a hearty political season with lots of contested races. Voters have real
choices in this election, especially in Ketchum. For this and their
considerable public spirit, we thank all the candidates.
endorsing candidates, the Idaho Mountain Express looked for those who are
well educated on local issues, who have learned the lessons of other
resort communities, and who have growth management strategies better than
drawbridges or paving the valley over for parking lots. We looked for
candidates who would balance public comment with common sense. We looked
for candidates with the courage to lead and innovate.
at balancing interests on each city council. In races where incumbents are
challenged, we looked for compelling reasons for a change.
Mayor, Dave Hutchinson: No
candidate matches Hutchinson’s knowledge of the city or his record of
service. In seven years on the Planning and Zoning Commission and eight
years on the City Council, he stood for the best for residents, the
economy and the future. He led ably through controversies on downtown
development, traffic and housing. He crafted fair-minded resolutions for
thorny issues. He steadfastly rejected proposals that would sell the
city¾ and the valley¾ short for the benefit of a few.
have vilified Hutchinson because he is a Realtor and developer. It’s a
red herring. In 15 years of city service, Hutchinson recused himself on
the two projects in the city in which he had a direct financial interest¾
the legal definition of conflict.
any candidate with conflict of interest because of their occupation is
half-baked. Carried to its logical conclusion, the assertion would prevent
anyone with a job or local investment from ever holding public office.
should elect this smart, informed and committed man.
City Council, Seat 1, Baird Gourlay: As
a local retailer with more than two years on the Planning and Zoning
Commission, Gourlay leads the field by several lengths in this
three-person race for an open seat. He’s the only one who studied city
issues well enough to offer insightful replies to questions about budget,
taxation, housing, open space and transportation. Gourlay says he wants to
fill the need for affordable community housing and to find relief for
seasonal traffic congestion. He says the city can balance the private
property interests in Warm Springs Golf Course with the desire to preserve
City Council, Seat 2, Christina Potters: An incumbent of eight years,
backed by four years on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Potters never
fails to look at how development will affect sense of community, families,
recreation and history. A seasoned self-employed mom, she understands the
economic challenges facing working families. Her intuitive approach
balances the sharp-penciled just-the-facts decision-makers on the council.
She supports affordable community housing, although she voted against the
Fields at Warm Springs. Her top priority is insuring affordable
recreation, including a covered skate park and public pool. She is a
budget watchdog, yet says the city must pursue transportation
City Council, Seat 4, Linda O’Shea: When
it comes to experience, knowledge and proven performance, there is no
contest in this race. Six-year incumbent Linda O’Shea is the only real
choice for this seat. She’s bright and bold. A handful of high-profile
detractors recruited a nice greenhorn opponent to run against her.
However, a change offers voters only the chance to pay for on-the-job
training on city issues. O’Shea’s positions on taxes, budget,
development, open space have all been well-supported by the Sun Valley
public. There is simply no good reason to discharge this incumbent.
City Council, Seat 3, Kevin Laird: When
it comes to city matters, Laird is a steady 12-year incumbent. He would
never rock the boat¾ unless it was to save it from capsizing. A calm,
conservative balanced-budget sort, Laird let’s nothing ruffle his
feathers. He says he finds his answers to tough issues in the public
process. While he’s never in front of the parade, he always knows where
it’s going. Laird has proven over the years that he is the right person
for Sun Valley.
Council, Martha Burke: Burke
is an eight-year incumbent. Her opponent said at the outset of the race
that he doesn’t disagree with Burke on any issue. In a public forum,
Burke asked him why he decided to run. He said he ran because he wants to
serve. So does she. Absolutely no reason for a change here.