Originally published in Utah Business.
Spring is here! Sunshine, heat and color blanket the state. With each passing day, we marvel as perennials pop out of the ground, trees show their buds and the mountain white melts away. Runners, hikers, cyclers and gardeners are doing their thing. It’s a beautiful and active time of year.
When seasons change I intuitively become more reflective. It’s as if a page is turning and I’m thinking about what to write. It’s a chance to erase the old or write something new. I like to ask the question: What should I change, rekindle or keep exactly the same?
I think this change-of-season exercise is not only good for an individual, it’s good for a community. I’ve compiled an incomplete, but thought-provoking list for reader’s consideration. You may not agree with all my ideas, but I hope they will get you thinking.
Here are a few things I would change in our community:
Billboards at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Our mountain gateways are too important to obstruct with outdoor advertising. Let’s find better places to advertise our wares.
Massive homes. Big homes mean lots of resources—water, energy and building materials. Our planet will be healthier and people happier if we consume less. We are not, my friends, the sum of our possessions.
AR-15s in convenience stores. I see no reason why society should allow semi-automatic weapons to be carried into a Maverick Store. If you must have guns, save them for the shooting range or hunting trips, or have them locked up in your safe.
More women in leadership roles. Women not only represent half of humanity, we specialize in the virtues this world needs: stewardship, collaboration, civility and goodness. If you have the chance to be in or elevate a woman into a leadership role, do it. I promise, the world will be better.
Less fear about density. Urban Utah is running out of land, particularly in Salt Lake County. It’s time to make room for our children and grandchildren who want to live here. We can increase housing density and still maintain quality. In many case, life quality will improve.
More non-stop international flights. Salt Lake City International Airport already has non-stop flights to Amsterdam, Calgary, Cancun, Guadalajara, London, Los Cabos, Mexico City, Paris, Puerto Vallarta, Toronto and Vancouver. I’d love to see more non-stops; Tel Aviv and Tokyo are on the top of my list.
Death penalty. It’s never made sense to me to kill someone to show them that killing is wrong. Man doesn’t give life, man shouldn’t take it away. Let’s lock up evil people but not take their life.
Here are some things I would rekindle:
Kindness. It’s amazing how much a kind act inspires us. I purchased lower bowl Utah Jazz tickets for my son. I accidentally transferred them over the internet to the wrong person. Instead of taking the tickets and reselling them, the person sent them back to me as soon as I reached out to her. I’ve been more hopeful about humanity ever since.
Affection for UTA. Utah’s transit system serves our community well. It’s time to let the reforms take hold and start anew.
Ice skating at Sugar House Park. Some of my fondest memories as a child were ice skating on Sugar House Pond. We need mother nature to comply, but I’d love my children to have this same memory.
The world map at the Salt Lake City International Airport. I served on the airport board long enough to know the existing map in Terminal One can’t be preserved in its current form, but we should create a replica in the new terminal.
Keep the Same
Here are some things I would keep exactly the same:
Utah Jazz players and management. We have a team that makes us proud. Credit goes to the generous Larry H. Miller family, team management and players. Let’s go for the triple crown of rookie, coach and executive of the year awards.
Part-time Legislature. I love how people from varied backgrounds serve in the Utah Legislature. That’s the essence of a part-time legislative body: they are close to the people because they are the people—school teachers, first responders, business people, doctors, community organizers and others. Let’s not let our Legislature become a place for full-time politicians.
Count My Vote. Thanks to the S.B. 52 compromise, Count My Vote is the law of the land. If the Count My Vote initiative petition is successful, we will keep it that way. The signature route to the ballot has given us more choice, competition and accountability. Let’s keep Utah’s election system just the way it is.
Springtime not only brings a new season, but a chance for personal and societal renewal. Before summer arrives, let’s consider ways we can change, rekindle, or keep the same the things we value most.