Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Meet your candidates

A real plus about life in a smaller town is that local government and its leaders are not distant and inaccessible.

Just how accessible they are will be evident during the Pizza and Politics forums that will showcase candidates for municipal elections in the Wood River Valley.

Tomorrow at 6 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall, candidates for mayor and City Council will be there to appeal for votes as well as answer questions from the public that define where they would lead the city.

The same town hall-style forum will be held at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Sun Valley City Hall featuring candidates for council.

Sponsored for the past 22 years by the Idaho Mountain Express, the only non-partisan political forums in the area provide residents with a sharper focus on qualifications and platforms of candidates, as well as the up-close opportunity to compare incumbents with challengers.

The city of Ketchum is faced with extraordinary challenges as well as opportunities. The city is the hub of dramatic demographic and economic changes in the Wood River Valley.

The explosion of part-time, downtown residences in commercial areas, the lack of hotel lodging, a shortage of parking spaces, crumbling or nonexistent sidewalks, the flight of retail establishments—these are issues that are affected by policies crafted or, conversely, ignored in City Hall by the City Council.

A large turnout of residents tomorrow will send a message to the candidates that is unmistakable: Ketchum voters and residents are not complacent about their community and the direction set by their leaders.

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