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Opposed to The Mountain Accord? Time to Stop Focusing On the Tunnel.

Listening to Lynn Ware Peak this morning on KPCW it became clear that people in opposition to Mountain Accord need to change their strategy.

The image that is being painted by media and politicians is that the only reason people don’t like Mountain Accord is because they are focusing on the tunnel between Brighton and Park City. Ms Peak effectively said that people opposed to the Mountain Accord don’t see the great things in the economic, environmental, or recreation parts of the blueprint. Liza Simpson, Park City City Council member, put up the straw man argument (on KPCW) that it seems if you’re for the Mountain Accord then you’ve drank the Kool-aid. She takes personal offense at “the Kool-aid” statements because she grew up knowing Jim Jones or something. Therefore, if you’re against the Mountain Accord, you are an insensitive bast**d.

The point is that the Mountain Accord, who has been on the defensive for the last month or so, is striking back. If you don’t like the Mountain Accord for any number of reasons like lack of transparency, conflicts of interest, impact on Park City’s economy, you believe it will add growth in the Wasatch, you’re opposed to special benefits to ski resorts, etc. … you “actually” don’t like the Mountain Accord because of the tunnel between Brighton and Park City.

You and your opinion are getting marginalized because … You are narrow minded. You are on the level with a Climate Denier or an Obama “Birther.” You are a nut. Well, maybe not quite a nut, but at least naive.

This is a standard tactic. The problem is that the message is controlled by those with money and access to the media. The solution is to think and research things for yourself… and then hold people accountable. Just because a voice on KPCW tells you something, it’s not necessarily true. Just because your elected officials have a position, it doesn’t mean you need to agree with it. In Summit County, Council member Chris Robinson effectively asked fellow council member Claudia McMullin, “Isn’t there something that would make you want to stick with the Accord?” So when you hear Mr. Robinson advocate staying in the Mountain Accord, there is some motivation there. He obviously thinks there is a carrot that will benefit some or all of Summit County if we stick with it.

Frankly, we don’t know what that carrot is. We don’t know what the carrot is for anyone for or against the Mountain Accord. Mr Robinson may be right. Perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel so great that no matter the cost, we’d be willing to support the Mountain Accord. Or maybe it’s something that means absolutely nothing. There-in lies the problem. We are only left with trust. However, I don’t see any other option. We as citizens will never have the knowledge that Mr. Robinson has about the game being played. Therefore, we can only judge him and our fellow city and county council members on outcomes.

In my mind, the tunnel is now theirs to own. In the words of Steven King in his book Pet Semetary… “It’s your cat now” Park City and Summit County leaders. Our leaders are playing a dangerous game of continuing to fund Mountain Accord while claiming that we will have “exit ramps” to ensure that Park City and Summit County are not impacted negatively by Mountain Accord. So, if that tunnel is included in the “preferred” NEPA alternative (the best option provided to the EPA by Mountain Accord), it will likely be built. If that happens, it’s our elected representatives who are responsible for it. They own it. Their names and reputations should be associated with the results.

Regardless, those people in opposition to the Mountain Accord need to stop focusing on the tunnel and move on to other aspects. The tunnel is out of your hands and to focus on it, just marginalizes your arguments. You need to decide whether you want your local governments to continue down the path of spending money for recreation, environmental protections, and economic benefits on the front side of the Wasatch or not. You need to decide whether you are in favor of the Mountain Accord…sans the tunnel. It’s truly time to become educated on what it all means.

The game is truly afoot.




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