Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Two challengers enter Ketchum council race

Corrock, Emerick will try to unseat incumbents

Express Staff Writer

A Planning and Zoning commissioner and a former City Council member have announced their candidacies for positions on the Ketchum City Council, bringing to four the number of people running for the two available seats.

Anne Corrock and Nan Emerick are challenging the two incumbent council members Ron Parsons and Baird Gourlay in the Nov. 8 municipal election.

Corrock, 49, owns a hair salon and has been a Ketchum resident for 35 years. She has served on Ketchum's P&Z since January 2004, and said she's running for a council seat so she can tackle more diverse issues.

"Ketchum is my hometown," she said Monday. "Three generations of my family live here and I have a passion for this town. (But) I'm extremely concerned about the direction it's going."

She said the vitality of downtown Ketchum, growth, parking, housing, historic preservation and the city's capital improvement plan are among her main concerns.

"Our capital improvement plan is at the top of the list," she said. "I think the council needs to work together to make sure we're prioritizing correctly."

She said the budget to accomplish that has not always been in place.

"For the last decade the city has done studies, paid consultants, given developers incentives and basically looked to others to find a solution to these issues," Corrock said in a news release. "Yet the issues are still before us and growing. It is time for the city to step up to the plate, get fiscally responsible, plan for our future and provide for our own needs. We need to come up with the solutions, not just the problems. We need to get proactive."

Corrock ran for a City Council seat four years ago, losing to Gourlay in a designated-seat election.

She started an initiative petition to have the city revert to open-seat elections and worked for two years to accomplish her goal.

In designated-seat elections, candidates must run for a specific seat, while in open-seat elections all candidates compete against each other for the available seats.

"I visualize open seating more talking about issues and not going after a particular candidate," she said. "In a small town like this it just seems like a better way."

Emerick, a real estate broker and owner of Sun Valley Executive Services, has lived in the Wood River Valley since 1976.

Former Mayor Guy Coles appointed her to the Ketchum City Council in November 1993. She was later elected to a four-year term but resigned in May 1998 to move her family to Hailey.

"It was the hardest thing I ever did, resigning from City Council," she said Monday. "I miss it so badly. It makes you feel so involved."

Emerick, 54, said she still loves Hailey, in part because of the sense of community there.

"That's what I would like to see retained in Ketchum," she said. "I'm really drawn to neighborhoods. I feel we're losing some of that."

She said too many people tell her that Ketchum is changing—that their neighbors aren't the same as they used to be.

"I don't think the people have changed," she said. "It's the buildings. The more people disappear behind these big, tall buildings, the more they stop interacting."

She said the planned Wood River Community YMCA would make an ideal community gathering place. She would make affordable housing a priority to keep all members of the community around and engaged, she added.

"(Affordable housing ordinances) are not just about satisfying a requirement for a developer, but getting people living in (the units)," she said.

Her current involvement in civic affairs is as a member of the Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission, a position she has held since the commission's inception in 2004. The commission is charged mainly with advising the city on how to preserve historic structures.

"I was so happy to get that," she said. "It's such an important issue. History is who we are. History carries us from then to where we're going. If we can look back and appreciate our past, we can learn how to work for our future."

"Sometimes it's not the (historic) building itself," she added. "It's the whole concept. It's a common thread. A link."

Emerick has previously served on the boards of Idaho State Bank and Wood River Animal Shelter.

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