Letters to the Editor, Aug. 23-26, 2017
Submissions from Park Record readers
August 22, 2017
Efforts to preserve Bonanza Flat were humbling
This week, the Summit Land Conservancy transferred the last of the $591,000 that we raised for the preservation of Bonanza Flat to Park City Municipal. We are amazed, humbled, and a little bit exhausted by the effort to raise nearly $600,000 in just five months, almost entirely from individual donors.
Important matching grants came from Park City Resort/Vail EpicPromise and Deer Valley Resort. Enthusiastic participation from groups like the Park City High School Interact Club, Park City Cooperative Preschool, and heroically the Park City Leadership Class 23 helped spread the word and incentivize gifts. Artists donated the work of their souls. Our local libation providers gave substantial cash contributions, noting that we can drink beer and wine AND save land.
As the Executive Director of one of the 12 nonprofits that helped raised the full $38 million to save Bonanza Flat, I get thanked all around town. But in fact, this heartfelt gratitude really should go to the voters of Park City who first supported the $25 million dollar bond, to the 565 individuals who made gifts through the Conservancy, to the City leaders and staff who worked long hours to sort out the details, to Utah Open Lands who wrung reluctant dollars from Salt Lake City entities, to my Board of Directors who supported me and my family during the five months of campaigning, and to the accomplished, brilliant, dedicated, and professional staff at the Summit Land Conservancy's HQ.
The wildflowers are blooming in Bonanza Flat today. Their colorful glory is all the more wonderful as we now know that those flowers will be able to bloom on Bonanza Flat forever. Thank you.
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Cheryl Fox, Executive Director
Summit Land Conservancy
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Burying an offensive past
"Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church." That was the core of a Mormon Church press release, provided in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. I applaud that statement. It was appropriate and timely, but it also puts in question how Mormonism should be dealing with its own racist history.
The Mormon Church, since its beginnings, has "received revelations" that closely coincide with the prevailing social attitudes of our nation. Back in the 1800s, Blacks were generally marginalized, and treated, collectively, as second-class citizens. Mormonism chose, during that era, to deprive Black males of its priesthood. Since Mormon Prophet Brigham Young, had said so, it was received by Mormons as God's word. That policy endured through almost 150 years of Church history.
During that period members were taught that the Blacks had been cursed for, either overt disobedience to God’s laws, or their failure to valiantly support the forces of good in the pre-existent life. There was nothing ambiguous about it; It was taught over the pulpits and thoroughly explained, in various official accepted doctrinal publications. The original Book of Mormon even claimed that Blacks who lived God’s word would become a “white and delightsome people.” Mormonism wasn't alone it its perception that Blacks were inferior to Whites; all major Christian religions accepted that Blacks were simply recipients of the "Curse of Cain."
But, in the latter part of the 1970s, a new bandwagon came along, and the prevailing social attitudes toward the Blacks in our society inspired the rewriting of Mormon doctrine. Pressured by negative articles in a number of national publications, Pres. Spencer Kimball changed the Black policy of the Church in 1978.
Statements followed, that the Black doctrine had never even existed. If Mormon Prophets spoke for God, whatever Brigham Young and Spencer Kimball enacted was divinely mandated. Blacks may look on Pres. Kimball with reverence, and, conversely, Brigham Young with the greatest disdain.
If Robert E. Lee’s statue needed to be removed because it was offensive to Blacks, Brigham Young’s should be entitled to the same fate. His preaching was flagrantly racial, and his portraits, statues, and writings are offensive to the history of Blacks in America. If the U.S. is finding it essential to toss out its racial history, maybe it's time to toss out the reminders of Mormonism's embarrassing past.
Michael S. Robinson
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The Silence of the Bags
I attended the City Council meeting last Thursday to provide some public input. At the meeting, one of the city councilors who is running for re-election complained that he was just hearing complaints about the plastic bag ban for three stores – The Market, Fresh Market, and Rite-Aid. No acclaim for passing the ban.
Sometimes I see things differently. My concern with this current City Council is the seeming lack of critical thinking. Major decisions seem to be made based on who is shouting loudest, not on the unintended results of the decision. Let's discuss the ban on plastic bags for three stores.
There are two ways to handle plastic shopping bags that are on the extreme opposite sides. One side is to ban the bags. Anyone with any sensibility would ask why just the three stores? If they are THAT bad, ban ALL stores from using them. Isn't it interesting that Summit County did not follow suit?
What if people are not complaining but are driving (also against your goals) six miles or closer to Walmart or Smith's to shop because the sales tax is less and shopping is more convenient? Maybe, they simply shop there on the way home.
Now, instead of the city supporting our grocery stores and only drug store where margins are already thin, the city is making it more difficult to remain in business. Remember, they provide tax revenues for Park City. If they go out of business, don't blame Walmart. Don't kill that goose with its valuable eggs!
The other extreme is to embrace plastic bags and make money from them — and advertise what you are doing. After The Park Record ran the story with the headline "Addressing the nuisance of plastic bags," I contacted Recycle Utah to introduce them to my former client, Trex Company. I recruited Materials Sourcing professionals for them. Trex Company buys 400 million pounds of sawdust and plastic bags Every year! The average 500-square-foot deck contains 140,000 plastic bags. http://www.trex.com/why-trex/eco-friendly-decking/
What a beautiful thing. Park City can remain eco-friendly and make money. The Trex Company's Fernley, Nevada plant is only about eight hours away, making our area very attractive. All the City needs to do is follow the same mantra they use for off-leash dogs and their waste – educate the population.
We do have a choice. Keep our stores or let Walmart take over those revenues.
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Join Alheimer Walk to support research
Alzheimer Disease is a scourge on our society and it is destined to become much worse in the next few years. It causes more deaths annually than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. As to cost, average Medicare expense per year per person is $349, but for an Alzheimer patient that cost goes up to $8,182.
At age 65, 10 percent of us have the disease and at age 85, 35 percent of us have it. Alzheimer is a progressive fatal disease and it cannot be prevented, cured or slowed (just about the only disease where that is so). Those are cold statistics and they simply mask the human hurt associated with the affliction.
The victims of the disease and their caregivers are impacted emotionally, economically and timewise. The victim of the disease descends from a vital human being to an oblivious and ultimately vegetative state. An average of three caregivers per victim must cope with and witness a loved one or friend decline inexorably over time.
How to care for the afflicted: First and foremost is the necessity for patience. Actively listen by focusing on what the patient is saying and maintain eye contact. Practice empathy by attempting to be in their reality and feelwhat they feel. Remember they are incapable of being in your reality. Never argue as they will forget whatever is said within minutes. Simplify the conversation by seeking yes/no answers and giving step by step directions.
How to care for the care giver: Take care of yourself – this is a long slog, typically five years or more. With my wife Mary, this has been an eight to 10 year process so far. Be gentle with yourself and the patient. You must inure yourself. Do the empathy thing. Generally agree with the patient. All disagreeing with the patient does is hurt his/her psyche. Realize that you cannot influence behavior and try not to get angry as the patient simply will not recall what was said.
It is coming to get us unless we find a cure. So we must fight it. To that end, please support the Walk to End Alzheimer that will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 9. The walk will begin at the front of the Swaner Eco-Center/Newpark and wend its way over level terrain to the Wallin Barn and back. If you participate you will get a cool purple teeshirt with bold white lettering saying something about Alzheimer. You also will receive a big colorful paper flower. Wowie! Also, pets on leashes are encouraged.
Please call Laura Wall, Development Director for the Alzheimer Association to register. Her telephone number is 801-641-7148 or her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell her that you are registering for the walk and give her your teeshirt size. The teeshirt is purple, the color of the nobility during Pax Romana.
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Poor climate planning could collapse local economy
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and methane gas (CH4) are both potent greenhouse gases (GHGs); CH4 is more potent than CO2. Electricity and heat generation is the number one cause of human CO2 emissions.
First, PCMC's all-electric cars and buses increase CO2 emissions by plugging in at night when electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants, shifting CO2 emissions to southern Utah. Coal causes 43 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use. Hybrid vehicles are more efficient than all-electric vehicles.
Second, local building codes permit home heating to use excessive natural gas, ignoring passive solar potential. Houses with huge east and west-facing glass increase summer air conditioning and winter heating needs. Humans create 64% of CH4 emissions, 33 percent from extraction, processing and transportation of natural gas, coal, and oil. Only 10 percent of CH4 released by deep-well hydraulic fracturing is recovered during natural gas extraction. The unrecovered 90% becomes buoyant and can percolate up through rock fissures into our atmosphere.
Third, the transportation sector is the second largest source of human CO2 emissions. Sprawling single-family development causes our local lack of jobs/housing balance. A majority of residents commute outside of this area to work; and most people who work here commute from outside our area. It's crazy! The United States has the highest per capita CO2 emissions in the world due to our use-based zoning laws. European countries use form-based zoning allowing single-family, multi-family, light industry, and small retail to coexist in the same developments, making neighborhoods walk-able, bike-able and socially equitable. Our sprawling single-family developments require driving trips to eat, live, and work. Road transport, marine shipping, and aviation account for 72 percent, 14 percent, and 11 percent respectively of transportation CO2 emissions.
Outside-the-box solutions would enhance our lives and preserve our world.
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