Robby Poffenberger | Opinions editor | [email protected]
It’s only a few weeks until thousands of UVU students don caps and gowns.
Many of these students are thinking about what kind of citizens they want to be as they enter the post-graduate community. They might be thinking about their families they want to raise, homes they want to build and places they want to settle down. Hopefully they’re thinking of ways they want to contribute to the community around them.
For these people, we can only hope they can help buck the trend of suburban selfishness as they begin their real adult lives.
Communities in general have been adopting selfish attitudes. This trend has extended into our own state.
For months now, the Utah State Prison Relocation Commission has been trying to find a place to relocate the state prison. The aging Draper facility not only needs serious upgrades but it currently occupies 70 acres of valuable real estate in the middle of an economically booming area.
While hardly anyone believes it should stay in its current location, it’s been impossible to find a location people can agree on, and city and county governments are fighting tooth and nail to keep the new facility away from their towns.
The Tooele Transcript-Bulletin reported last week that the city of Grantsville, upon finding themselves on a shortlist of potential sites, has proposed a change to city ordinances that would completely disallow the building of the prison near city limits. Not only are they advocating against it, they are trying to establish laws preventing it.
No one is asking for a volunteer community to say, “We’ll take the prison.” Instead, lawmakers at the state level have gone over various potential sites and studied environmental impact, area resources and even which local economies could benefit most from the jobs provided by the new prison, and have made proposals.
The commission has explored over 40 sites since last summer. Time and time again, communities and their representatives have successfully killed each proposal.
It’s not just prisons. Worldwide another trend is growing: The resistance to wind energy turbines near communities.
This one might be hard for any student who has taken an environmental class to understand. Despite the environmental benefits, towns and cities are resisting because that property value typically goes down around these windmills.
In effect, these communities are saying, “The environment be damned, keep those big white things that make the low humming noises away from my house.” They even go to lengths to tie windmill turbines to disease so they don’t get built in their towns. (If you ever want a chuckle, check out MothersAgainstTurbines.com.)
Next to none of these people argue against the benefits of wind energy, just against having them nearby.
John F. Kennedy’s immortal statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” is still among the most immortal statements ever given by an American politician. They’re the kind of words we want to hear from a Presidential hopeful. The hard part is getting the American people who vote for a man like that to put it into practice themselves.
Let’s hope UVU’s class of 2015 tries to be problem fixers wherever they go and not join with those who try to make important issues other communities’ problems.