Letters to the Editor
With the recent tragic accidents in Parley’s and the discussion on how to make things safer, here’s a suggestion that that will save lives. A common problem on our highways that leads to accidents and "road rage" is the drivers who insist on driving in the left lane, obstructing the normal flow. This forces traffic to pass on the right, which is inherently more dangerous and is actually against the law in many states. I can hear many of you saying, "But I’m driving the speed limit so the lane doesn’t matter." Actually, you are breaking the law. Utah state law 41-6-55 clearly states that "The operator of a vehicle traveling in the left general-purpose lane of a highway with more than one lane in the same direction:
Shall move to a lane to the right upon being overtaken by another vehicle in the left general purpose lane; and
May not impede traffic in the left general-purpose lane.
I verified this with a policeman friend who actually tickets left-laners for breaking this law.
Not only is this the law but it is simply common sense; we are all taught that the left lane is for passing. Please also note the signs on the highway that state "slower traffic keep right." The left lane has become some kind of a strange power trip for many people who refuse to move over, resulting in accidents and road rage. Folks, it is not your job to enforce the speed limit, please leave this to the professionals. In Europe, a quick flash of the lights from an overtaking car on the left results in an immediate lane change to let the faster traffic go through; in this country, it results in the "single finger salute" or brake lights. This creates frustration and anger for the driver trying to correctly pass on the left and again the potential for a nasty accident. If you don’t believe this is the law in Utah, please go to this link,
It all comes down to common courtesy; you wouldn’t block someone trying to walk around you to the left on the sidewalk. So please move over — this simple courtesy will save lives.
Affordable housing, low-income issues
It is great to read in The Park Record about all the support regarding affordable housing: The fair housing workshop with Elena Bensor (March 23, 2005); and the board of the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund (OWHLF) approves grants and low interest loans (Jan. 31, 2007).
I personally met Olene Walker at a nonprofit dinner — The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) whose mission is to fight bias, bigotry and racism by promoting understanding and respect among all races, religions and cultures through advocacy, conflict resolution and education.
I am on a strict income and in 2005 a traumatic rental situation really challenged my health. With appreciation for the above, I would like to thank the following from the bottom of my heart for all their support: Mayor Dana Williams, Phyllis Robinson, Mark Lisonbee and attorneys, Marty Blaustein, Maria Booth and Brent Gold plus many others too numerous to list here. If you haven’t personally received a thank you dessert, e-mail me: Judystastykitchen@hotmail.com .
African Americans in Utah
I just wanted to correct a statement that identified Howard Coleman as being on the "far right" in the picture in the "The Way We Were" section of The Park Record on Feb. 7-9. Howard Coleman is actually the person in the middle of that picture.
Happy Black History Month!
Silver Summit generosity
I would just like to thank the Silver Summit neighborhood for all the kind donations to Furburbia Animal Shelter. As my seventh-grade community service project, I decided to collect needed supplies such as collars, leashes and cleaning supplies and donate them to Furburbia. Little did I know that Silver Summit would be one of the most giving neighborhoods imaginable. I just want to express my gratitude to all the people who helped me and the animals out!
A donation to Peace House
Peace House, Inc. would like to once again thank Teri Orr, the Eccles Center and the Park City community for your generous donation from the proceeds of the second annual "Vagina Monologues." Your continued support of the women and children who come to the Peace House helps in our efforts to provide safety and empowerment of their efforts to escape further victimization. It is community efforts like this that keep the Peace House door open to all who need it!
Peace House, Inc.
There is a frightening bill that will soon enter the Utah chamber for debate. It is call H.B. 235, aka, The Abortion Ban. This is an opportunity for our legislature to waste our tax dollars on an unconstitutional law to take away a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child. The cost of this bill could be $2 to $4 million. Utah needs to spend this money on preventing the need for abortion by funding family planning and low-cost contraceptives. Our priorities should be focused on the children that are already a part of our families and communities. We are struggling with so many unfunded needs that concern the health, welfare and education of our children.
Let’s look at the facts. Nobody likes abortion. However, in a desperate situation some people have to make that choice. Utah has one of the lowest rates of abortion in the country. Sixty-six percent of women who get abortions are already mothers. These women have to make a gut-wrenching decision for the welfare of their families. Do we really want to criminalize them? Additionally, the makers of this bill have stated that pregnancy and abortion is only the responsibility of the woman involved. Do they need a refresher in sex ed.? Fifty-two percent of women who have gotten abortions have stated that they do not believe they have complete control over their contraceptive and sexual choices.
Why should we have to relive the mistakes of the past? We must remember that when abortion is made illegal, it does not stop women (and their partners) from making that choice. In countries where abortion is illegal, women have a 1,000 times higher chance of dying from the procedure. History has shown us that making abortion illegal does not prevent abortion. Only widely available contraceptive information and affordable contraception prevent abortion. That’s what our representatives should be discussing and spending our tax dollars on.
Speed limit logic?
The recent automobile accident tragedies relating to the Parley’s Summit area are a black mark on UDOT. Utah needs to take a cue from Arizona: the maximum speed limit should be 75 mph. In Arizona, if you are caught going 76 mph you are ticketed. I am tired of going 73 or 74 mph on I-80 and having some nut (usually in a truck) tailgating me. When I let them pass, they usually speed up to around 80 mph.
Also, lighting and better lane markings, especially the center yellow stripe, would make the area safer. Surely there are a few bucks lying around for these improvements.
Robert S. Mindell, M.D.
Clean Indoor Air Act amendment
The Utah legislature is considering a bill (H.B. 273) that would amend the Utah Clean Indoor Air Act, thereby allowing the smoke-free implementation date for fraternal organizations to be pushed from 2007 to 2009. While many are focusing on the business-related issues regarding H.B. 273, one issue being trivialized is the effect that continued exposure to secondhand smoke will have on employees and patrons of these establishments.
Consider the following: Clinical studies have shown that exposing nonsmokers to 20 minutes of concentrated secondhand smoke can have the same effect as smoking one cigarette. Extending that exposure over two years (the length of the proposed amendment) shows that a nonsmoking full-time employee of one of these organizations will inhale the equivalent of nearly 12,000 cigarettes!
The main argument of those supporting the amendment is the effect the current law will have on business. While fraternal organizations were required to go smoke free this year, other establishments are not required to be smoke free until 2009. As legislators consider this issue, it seems clear that an agreeable solution exists for all concerned parties. Simply move the smoke free implementation date for all establishments to 2007. This would answer the competitive imbalance argument and address the concerns over continuing to expose all Utahns to the deadly effects of secondhand smoke.
Ruben A. Zito, M.D., FACC
American Heart Association president
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