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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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For the week of Feb 5 - 12, 2002


Request for referendum
on election denied

Express Staff Writer

After declining two weeks ago to repeal the city’s new election ordinance, the Ketchum City Council unanimously voted Monday night to move forward on repealing a provision for runoff elections.

Monday’s hearing was the first on the proposed amendment. Two weeks ago, Mayor Ed Simon proposed the city repeal the entire ordinance, which establishes seats for which candidates must run rather than the previously used winners-take all system. But the city council declined to move forward on Simon’s proposal.

Though council members said they are unanimously against holding runoff elections, they continued to disagree on the system that should be used.

From the outset of the debate nearly a year ago, Councilman Maurice Charlat adamantly opposed the new, designated seats system. His fellow council members consistently advocated the new system.

Citizens who commented on the issue over the course of the past year consistently sided with Charlat and opposed the new system.

"You, each and every one of you, seem to have your minds made up," Warm Springs resident and Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commissioner Rod Sievers said. "You chose, for your own personal beliefs, to represent your constituency."

Sievers suggested the city ask voters to decide the issue on an advisory ballot. Charlat agreed, and challenged his colleagues consider the matter.

"Are you opposed to letting the people decide, or do you have superior knowledge over the electorate?" Charlat asked. "If we don’t let the people decide, then we’ve said: ‘We have superior knowledge. We’re going to decide.’"

Councilman Randy Hall was the only official to answer Charlat’s charge. He said the city should not take lightly its ability to issue referendums. He called the city’s decision to ask voters if the city should keep or get rid of the Wagon Days shootout gang performance "a mistake."

The city council will hold a second reading Feb. 18 of the ordinance to repeal runoff elections.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.