The recent fatal shooting of West Valley City code enforcement officer Jill Robinson forces us to acknowledge and examine the animosity that has grown in West Valley City between the residents and the Community Preservation Department.
With aggressive and predatory tactics being used by some code enforcement officers, and supervisors who use terms such as “problem child" when interacting with citizens, animosity is a likely result. Even state Sen. Karen Mayne has included “not in my backyard” attitudes in her campaign materials throughout the past 10 years over residents who may lack the resources to maintain pristine landscaping.
There is no excuse for the death of Jill Robinson. It was a senseless act that never should have happened. However, it seems that the behavior and attitudes of at least some of the code enforcement officers in West Valley City should be addressed. Unprofessional behavior from city officials does nothing to bolster a spirit of inclusivity and neighborliness. Instead, it increases the risk of open hostility.
It is time for West Valley City to re-evaluate its approach to community preservation and consider real solutions.
Estelle Stutsman, West Valley City