Letters to the Editor, Oct. 3-6, 2015
Kudos to cougar supporter
This is simply a letter thanking Maria Roberts for starting a Care 2 Petition on cougar hunting permits and informing us about it in her letter to the editor on 9/26. I signed it and truly hope many others do likewise. I am very upset that the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is increasing the permitted death toll to almost 500. This number may drastically effect sustainable cougar levels. We do not have a cougar problem and we don’t even have accurate numbers on how many cougars are out there. Please sign Maria’s petition and say no to risking these amazing animals.
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School district must refine plan before asking for approval
When it comes to the $12M line item for athletics facilities on the proposed school bond, there is no concrete plan. This line item was added to the bond by the school board. The master plan committee that the school board commissioned recommended not including the line item for athletics facilities on this bond, however the school board decided to include this expenditure in spite of the committee’s recommendation.
The vagueness of the bond language allows the school board to spend up to $12M on anything from an aquatic center to an indoor athletic facility to baseball fields to tennis courts to a new football stadium, and even new land purchases, if they so desire — just about anything that could be construed as an athletic facility.
This is not a plan. The board simply wants voters to "trust us." With the track record of cost overruns of past school boards, "trust us" does not work with many long-time Parkites like me. As much as I want to be a supporter of education in this community, I can’t get behind this bond. It’s too much money — $66 million expansion in total — with too many questions. I invite you to join me in voting no, on the school bond.
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New city official welcomed by predecessor
I was very pleased when the City Council re-established the position of Community Development Director last spring. The recent hiring of Anne Laurent to this position is a significant step forward for the community.
Her professional background and experience as an architect and planner should once again provide much needed coordination between the Planning, Engineering, Building, and Transportation Planning departments. The position of Community Development Director is well established as essential throughout most cities (including resort communities) in the nation and had been part of Park City’s governmental organization for many years prior to its elimination in 2003.
I wish Ms. Laurent all the best and welcome her to our community. Park City is truly a remarkable place to live and work.
Richard E. Lewis, former P.C. Development Director
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Snow sports schools add opportunity to local terrain
A consistent theme in Park City seems to be how much everyone loves living here. The diverse events, activities and environment certainly has something for everyone, truly Treasure Mountain! Here is another gem that might be under many people’s radar: consecutive multi-day ski/snowboard programs.
As a recently retired full-time ski instructor of 40+ years, the assignments and teaching I miss the most are these programs. Some are targeted to destination skiers with a few locals included, some are targeted for locals with a few out-of-towners included. These instructional programs can be focused on in-depth technical aspects of the sport or a more social environment where correct terrain selection and a massive amount of skiing is the goal. Every mountain resort has some form of this program, and each one differs based on the mountain and the desired goals. These programs are usually scheduled during slower times and they help to keep the instructors working and making a living. The magic I have seen happen with these groups is hard to put into words, from great new friendships, breakthroughs in their performance, exposure to some of the best sports instruction available, just to name a few.
This letter is not meant to be an advertisement and I won’t promote one mountain resort over another, my experience has shown that regardless of the place, this type of program is a real winner. Most resorts run these programs as an early season product to help snow sports enthusiasts review their skills and create a safe and positive experience for the start of winter. Consider that, at best, this can be a positively life-changing experience, and at the very least, skill improvement designed for you. Multi-day programs can be a challenge to schedule in this busy world.
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School district’s capital levy threat is an ‘outrage’
The $56 million school bond that the Park City School District plans to submit to local voters is in trouble, and much of the dissatisfaction with this bond stems from the uncertainty about how $12 million of the bond will be spent on athletic facilities improvements.
This portion of the bond represents 21.4 percent of the amount to be approved. So it is not insignificant. The local voters have a right to know how that money is to be spent so they can make an informed decision. The lack of transparency on the plans for this portion of the bond suggests that the school district may be hiding something from us, like perhaps a field house for the lacrosse teams. If the school district has not yet determined how to spend that money, that portion of the bond should be removed until a plan is established that can gain the support of the community.
Too often in politics the public is presented with packaged deals that include questionable and unpopular items with uncontroversial necessities. Because the uncontroversial necessities are important, the public permits the questionable and unpopular items to be adopted. Given a chance to separately vote on the items, the public will not permit wasteful or unnecessary expenditures to be approved.
The threat to use a capitol levy tax to fund the school district projects if the bond is voted down is an outrage. Such short sighted action would undermine the comity that is necessary for this town to prosper because it would be seen as a betrayal of democratic principles. We have some basic expectations from government in this community, and one of those expectations is that the community should approve the expenditures that government makes and the taxes that we pay to support those expenditures. Any end run by the school district will be divisive and will be punished for years. It will undermine community support for education here until there is a thorough house cleaning of the school district’s leadership so that the community believes that it is represented by prudent and transparent leaders.
The school district’s leadership should disavow this crazy talk about a capitol levy tax and should immediately provide a thorough and detailed explanation of the planned athletic facility improvements. There is still a chance that the bond will be approved, but time is running out and resentment is increasing caused by the scare talk about a capitol levy tax. If the bond goes down, there will be another chance to address the issues later, and perhaps the school district’s leadership will do a better job of listening to the community next time.
F. Joseph Feely III
A reader involved in addressing mental health in Summit County applauds Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and his wife Elena Amsterdam for their efforts to help mountain towns wrap their arms around the issue.