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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Our View

Express primary election endorsements

Voters who go to the polls to vote in the May 25 primary election will take sides in one of two political family fights going on in the local Democratic and Republican parties.

Bellevue voters will decide whether to raise property taxes.

Democrats will choose between two candidates for the Board of Blaine County Commissioners. With no Republican challenger on deck for the fall election, voters in the primary will decide who will occupy that seat for the next four years.

The winner of the race for sheriff in the Republican Primary will go on to face a Democratic challenger in the fall.

The newspaper’s endorsements are:


Bellevue tax increase: Vote yes. This is wise and necessary if residents want a safe and decent city to live in.

Bellevue’s budget is in desperate straits. Thus, this desperate proposal to repair battering by stingy state restrictions on budget increases. These have left the city to face the crying need for better city services—water, police, fire, streets and the like—without enough money.

Potholes, recurring water problems, and a police force spread too thin are evidence that the city’s annual budget of $1 million is not enough. Further evidence: In order to get its main fire engine pumping, firefighters have to engage its power takeoff unit—the gears that drive the pump--by getting underneath the chassis and whacking the gears with a hammer. That’s unacceptable and a threat to the safety of Bellevue’s homes.

The tax increase is significant—between $180 and $216 on the average Bellevue property. But Bellevue homeowners have experienced significant increases in property values that should help offset the modest $276,667 in new taxes that will be collected annually.


For Blaine County Commissioner: Tom Bowman would bring needed change to the county. He has the knowledge, the experience, and the vision to lead the county board out of its current reactive posture on most issues and untangle it from debilitating webs of details.

For example, instead of "chasing growth," by enacting controls after installations of cell towers, berms, confined animal feed operations, and wind towers are already in place, Bowman wants to plan for them in advance. He also wants definitive development requirements to streamline approvals and reduce lawsuits.

Other positions we like:

Affordable Housing: He wants to reinvigorate the push for affordable housing by requiring a percentage of new subdivisions to be devoted to affordable housing. He wants to revitalize the Housing Authority and set goals for housing stocks.

Airport: He’s convinced it must be moved out of Hailey. He wants to weigh the economic impacts on tourism before determining a new location. He wants Hailey to have the final say on whether the existing airport should remain open.

New Jail: He recognizes the need and wants Hailey’s input on where it should be located.

Mass transit: He wants a new highway designed to accommodate car pooling and mass transit as traffic increases.

Carey: He sees a better economy based on newly emerging businesses there.

County economy: He wants to prepare for an eventual "post-development" economy.

County administrator: He favors hiring one specifically to work on getting grants, human resource issues, and consistent management, which could save money and free county commissioners to work on larger policy questions.

Dark skies ordinance: He says it should have been done by now.

Nursing Home: He wants planning for a new location to be done in public.


For Blaine County Sheriff: Vying for his fifth term, Walt Femling is the candidate with experience in this race.

He has successfully operated a perennially under-funded, under-staffed department and faced growth pressures that would have convinced anyone with less tenacity, skill, and regard for the valley to depart long ago. All Blaine County voters should have the opportunity to assess his fitness in the general election this fall.

He has reached out into the community at-large. He has successfully sought grants and promoted the DARE and PAL programs for kids.

He has a common-sense plan for construction of a new jail to be built privately on county property and leased back to the county. The plan will not increase property taxes.

Femling favors a technological fix that will consolidate existing police and fire dispatch centers immediately, while buying time for leaders to decide if, and where, a new consolidated dispatch center should be located, and how it should be administered.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

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.