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Saturday, March 08, 2008

A letter to the forum from one of the Powder Mountain Town Incorporation petitioners


For months, we have been asking how the the rezone or incorporation of Powder Mountain would benefit anyone, other than the greedy owners and developers. We have even been asking for input from the owners in the form of valley wide meetings, similar to those hosted in Cache Valley, or at least written comments to our forum. To date, we have received neither.

However, Terri Stearman, neighbor, friend and one of the "Powderville" Incorporation petitioners (in favor of Powder Mountain Incorporation), has graciously responded to our pleas.

While we fundamentally disagree with the Stearman's and their support of such an immoral (and we think unconstitutional) move that removes citizen's basic voting rights, we appreciate the input to our open forum.

Read the other side of the story, our humble readers. And be sure to leave your comments at the end of the post.

March 4, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

My husband and I read the articles and comments on the Ogden Valley Forum about twice weekly because we like to keep updated on what is happening in our community. I am totally dismayed that you seem to only publish thoughts that are protesting the incorporation of Powder Mountain as a town (not Powderville as many cynical comments contend). I feel sorry for Erin Stokes who spoke up and revealed her reasons for favoring the incorporation. She has been personally attacked as “one of those greedy realtors, damn them to hell”. Other comments have been made that suggest anybody who is in favor of the incorporation ignorant or “in the pockets” of Powder Mountain and if asked will serve on the town council as puppets of the owners of Powder Mountain. Have any of you tried to gather information from those of us who do favor the incorporation of Powder Mountain town? We are here in the community. Personally, I am the type of person who tries very hard to avoid confrontation so I usually don’t rant and rave about issues, even those that are important to me. I respect my neighbors and have no ill feelings toward any of them who may disagree with me regarding this issue or any others. I am a registered Republican but do not throw barbs at members of other political parties who disagree with me on many issues. I grew up a Catholic and am currently a non-practicing Presbyterian. I absolutely do not harbor hate or disregard for people who believe differently from me.

The Powder Mountain proponents have been referred to as “former friends”. This is so sad. Cannot someone disagree with a person, friend, neighbor or relative for fear of the relationship being terminated? This way of thinking reminds me of the elementary school playground clubs of “We hate boys” or “We hate girls”. I would like to think that we have outgrown those childish games where we believed you play the game my way or you go home.

The incorporation of Powder Mountain is not without difficult hurdles. I understand the concerns of citizens in the Ogden Valley. Nobody will be affected more regarding the steep, winding road that leads to the resort than we do. We live about 50 feet from that road on the way to the ski resort and yet we can see advantages to the development of Powder Mountain as a four-season resort. Many people will be able to STAY on the mountain when they come to visit rather than driving back and forth to/from the Ogden area in order to have a nice meal, go shopping or enjoy a nice evening with friends listening to live music and maybe even spin around the dance floor a few times with the people they love.

How many seasonal employees are forced to drive back and forth in able to reside in reasonably priced homes or apartments? If I remember the laws of Utah, every town that incorporates must make available some low-cost housing. I’ll bet there are quite a few lift operators, mechanics, food service personnel or ticket sellers who would jump at the chance to reside nearby!

There are many reasons to endorse the incorporation of Powder Mountain. I ask you, the protesters, to inquire around your neighborhoods and find the people who disagree with your stance. Please stop using derogatory names for the people who disagree with you. And please consider “change” in your lives. I know that change is tough. It can be very scary. I was an Air Force wife for 30 years. We made major moves either across country or overseas ten times. When we bought and moved into our “retirement” home here in the valley eight years ago, it was the 19th home for us. It was painful to leave behind family and friends. It was, at times, excruciating to always be the new kid on the block. Of our three children, one attended high school in two different countries, not including the U.S.; one attended high school in two different countries and in the state of NH. Our third attended high school in three different states. Do you think change was easy for them? But they are all grown with families of their own. We recently asked them how they felt about all that moving and the hardships that came along. All three of them said they wouldn’t have had it any other way. They learned so much about the world rather than only the small area where they grew up, like I did when I was raised in Colorado. They learned about so many different cultures and were able to see first-hand how fortunate we are as Americans. Change can bring opportunities that often would not have been available otherwise. Change can be about making new friends, as well as keeping old friends. Change can bring the opportunity to learn a new job or craft or to become someone you never dreamed you could be. So please try to embrace change or at least look at the positive experience change can be for all of us.

I would like to make one more point. When my husband’s name was mentioned as one of the original petition signers for the incorporation of Powder Mountain, in an article a while back (I believe it was the Standard Examiner) it was mentioned that he was a Powder Mountain employee. Let me clarify that he is a seasonal employee at Powder Mountain as a national ski patroller. He does it because he loves to ski and he loves to help people. He does not do it because he makes big bucks and is “in the pocket” of Powder Mountain owners. It is his part-time, fun thing to do after serving in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years. So please end the insinuation that he is one of the owner’s good old boys who will cater to their every whim. I, also, am a seasonal part-time employee at Powder Mountain working in the ticket sales department. The commute is quick which means we don’t spend a lot of time or energy commuting to/from a part-time job. It gives us the opportunity to meet lots of people, both local and non-local. But these jobs DO NOT afford us the opportunity to line our pockets with Powder Mountain money!

If the incorporation does go through and my husband or I are asked to serve on the town council, you can be assured we will discuss and vote in favor of what we believe is the best thing for the town or community not the owners. Local community service is in my husband’s blood as his parents both serve in various capacities in their small town in Kentucky; and have been serving since they retired from the military in 1966. I have served in many volunteer positions throughout our years in the military such as the American Red Cross, schools, thrift shops that benefit local charities and local animal shelters. My husband and I both volunteer as poll workers here in the local community. Do not stereotype us as “perps” or “former friends” or “puppets” or any other derogatory name. You don’t even know us.

Respectfully submitted to our friends and neighbors,

Terri (Theresa) Stearman

UPDATE: 5:00 pm

Be sure to read Rudi's response to Ms. Stearman's missive by visiting Weber County Forum


edentribe said...

Thank you very much for communicating what you think and how you feel about this issue. I value your thoughts and it helps me to understand you as a human being, instead of just part of the "big, bad corporation".
I still cannot understand how anyone thinks it is okay to take away other people's fundamental rights. If incorporation is such a good idea, then we should ALL have an opportunity to vote on it. And of course we have to elect our officials. I will not be okay with this until I have real representation. I do not mean that the corporation "tells" me they are listening and representing me. I must have an acutal democratic process.
Again, it is great that you have opened communication and I thank you for that.

NoMo PowMow said...

As I recall, "Powderville" was originally named by one of the "Powderville" residents who felt power-less.

And yes, the overwhelming majority of your friends and neighbors are against the undemocratic loophole PowMow has chosen.

While you may not be "puppets," any mayor or council member appointed by a corporation would certainly have to be highly suspect.

Are you one of the proposed council members?

James Peak said...

Ms. Stearman, with all due respect, I think you may feel your part in the incorporation process is greater than it really is. After rereading the Wheatley manifesto from the home page of the forum, the following was said about "perps."

"...the Powderville town council is appointed by a few men who stand to make hundreds of millions if the town laws are just right, who dole out the town budget in the form of a loan, and who have their lawyers write all the laws. Only after the new laws are in place and the town is approaching bankruptcy do the residents of Powderville get to vote. In respect for the sentiments of valley residents forced into Powderville, I will refer to these few men as the perpetrators, or ‘PERPS’ for short, rather than one of the more unseemly names I have heard them called."

I would guess the term 'perp' is reserved for the likes of Mark Arnold and Lee Daniels and their posse. Surely they won't let a simple National Ski Patroler in their club, but they could certainly "use" a few who are gullible and unsuspecting.

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on Ms. Stearman's post. The very existence of an open blog provides a platform to express all views. However, Ms. Stearman has overlooked the fundamental responsibility that a good neighbor would show with open communication to the people that will be impacted by such an undertaking.

What ever happens at Powder Mountain, it will have a serious impact on the entire Ogden Valley, not just the homeowners along the road. We are talking about 8 to 10 times the traffic and pollution. Think of of the water usage for two 18 hole golf courses at 7,000 feet altitude. millions of gallons of water every year! More water for the inevitable snow making equipment that is sure to come. Think of the safety issues on a single road that UDOT testified they would not build today if asked.

With all this in mind, no attempt to communicate with most of the citizens of Ogden Valley was ever made by the owners of Powder Mountain, They only talked to a few who they thought could do their cause some good. That is not the action of a responsible neighbor.

One other point, if Ms. Stearman really believes that the owners of Powder Mountain will allow a group of free thinking homeowners to control the destiny of their multi-million dollar investment, even after a few years down the road, she needs a dose of reality. It will never happen. It will be prevented by the ownership always maintaining voting control of the Town Council and Planning Commission through whatever means are available.

webmstr said...

It is certainly nice to hear from fellow military retirees, and all individuals of various viewpoints.

As a federal retiree, I have actively contacted the state legislature and each individual on the Weber County Commission regarding the looming disaster, should only one ingress and egress road continue to provide service to Powder Mountain. From a risk management standpoint, a second full-year access road is absolutely necessary to Powder Mountain's expansion. It's just that simple.

And public input, through a town meeting, sponsored (and personally attended) by the Powder Mountain owners is overdue. Long overdue. Cache County had an opportunity...

Anonymous said...

Well,since everyone is using the military retiree label I will to. 22 years serving democracy worldwide and it makes me sick to see that very principle trampled in my own backyard. Color it however you want. Fact is the law that allowed the incorporation petition to happen is unconstitutional and it truly saddens me that "military wife" cannot see that. Mine sure can. I thought the whole basis of our society was that the majority rules, not the rich land barons. I seem to remember something about a revolution years back caused by taxation without representation. Hmmm, does that sound familiar here? Now if a popular vote was held and supported the incorporation, rezoning, density issues, lack of proper roads, water concerns, pollution, increased accidents and deaths, etc then I'd shut my mouth and move on. Why, because the people had spoken, not the land barons of Powder Mountain. But as things stand right now that will not happen because the people have no say in the matter. While Ms. Stearman is more than welcome to her opinion I would dearly like to hear what she has to say about taxation without representation and what her thoughts are regarding democracy as a whole. I would image someone who traveled the world for 30 years would have seen their share of oppression, I know I did. How can they not see it now when it's staring them in the face?

Clair said...

"Puppet is as puppet does," Forest Gump, 1973

Skip The Dog said...

Friends don’t make friends incorporate.

Anonymous said...

AMEN, brother!! Is this lady for real?

Anonymous said...

Whaddad she say??

clueless? said...

Is there a condition called military spouse syndrome?

Anonymous said...

You know I just reread her post again. Two things come to mind. One is she/they positioning for a spot on the puppet government? Two, are her comments about change for real? While I will gladly concede that change always happens should people not be worried about change for the worse. She goes on about hardship and change here family went through in the military and I say SO WHAT! You made that choice, you did not have it forced on you without any say in the matter. In fact over a 30 year time period that choice was made over and over. But, there are a good many people in the valley who do not want to see their rural way of life changed. Their family has been there for generations and what right does some rich boy, his cronies, and narrow sighted newcomers like Ms. Steaman have to force it on them? I too am sort of a newcomer to the valley. Lived in the area many years ago and then returned to settle down here. But I am respectful of those already here. Heck, we could have bought land and put up yet another home in the valley but chose to buy an exisitng home so that we did not contribute to growth in the area. Image that, we chose. Yet this very issue is taking the right to choose away from too many and it really makes me angry and ashamed of a military family that does not seem to have issue with this. Why'd you spend 30 years in the military if you don't believe in Democracy? Where you one of those unable to make it on the outside and decided to use the military as your own social care or were you really serving your country? Whatever the case you are doing a great disservice to democracy now.

Anonymous said...

... bottom line, both husband and wife pull paychecks from powder mountain and wont bite the hand that feeds!

Clair said...

And where are you now, Ms. Stearman? We would love to hear your response to the comments on this thread.

You cried foul, so please back up your position.

Anonymous said...

The people that post on this blog site are very rude and it makes me never want to visit it.

Get a clue!

edentribe said...

A though to consider:
Some people are very angry about this unjust situation. I find it very hard not to be angry when I have to spend ALL my extra time and energy... and now money on trying to fix this.
I wish those that were not intending to be malicious would do something to help.
Take some responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I'm a recent, first-time visitor to Ogden Valley and Powder Mountain. 46 year old business owner from Boston. I fell in love with the whole area and I can guarantee that others of my type will for the same reason: natural beauty, unspoiled, seemingly controlled development so far. I hope Powder Mountain stays like...well...Powder Mountain. And I think it will because I doubt there will be the market demand for a "Snowmass-like" development there. Why? 1.) It's not Colorado 2.) Utah has a "weirdness" factor to outsiders/ potential investors for many reasons 3.) the mega rich who will drive up values want to be around the mega-rich so they will go and buy at Snowmass or Park city / Deer Valley. Investing in Ogden Valley is a bit like pioneering.

I am considering buying in Ogden CITY because of the potential THAT city has to provide quick access to worldclass skiing and things to do off the slopes.

Ogden Valley is a special place but IMHO it attracts a different type of investor and speculator -- like me -- an environmentallly consciouss, telemark/ backcountry skiing weirdo. My wealthier friends have NO DESIRE to drive the extra 45 mins when they can hop out of their first class seats at the airport and be in Snowbird or Park City so much faster.

And I do respect the locals -- but I also see a better real estate opportunity in Ogden City; I can buy a 3 bedroom historic bungalow for $75 K and be near bars and brew pubs and movie theaters. I have to drive up the canyon but I have to get in my car anywhere I stay.

The mega-wealth investors need mega-returns and I (personally) don't see Powder Mountain attracting the type of people I know who are also shopping Snowmass, Vail, and Big Sky's mega-rich community (can't remember the name of it).

Powder Mountain is not a destination resort and the prospective real estate developers should do some market research with prospective buyers like the ones that I know and they'll find out that it might not be a good idea to (ruin it).