Draper City’s Abuse of Power that would make Washington proud!

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The Draper City council steamrolled it’s citizens last night with an abusive display of power and disdain for its own residents with a series of political moves that one would expect from Washington, not your city council.

I was able to attend the city council meeting last night in Draper, Utah.   I am not a resident of this city, however circumstances brought me to this meeting that I had previously not planned to attend.  While sitting in this room I listened as one resident after another stood to speak in regards to a proposed street project along a rural and historical stretch of Draper City. 

The common theme throughout this meeting from the residents, one they were all in agreement with, was that this stretch of roadway needed to be widened with a sidewalk, curb and gutter.  Apparently with a new elementary school nearby, many children were forced to walk along a section of this street with no sidewalk on their way to and from school.

The issue the residents were raising with Mayor Troy Walker (who was elected in November and had served as a city council member since 2008) and the city council was the amount of widening the city wanted to perform upon this section of roadway. Here are the bullet points of the meeting that I gathered while listening to this debate:

  • The City Council wants to widen the road wider than any other in the neighborhood, removing very old trees that line the roadway,  destroying historical integrity of the area and taking residents property through eminent domain.
  • Many residents in the area expressed concern that the wider project would make it impossible to park in their own driveways as the roadway would encroach to their front door.
  • Every resident who spoke out in this meeting that live along this area would prefer the street be widened to match others in the neighborhood.  This proposal would keep the trees and help preserve the historical integrity in this community.
  • Last October PRIOR to the elections the city council voted to place a citizens advisory and review board over this project to gain input and solutions from the residents.  The review board and residents unanimously approved of the project with the same size streets as currently within the neighborhood and preserving the integrity of the community.
  • The Citizens also raised the issue that with a wider road in a residential neighborhood that it would create an increased speeding problem in the area adjacent to the elementary school.
  • The city council has not taken any of the citizens concerns into consideration since the vote in October PRIOR to the elections was taken
  • The city council voted UNANIMOUSLY to move forward with the wider project, destroying the neighborhood, its trees and it’s residents property values.
  • The City attorney was admonished by the city council to begin litigation against any resident who stood in the way of this project beginning immediately.

The gamesmanship of this Mayor and it’s city council to appear cooperative in this issue with its residents simply to win the election and then steamroll this project through WITHOUT approval from it’s residents whom they are supposed to represent is appalling. 

From an outsiders viewpoint, yet one who has wonderful fond memories of Draper as a child, the proposal from the residents is far more logical, appealing and reasonable. The proposal from the residents is much safer for the children, preserves the community and comes with a lesser cost to widen as well as maintain the roadway and increased greenbelt in the long term.

The vile this city council showed towards it’s residents left me wondering what do these individual city council members stand to gain in this process.  What is the personal payoff for these elected officials to so boldly violate the trust and the will of the residents who elected them?  Why the admonition of the city council to the city attorney to begin litigation against those residents opposed to this project who will be directly impacted from the despicable actions of this city council?

I believe that the residents of Draper should unite in a recall election of these individuals and remove them from office immediately.  If these individuals are willing to violate the trust they have been given, what will be their next abuse of power?  All Draper residents should be deeply worried.

Self Reflection in Others

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Our characters are defined by the way we act and treat others. Self worth comes from how one views themselves in this world, typically doing so in comparison to others.  These two items are inextricably intertwined with one another.  If our lives are spent helping and lifting one another we can more easily see positive within ourselves.  Those who condemn, judge and ridicule others are prone to see the negative within themselves. 

If one truly desires to shake off the bondage of self doubt, depression and despair, stop judging others for the lives they have been given and start loving and serving them.  There are many who will sit on their perceived thrones and judge others for situations in that persons life they know nothing about.  Many times these judgements are made by the very people whom profess to be the most Christlike so as to be socially accepted (especially in areas of a dominant religion) yet act contrary to true Christian beliefs and values.

How we view others is a reflection of how we truly view ourselves.  One may put on a false air of confidence and self assuredness  for those around them, yet they battle unseen demons within.  Compassion, empathy, and love for others creates within us an innate ability to see that in everyone around us, including and most especially within ourselves.  Have you ever noticed that those individuals in life whom are most at peace, the kindest and gentlest are also the ones who see good in everyone around them.  They are those who do not gossip nor condemn another for their situation in life.  They lift and encourage others.

Be a light unto the world and stop judging others for decisions you disagree with. You do not need to embrace the sin to love the sinner.   As you do, you will find a greater inner peace and joy than you could ever otherwise realize.

 

image:  bigstockphoto

A New Bike and the Apple Tree

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As young boys, my brothers and I desired greatly to have a bike and learn to ride them.  We dreamed of feeling the wind in our faces and racing each other around the block.  Our friends all had bikes and we watned one too.  We were young and didn’t comprehend that they cost money to buy.  We didn’t have much money, we were not given new bikes, my dad built us our bikes out of old broken and salvaged bicycles he would find. 

I remember watching him nightly as he would take the bikes completely apart, replacing broken parts on one bike with good parts from another.  As always, with any project he started, the time and detail he spent making sure everything was perfect was unmatched and his workmanship was better than anything we could have been given new. 

When my dad finished with each of our bikes, they were shinier and better built than anything we could have gotten out of some box in a store. We were excited and anxious to learn to ride them.  Our eyes were filled with wonder and imagination as we watched the painstaking effort and detail spent on each bike.  This combined with the excitement and anticipation we felt as young boys has left a profound imprint upon my mind.

We learned to ride our bike around the old apple tree in our front yard.  The rotten apples would make for a bumpy journey around and around the tree as my dad dutifully chased after us.  There were many crashes and bruises as we continued circling that tree, yet the excitement of learning to ride our magnificent bikes made the challenge of learning seem null and void. 

We felt so invigorated as we learned to keep our balance along that bumpy grass and we gained a great sense of balance and gratitude along the way.  We learned to ride on that grass and around that tree to soften our landing when we would crash.  My father knew we would crash and fall many times and wanted to keep us as safe as possible as we learned. 

Finally we graduated to the street in front of our home.   My dad would run behind us holding the back of our seats before letting go. We would find ourselves on our own journey down the streets imagining to ourselves that we were racing the train that passed in front of our home. 

Eventually we were off and riding on our own.  We would spend hours each day riding around the neighborhood.  We were cowboys and indians racing across the plains on our horses to the police officers in the tv show CHiP’s.  We would race along the canals and jump the banks.  We lived on our bikes in the summer months and very seldom crashed.  We had develped great balance and coordination riding over the old apples in the front yard.

I fondly reminisce about this time in my life. The memories of my father running behind us and my mother proudly watching us as we took flight on our bikes flood my mind.  I cannot help but think of the lessons that were taught during that important time in my life.  Lessons of gratitude, humility, trust and perseverance are among some of the things we learned. 

I learned that a loving parent allows us to journey along a sometimes bumpy path in life for our own growth and development.  Paths that make us more balanced and capable.  I learned how loving parents desire to give us those things that we want, yet sometimes they require great effort and sacrifice to obtain.  I learned to be grateful for the gifts that I have been given and to live within my means.  Sometimes in life, the things we desire the most must be torn apart, cleaned, repaired, painted and reassembled where they become new again and stronger than before.

There are so many lessons about life that were taught when we learned to ride a bike.  I am grateful for wise parents who taught us by example and not just word.  I am grateful to know that each time I fall, I can get back up stronger than before.  Lessons for life learned around the old apple tree.

 

image courtesy of free clipart

 

 

A Broken Heart Never Heals – A Fathers Heartache part 15

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Darkness at times seems to overwhelm me as I search the deepest crevices of my shattered and broken heart.  My heartache and deepest yearnings to see and talk to my children daily overwhelm me at times as if being engulfed by the tsunami of emotions and grief.

Only those whom have walked this painful road and carried this cross can comprehend the overwhelming sadness that accompanies one on this journey.  The broken heart that never heals.  I wonder daily if I will ever feel whole again in this life or if my heart will always feel this unbearable loss and sadness. 

I try to focus on the many amazing, wonderful and positive blessings in my life, my dearest little Bella and my Beloved Karla.  The joy and happiness that they bring to me is immeasurable and the gratitude for these blessings match the emotions of that tsunami of sadness.  The rollercoaster of emotions like the high tides flow in and out of my heart daily.

How can one moment I feel so happy and joy with these blessings in my life while my heart is breaking from missing my other children so much.  The dichotomy that exists as a result can prove difficult at best to resolve and find peace.

I miss my children when they are away.  My soul hungers to hold them and smile with them. 

My heart full and at the same time shattered and broken.

Monday Meeting — Carl

A great story about how one person’s actions can change the life of another

Soul Gatherings

Carl was a quiet man. He didn’t talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake.

Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.

Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us.

He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII.

Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister’s residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

gardener

He was well into his 87th year when the very…

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Crippled by the past

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So many thoughts and memories
Of our past it’s not quite clear
So many filled with wonder
Others nightmares filled with fear
Many there are who ponder
Ever present in the past
Crippled by the memories
In their minds that always last
Yet life is full of wonder
Pressing forward everyday
Leaving behind the memories
Looking to a brighter day
For good times and some bad ones
In our lives will always be
While looking to the future
With our eyes we’ll clearly see

A Hearts Last Desire

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It was a cold and stormy wintery night as Bill tiredly climbed into his car to head for home.  Work had been exhausting as Bill navigated the slippery snow covered roads leading to his home, where his devoted wife and 2 boys anxiously waited for his return. Bill’s mind raced as his thoughts were on work and the many tasks that were before him. Bill had always dreamed of being an executive and was driven by the many deadlines and the extreme overtime he gave to his employer.  Bill’s satisfaction in life came from his work as he took tremendous pride in his career.

Meanwhile across town, Myron had quickly left his work anxiously longing to get home to his sweetheart and adoring children waiting for him.  Unable to contain his excitement for the weekend fast approaching, Myron mentally planned out the weekend and the time with his family that was most sacred.

The treacherous roads were barely navigable while the two men made their journey home.

Bill quickly approached the bend in the road where the ice beneath the tires caused him to spin out of control as he slammed into the oncoming car headed in the opposite direction.  The impact so great that neither car was recognizable, the force of the collision ejected both drivers from their vehicles, 

Bill and Myron were rushed into the hospital as the doctors frantically went to work to save their lives.  As both men lay there, unconscious and unmoving, a bright light appeared before the men.  It was immediately discernible that their Savior stood before them.  Both men recognized now that they were dead as both pleaded for more time with their loved ones on earth.

Greatly desiring to return to their families, Myron turned to the Lord and asked him if we would please allow him more time to share with his loved ones on earth. The Lord replied, “You have been a faithful and loving steward for your family all these years, they have been your life and your priority.  Your time spent with them was never wasted nor squandered as you understood its importance to them and yourself. As a result of your priorities and proven desire to love and be with them, you may go and enjoy more of this time that was so wisely spent.”

Bill desiring the same then made the same petition to the Lord to which the Lord replied ” you have squandered the time and love that you have been given on this earth. You have chased money and fortune.  Your family was never a priority on earth when you were alive, why would you desire now to go back to that which was so unimportant in the first place?”  Bill hung his head and replied, “I took for granted that my time with them would always be tomorrow, I wanted to give them everything they asked for and needed.”  “Did you not recognize that they needed you more than they needed the money and power you sought for?” asked the Lord.  Quietly Bill replied, ” I was blinded by the foolish desire for wealth while neglecting my most precious treasure, my family.”   The Lord gently and lovingly replied, “your time on earth is up Bill, your family will be watched over and protected from above”