As you probably have gathered, I don’t like the Mountain Accord. I like the idea of protecting our wilderness and watersheds. However, I think the Mountain Accord is a transportation plan foisted upon us, and has provided little specifics on any environmental gain it would provide to the residents of Summit County or Utah.
I’ve avoided the local politics of it all, as I think the issue itself should have the focus. Yet, I am starting to think that time has passed. Today I read a Park Record Guest Editorial from city council person Liza Simpson. She attacked a local person for writing an editorial to the Park Record on the Mountain Accord. Throughout her editorial she states facts that the individual said, offers her opinion, and then says that the individual really knows that she is right.
What are the statements that she disputes from the individual’s editorial?
- She says that nothing about the Mountain Accord has been fast. She describes it as moving at almost a glacier’s pace.
- She says that the Mountain Accord could be the biggest agreement ever to protect wildlife and watershed that this state has ever seen.
- She states that “In my experience, the Executive Team and the consultants have been very willing to hear diverse viewpoints. I have never gotten the whiff from anyone involved that there was a predetermined outcome.
So, is that true?
- Has the Mountain Accord been moving at a glacier’s pace? Umm … they started in January 2014 and tried to get public input by the end of the year, in order to start a federal process shortly after, for a plan that would completely alter both the front and back of the Wasatch? Summit County couldn’t even get animal control ordinances changed in that amount of time. Yes, that’s fast.
- Is this the biggest environment plan the state has ever seen? I really have no idea on that. It seems likely that the debate over U.S. Forest Service land was probably been bigger but I’m not sure. Yet, the real question is where are the specifics on the watersheds and wildlife in the Mountain Accord plan? There are specifics on the train company that will transport people up little cottonwood. What greater percentage of the “watershed” are we saving? How much purer is it? How much longer will it last? How many animals will likely be saved? Which ones? Just give me a ballpark.
- Was there a pre-determined outcome for the Mountain Accord? Look back to the meeting notes from the October 31st meeting where a County Council member said that he was told that the transportation committee members should vote for Options A or D that had been presented. Is that a predetermined outcome? You decide.
Yet, who am I to tell you how to feel about the Mountain Accord? Unlike Ms. Simpson, with the individual she referenced in her editorial, I don’t presume to know what you know or feel.
What I do know is that if you are against the Mountain Accord, you have an option. You can vote Ms Simpson and Andy Beerman, who also seems to be a staunch supporter of the Accord, out of office in November. They will tell you that they just want to study the concept more. I’ll tell you that the Mountain Accord has little if any potential positive impact on Park City. What are they going to study… whether UTA will agree to build a light rail around Park City, if we’ll allow a tunnel or two? That sounds like a pact with
the governor’s office of economic development the Devil.
I suggested this to a prominent member of the community a few days ago. He said, “yeah, but will anyone run against them?”. He has a good point but I think all it would take is for someone to run on a simple anti-Mountain Accord campaign. The candidate would be against the tunnel and therefore against Mountain Accord as it stands. They would paint the picture that Andy Beerman and Liza Simpson are for the tunnel… well … because they seem to want to continue with the Mountain Accord as it.
If Mr. Beerman and Ms. Simpson want the Mountain Accord to continue and are willing to risk a tunnel being forced on us, that’s fine. That said, citizens do have a right to take matters into their own hands… and that is at the ballot box in November. Do you like what the Mountain Accord could do for Park City? Then these two sound like good choices to continue that process. Don’t like the Mountain Accord? This could be a reason to vote for someone else.
Here are some potential sign ideas for November: