I've just ended my volunteer term on the Utah Transit Authority Board of Trustees because the Legislature eliminated that system of oversight. I was appointed by House Speaker Greg Hughes. The day that happened, a majority of people in the state gagged on their Postum because I'm a screaming liberal, Democrat, socialist member of the LGBTQ community and he's a screaming, heterosexual, cisgender, married Republican male.
Shortly after the announcement, a married couple and past clients of mine called about selling their home. It was odd because we usually meet at the home, but they insisted they come to my office. These liberal, tree-hugging, crystal-licking hippies walked in with faces red and arms crossed and told me they were severing their relationship with me because I was "bosom buddies" and "played golf" with someone they believed to be nothing short of Satan. Well, I've never considered a male a "bosom buddy" and I don't know if Hughes plays golf, but I do know that I gladly reach across the aisle and shake his hand at least half of the time when he's legislating up on the hill. I met him and his business partner years ago when all of us were pioneers in The Gateway district and small-office neighbors. He's the product of a big town back East and was reared by a single mom. He was a trouble child who got into boxing and cleaned up his young life ... and well, the rest is history. I am grateful for our random friendship and the positive things I learned from him about the other side of the fence from people who don't usually vote the same way I do.
What did I learn as a board member during the past two years? 1. We are blessed with a really great mass transit system along the Wasatch Front compared with other cities our same size; 2. The trustees I served with were a group made up of volunteer citizens like me and mayors/officials from along the UTA routes who cared just as much as I did that our employees were treated fairly and the public got the best transit system; 3. That most of the public does not use mass transit, and few, if any, make comments in person or online to the board or staff; 4. UTA and Salt Lake City could do a better job at letting visitors, convention-goers and locals know that mass transit is always free downtown; and 5. If we taxed evil polluting gas correctly, we could pay for free public transit in this state.
Thanks for the opportunity to learn and serve and I will forever be an advocate for the people who work at UTA and for free mass transit in this state!