Public Discourse Needed 

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In his letter attacking dog owners [“FIDOS Folly,” Dec. 30, City Weekly], Grant Johnson makes FIDOS’ points without realizing it.

After spending $100,000 on a study of Parley’s Historic Nature Park, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker spent $2 million bulldozing a bike path through the one of the largest natural areas of the park, destroying some of the last native grasslands in the Salt Lake Valley in the process. This from a politician who styles himself as “green.”

Parley’s Historic Nature Park has worn areas because Salt Lake City mayors, from Ted Wilson to Ralph Becker, have done little or nothing to maintain the park. There are no trash containers within this 85-acre park. What would nearby Sugar House Park look like if there were no trash containers and the city did no maintenance for 20 years?

Becker’s next project is to bulldoze wetlands on the west side for more soccer fields. How many soccer fields do we already have? How many bike paths, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and swimming pools? Dog parks do not require the tax dollars spent on any of these other facilities.

I don’t object to other people’s exercise, so please don’t object to my form of recreation. Please visit Parley’s on a weekend and see how many people, year round, want to hike with their dogs. If you have a large and active dog, a small fenced area cannot provide exercise.

Dog owners bring their own bags to Parley’s and regularly pick up the park, because the city doesn’t. FIDOS organized volunteer efforts in Parley’s, and raised funds for the park during Rocky Anderson’s tenure. The Becker administration has actually prevented FIDOS from organizing work parties in the park or conducting user-education campaigns.

Apparently, Becker prefers hiring expensive consultants and bulldozers to working with the majority of park users to make the park a better place.

In contrast to his public statements, Becker refuses to even meet with FIDOS, the largest user group in the park. If there is no discourse, I believe it is because Ralph Becker is once again attempting to ram his plans down the public’s throat, as he tried to do with Library Square. This is not leadership.

John Robandt
Salt Lake City

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