The Sophia Report (November 3, 2014)
I just read in the news this morning that an LDS church was burglarized in Midvale, and the police investigating it are considering it a hate crime. One window was broken, and the couple arrested said they hated the church and wanted to destroy the building.
Please, people, we need to respect people's houses of worship, whether you agree with their religion being on your spiritual path or not. Any crime done against another simply because you do not like their values is a hate crime and needs to be treated as such, with stiffer penalties.
This reminds me of the Unitarian Church massacre in Texas, where a group of people were slain because the church supported same-sex marriage.
Hate crimes are not on the path of love and as a representative of Midvale and Utah, I have zero tolerance for them, whether they are done because of someone's race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, health, etc.
Only the morally depraved prey on the weak. We must stand together as one to protect our identities. Perhaps it's time to introduce hate crimes protection into our ordinances and our legislation to protect our community.
This last month I joined both the Community Council of Midvale and the Board of Directors for the Utah Stonewall Democrats. There have been numerous events, including the Equality Utah Allies Dinner, where my friend Troy Williams was assigned the executive director, and I got to meet Laverne Cox the following morning for breakfast. My Mayor, JoAnn Seghini, was presented the Eleanor Roosevelt Award by the democratic party, and we had a rally and memorial service because same-sex marriage became legal in Utah with the Supreme Court refusing to hear the case. Finally, I was able to work with the Regional Director of the Social Security Administration, Sean Brune, to help get the ball rolling to have my name changed and that of 1300 other couples. I am now Sophia Hawes-Tingey--completely.
Things are warming up for the next legislative session, and we can expect to see a number of backlash bills and resistance to public accommodations protection. There is already talk of reintroducing the dreaded "bathroom bill," redefinition of marriage as "pairage," and a bill that claims that religious freedom extends to government official duties and public for-profit spaces. The latter bill would allow government officials to opt out of solemnizing a marriage ceremony, for instance, if they felt it would go against their religious beliefs. Expect plenty of rallies and the need for lobbying around those bills. In addition, the World Congress of Families, a prettily-labeled hate group, has decided they want to host their first-ever conference on US Soil in Utah. This is the group that was behind the Ugandan "kill-the-gays-bill," certainly not a group that espouses Utah values. Expect protests to be organized for that event.
Also on the rise in the news seems to be more and more cases of instances of "suicide-by-cop." Are these really suicides, are they mismanaged crisis calls, a result of poor training, or a result of pandemic paranoia? I think the number of instances is unacceptable and a study needs to be commissioned to find the root cause of the problem.
And then there's Utopia. Midvale, as one of the cities is spending $992,000 a year on an incomplete system, with the city's budget cut so badly that the single-family residential districts are suffering from lack of overdue maintenance. The residential take rate in Midvale is only about 14%, where a profitable take rate occurs at 30%. Macquerie is offering to build out the entire system in 3 years to operate at a profit for 30 years. The trade-off is a proposed mandatory $20-30 residential fee, something that has residents up in arms. The solution is to go back to Macquerie with a counter-proposal to have them build out the business districts in 1 year, and as the anticipated take rate goes up in the residential footprints, build there. The bandwidth needs will eventually reach the point where the cost-benefit ratio will justify building out to the districts, but not quite yet. The other key is to make sure that XFinity and other ISPs are offered a collaborative agreement to function as vendors on top of the provided infrastructure--a deal that would be hard for them to refuse. The most expensive part of IT is building out an infrastructure, and any reasonable provider would be foolish to not piggyback on existing infrastructure.
Tonight is a free special screening of Lador Valor, the Kristin Beck story at the Sorenson Unity Center starting at 7 pm. I hope you can make it, as my friend Kristin Beck will be there, and I am looking forward to a hug and maybe a short conversation with her. Tuesday is election day. Please make sure you vote if you have not already done so. This is an off-year election, so every vote counts even more. Furthermore, not voting is not rebellion; it's surrender. Once you have voted, head up to the Radisson for the Victory Celebration from 7 pm to 11 pm. I'll be there, co-hosting a room for the Women's Democratic Caucus and the Utah Stonewall Democrats on the third floor.
Finally, as far as I know, on Wednesday, November 5, I will be the first person sworn into office in the new Midvale Municipal Center on 7505 S Holden in Midvale. The council meets at 7 pm and I expect to be officially sworn in shortly after. Please come by to show your support if you can. It was just a week and a half ago that I attended the ribbon cutting at the new facility. The building is expecting to be in service for the next 35 years.
On a sad note, I lost my Aunt a couple weeks ago, who was the last of my father's generation. I remember her opening her house to us every Thanksgiving and Christmas, her pecan pies made from pecans growing from trees in the back yard, rolls, green bean casserole, banana cream pie, turkey, and on and on that she would prepare. She was the embodiment of welcoming on the holidays. She and her brothers also embodied love and service. All three brothers served in the military: My Uncle Wayne and my Uncle Rayburn served in the army in WWII, and my father served in the Air Force in the Vietnam War. I served in the Navy during Operation Desert Storm. My Aunt Dorothy dedicated her time as an elementary school teacher, a Sunday school teacher, and helped out with the Senior Citizen's Center. My Uncle Rayburn served as the City Inspector for Phoenix after he retired from the Army Corp of Engineers, and my father would drive out in icy weather in his Suburban to pull people out of ditches, acting as regional commissioner of the Boy Scouts and coaching little league baseball in his spare time. My Uncle Wayne died from epileptic shock, shortly after he left the service.
These holidays will be hard for many of us, staring at an empty place at the table. I have lost three friends and an Aunt this year, so I know it is time--past time--to come together for a loving embrace.
In love and service,
Councilwoman, Community Council of Midvale
Member, Board of Directors, Utah Stonewall Democrats