parkite and 1964 Olympic swimmer Dick Roth shares his choice for mayor.