South Jordan City Council Report
Do We Need To Be Compelled To Do Good Things?
South Jordan City is a shining example of a community of people who take care of themselves, and each other. If Norman Rockwell would have spent time in South Jordan on a cold winter day, he likely could have drawn a great picture from my neighborhood of people rushing out to not only clear their own driveways, but the driveways and sidewalks of others. In my neighborhood, if you snooze, you lose the opportunity to clear your own walk.
Back in 2008, Merit Medical showed a great example on a larger scale of this kind of neighborly service when they donated $150,000 to the city for a program to get Automated External Defibrillators (or AEDs) into all police and park ranger vehicles, public facilities and public schools within South Jordan City. AEDs can potentially treat two (of several) types of cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal electrical activity in the heart) that lead to cardiac arrest. This generous donation got South Jordan’s Public Access Defibrillator program quickly off the ground and made South Jordan the place to be if you have one of those two types of cardiac arrhythmia.
About a year after this donation was made and the Public Access Defibrillator program was moving ahead, the city decided that it was in the best interest of our community to expand the program even further by passing an ordinance requiring certain types of businesses to purchase AEDs at their own expense for public access. This ordinance is going to be revisited by the city council this month for possible changes. The following are some of my thoughts in wanting to revisit this.
Even though municipal elections are non-partisan, I made no effort to hide the fact that I am a registered Republican and a conservative. As such, I subscribe to the values in the Utah Republican Party State Party Platform that:
- We believe that citizens’ needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism.
- We believe that the primary responsibility for meeting basic human needs rests with the individual, the family, and the voluntary charitable organizations.
In 1961, when speaking on the topic of socialized medicine, Ronald Reagan said, “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project.”
My fear is that an overreaching government, even with the best of intentions, can lead us down a path to socialism. There are those who are concerned that when we amend ordinances, it shows an element of weakness and bad policymaking. In an address to Moscow State University in 1988, Ronald Reagan addressed this concern when he said, “Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuing revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows us to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions.”
I truly believe South Jordan to be a community of people who take care of each other, not one that expects others to do it for them. As a community, we all pay for fire trucks and police cars and when there are other needs in the community, we have a long-standing tradition of stepping up to the plate through generosity and volunteerism. We don’t need to force these attributes on our residents or our business community. My hope is that when we revisit this ordinance, we can eliminate the unfunded mandate and find a good way to encourage voluntary and philanthropic participation (similar to Merit Medical and all of the other businesses that had AEDs before there even was an ordinance).