A call to buck the trend of suburban selfishness

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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.

3 thoughts on “A call to buck the trend of suburban selfishness

  1. We would sincerely hope that any students reading this smug, arrogant piece which is full of contradiction, would recognise that in order to arrive at a conclusion, they must properly evaluate. Taking the matter of wind turbines, it is very true that worldwide there is a resistance, growing daily. Ask yourselves why? Research the topic.
    It is not true that people are resisting because of falling property values. Some will be, of course; that’s human nature and if you’ve worked hard for something, then in a way, why not? Not many folk in this world are altruistic.
    ‘…that make the low humming noise’. Ah, there you have it – the humming noise. Students; don’t fall into Mr Poffenberger’s trap of making ludicrous sweeping statements without having done proper research (well, we’re presuming that Mr Poffenberger hasn’t got a vested interest in turbines). Ask yourselves…

  2. /2
    and then look into why people are leaving their homes; some to take on extra mortgage/rent; some to move from lovely houses into trailers and some even into sheds. Why would you do that – and this is across the world we’re talking about – if you were purely and simply concerned with your property values?
    Let’s hope UVU’s class of 2015 tries to be problem fixers wherever they go and not join with those who try to trivialise and wrongly ascribe the sufferings of others.

  3. Given that even Greenpeace thinks wind turbines are environmentally dirty, your assumption that folks who have taken a cource on the environment could not object to wind turbines is out of touch with reality. Wind power blows chunks. Literally.

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