Tom Clyde: 2018 will bring big changes
The New Year arrived at my house accompanied by the unmistakable smell of a dead mouse in the wall. It’s been a long time since that happened, and there’s not a thing I can do about it but wait it out. This too shall pass. But from the potency of the smell, I have to wonder if it is the carcass of a mouse, or maybe I’ve located a Hereford bull that a neighbor was missing last fall.
Depending on when it expired, it was either a perfectly appropriate end to 2017, or an unpleasant omen to open 2018. There can’t be a postmortem without having to do a drywall repair, so I guess the time of death will never be determined. A week from now it won’t matter, but for the time being, it’s pretty awful.
Speaking of other things that have hung around well beyond their freshness date, Orrin Hatch announced he was not going to run for another 6-year term. He’s going to retire at the tender age of 84. It will be interesting to see if he retires as a lobbyist in Washington, or returns home to Pittsburgh. The polls are showing that even among Utah Republicans, he has become unpopular. Give them 42 years, and they will come to the right conclusion. So the assumption is that Mitt Romney will get the seat. He would do a good job, but he’s no spring chicken, either. Maybe he serves one term, and the seat is open again. Turnover in Congress—wow, that would be a good thing.
The Democrats see a possible opening, and are likely to nominate a legitimately qualified candidate instead of a grocery checker. Hard to imagine how they lost last time around with a candidate like that. A qualified Democrat may have had a pretty good chance against Hatch. If Romney runs, you have to assume he will win by an overwhelming margin.
The president got the New Year off to a great start, comparing the size of his nuclear button to that of Kim Jong Un in a series of tweets. Trump used his tiny hands to tweet out that his button is bigger, and works. So much for the theory that he would mature in office. The fate of the world has been handed over to the middle school lunch room. It seems unlikely that he can hurl ridicule and insults at other countries’ leaders indefinitely without somebody on the receiving end reacting badly. Our best hope is that the rest of the world has written him off as a harmless nut (with the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal) and will just ignore him. Now go buy stocks.
The City and the owner of the Treasure project are in a frenzy trying to wrap up the details on their compromise for a reduced project. It’s an improvement, as best I can tell from the details available. It’s a solution that could have been reached at any point in the 30 year history of this project, but better late than never. If $30 million will make half of it disappear, would $60 million eliminate all of it? I’m not sure the City residents would approve a bond of that size (which would cost about $180 a year on your typical million dollar starter home), but there’s no harm in asking. I’ve never heard of a doctor recommending removing only half of the tumor to save money. We’ll have to wait until November for that one to come to a conclusion, but what’s another 11 months after this has been grinding through the process for a generation?
2018 will present some other challenges. The City, now the proud owner of Bonanza Flat, will have to figure out what to do with it. Buying it was the easy part. Managing it will be full of surprises, and there were enough financial partners that it will get complicated. Everybody will want a say. What’s permitted, what’s not, and who polices it? Is camping OK, and if so, how are campground facilities going to be paid for? The snowmobilers have already been at City Council meeting expressing their concerns and desire to continue snowmobiling there. Dirt bikes? Mountain bike trails? Burning Man Festival? The fire danger can be reduced by grazing it before the grass gets knee deep and dry. Will there be a municipal cattle herd, raising grass-fed beef for the school lunch program? Will “City Cowboy” be an elected position?
2018 will bring some big changes as the Mayflower project comes online, new housing projects at the Canyons base, and Silver Creek Village happens. Change is a fact of life around here. 2018 will bring some very big ones. I just wish the changes moved as slowly as the traffic.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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