Letters to the Editor
I read with interest Wendy Mair’s letter in the Aug. 30-Sept. 1 issue. I agree that we need more infrastructure to support the safe co-existence of pedestrians and cyclists with motor vehicles. I am one of many, working with local groups and agencies to create more off-road pathways. It is a slow, time-consuming, and costly process. I would prefer to get where I am going on my bicycle without risking my life in traffic.
However, I can offer an immediate solution to the next problem she mentions — that of rounding a bend at the posted speed limit of 55 mph, seeing a cyclist in her lane and being "forced to contemplate whether to kill yourself and your children in a head-on [collision] or take out the poor bicyclist "
The Utah Driver Handbook states: "in addition to the above speed limits (55 mph on major highways), there are times when the law requires that you slow down. Some of those times include: When approaching and rounding a curve, when approaching the top of a hill." This is really saying that you should not be going so fast that you cannot see the full distance that it would take you to stop if an unexpected object were in your path; for example, a moose, a cow, a child, a stalled vehicle.
So, you see, the guy on the bike is not responsible for your "freaking heart attack." The cyclist should obey the rules of the road, riding as far to the right as is safe and practical. The motorist should (per the driver handbook) pass a bicycle in the same manner that you would a car. Do not pass a bicycle in the same lane.
I dream of the day that walking, cycling and public transit are the dominant modes of transportation, and the motor vehicle is a dinosaur.
County form of government
As a part-time resident of Park City, I have been reading with great interest all the articles about the proposed change in the form of government for Summit County. I have been and still am a practicing attorney in New Jersey (39 years) and have represented various governmental bodies throughout my practice. I have seen governmental forms change as development took place and population grew.
Thus, based on my experience, I am a strong supporter of changing the Summit County form of government to five commissioners and the hiring of a full-time county administrator. This is not, as people would like you to think, about big government. This is about better and more efficient government operation and oversight. It is also clear that the additional cost, which is minor compared to the total cost of government, would be returned many times over in the added efficiency and operation of the county. I have seen this happen throughout and during my municipal law practice.
I have never been able to understand how three part-time commissioners can run a government the size of Summit County without full-time professional people in charge of the daily operation.
I believe that the people of Summit County are fortunate to have people taking the lead and thinking about the future of the county. I urge all voting residents to review this proposal in detail to make an informed decision. I suggest that decision should be to move forward and to vote for the proposal as submitted.
I give Mr. Richer and his commission colleagues credit for taking the lead in placing this referendum on the ballot and giving the citizens of Summit County the chance to determine their own future. They should be reelected in November.
Very truly yours,
Frederic J. Schragger
Park City and Lawrenceville, N.J.
Return of fuzzy math
In your Sept. 2-5 edition, Jay Hamburger writes that there were approximately 1,500 Bush administration critics at the protest rally in Salt Lake City’s Washington Square on Aug. 30.
To set the record straight, the crowd was more like 4,000 people as quoted by Channel 2. Jay quotes Laura Bonham as saying she "gave out 1,000 "End the Occupation of Iraq" stickers in 25 minutes." Some time later I heard Laura tell someone she had given out the last of her 3,000 stickers.
Incidentally, the protest made the Jim Lehrer Report, CNN, Channels 2, 4 and 5 and a number of newspapers.
Is Utah election auditing a sham?
After selecting hackable Diebold voting systems, Utah Lt. Governor Herbert is appointing an Election Audit Committee that appears to be neither independent nor qualified.
The elections industry is the only major U.S. industry not subjected to routine independent audits. "Independent" means that insiders — in this case election office staff, technicians and voting machine vendor staff — are not the auditors.
Herbert has decided to appoint himself and one of Utah Election Office’s contract workers, Political Scientist Thad Hall, to Utah’s Election Audit Committee. Hall testified publicly in writing that electronic voting systems should not use voter-verifiable paper audit trails. According to Utah’s computer scientists, Thad Hall was recently hired by Utah’s Election Office to "sell" the idea of paperless electronic voting. Hall’s publicly reported conclusion, that "people are comfortable with electronic voting," was not correctly obtained from Hall’s own survey questions or data.
On the other hand, Utah’s Lt. Governor seems not to be considering any degreed Ph.D. mathematicians or statisticians for his election audit committee. If the goal of audits is election outcome integrity, then mathematicians are needed to perform complex calculations of probabilities and audit sizes necessary for detecting outcome-altering, electronic vote miscount, especially when discrepancies are found. Fixed audit rates are insufficient to detect miscounts that could wrongly alter outcomes of close races.
Utah’s voting machine company, Diebold, recommends "auditing" by scanning bar codes printed on voter-verifiable paper roll ballot records. Will bar codes match the electronic counts, both created by secret (proprietary) programs and not voter-verifiable? Do we care?
Does Utah’s Lt. Governor represent Diebold, a company currently being sued for fraud in several federal and state lawsuits; or does he represent Utah voters who want transparently accurate elections?
Utah’s current election system with its recent addition of "faith-based" technology ideal for hacking the vote, gives insiders freedom to undetectably manipulate elections.
Please call Utah’s Governor, Lt. Governor, and legislators and ask them to put Ph.D. mathematicians on Utah’s audit committee and subject our elections to adequate, independent, manual checks of humanly-verifiable paper records, just like banks and other businesses.
Utah Count Votes founder
Summit County Clerk candidate
Spanish classes at the library
The past few years have seen an influx of hard-working Hispanics into our community. I, for one, welcome them. Their industry has brought many benefits to us. Unfortunately, it has also left a divide: a language divide.
While most of the Hispanic arrivals are trying hard to learn English, it’s my opinion that those of us who can should put forth the effort to learn some Spanish. That way, we can communicate better with our Hispanic neighbors, avoid misunderstandings and enrich our lives with a knowledge of different cultures.
I was glad to see that Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott and library director Diana Skousen have thought about the problem and taken action to provide services we need in this regard.
Particularly, I’d like to congratulate them on the free Spanish conversation classes at the main branch of the library. Held on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the classes feature an educated, native-speaking instructor. To take advantage of the classes, all we have to do is show up as our schedule permits. Two thumbs up to the library for a job well done!
Stan Merrill, Ph.D.
Rancher fights for easement
As a former resident of the Old Ranch Road neighborhood, I find it laughable that the county commissioners are now trying to shut the barn door after the horses are long gone. I’m referring to the easement Mr. Kearns is willing to grant Mr. Flinders so he can take water from the creek to water his lawn.
First, this is not a "great land grab" as Mr. Flinders refers to it. Mr. Kearns contacted the county in an effort to buy this worthless strip of land. The county refused to sell it but instead, offered to vacate it and split it between the two adjacent property owners. Mr. Flinders had every right to protest at that time but did not. Maybe it was because he had no water shares and did not want to get caught illegally pulling water as he had done for decades.
Mr. Flinders is not running a cattle operation or farming alfalfa, he’s watering his lawn! Why don’t you recommend he do the right thing drill a well or hook up to the water line in front of his house?
Has the county granted Mr. Flinders an easement for the water pipe he ran under Old Ranch Rd? Who’s going to fix that if his pipe breaks and the road caves in?
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Two Park City High School students write that small changes can make a big difference as Utahns try to preserve the beauty of their state.