Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Four on Ketchum Council ballot

Two challengers face off against two incumbents

Express Staff Writer

Experience in local politics and a connection to the city are attributes touted by the four candidates running for two open seats on the Ketchum City Council.

Below is a summary of the council contenders and an examination of what their priorities are for the city.

Nan Emerick

Nan Emerick was appointed to the Ketchum City Council in November 1993. She was later elected to a four-year term but resigned in May 1998 to move to Hailey. She has served on the Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission since its formation in 2004.

She is a real estate broker and owner of Sun Valley Executive Services.

If elected, Emerick would consider examining Ketchum's construction mitigation ordinance to help ease the pressure on pedestrians and traffic.

"We've lost some sense of community," she said. "I think everyone is in shock with what's going on with all the new construction at once."

She also said she does not support building a new City Hall.

"We have to take care of our community first," she said. "If City Hall is dangerous, those (hazards) should have been taken care of immediately."

Priority should be given to rectifying what she believes are hazards on the city streets, such as too few sidewalks.

She also wants to put a more approachable face on city government.

"I want everybody to be treated with respect and not feel intimidated by the process," she said.

"I've lived and worked here, just like the people I'd represent," she added. "I bring to the table my longevity to this valley. My door has always been open. If people want to talk ... I'm here. I know the ups and downs."

Anne Corrock

Anne Corrock has served on Ketchum's Planning & Zoning Commission since January 2004. She ran for a City Council seat four years ago, but lost to Baird Gourlay in a designated-seat election.

She spearheaded a successful initiative petition to have the city revert to open-seat elections, wherein all candidates compete against one another for the available seats.

Her primary concern has to do with the city budget, "because the direction of the city is set by the budget," she said.

Downtown revitalization and the capital improvement plan are also priorities.

"Let's not drop the ball on those," she said.

She also wants to look at revising zoning codes "so standards clearly reflect the intent," she said.

"I'm not afraid of hard decisions and I work hard at basing my decision on our codes," she said, adding, "I have no conflicts of interest."

Baird Gourlay

Baird Gourlay was appointed to Ketchum's Planning & Zoning Commission in 1998 and was elected to the City Council in 2001.

He has been a partner at Paul Kenny's Ski & Sports since 1981.

He doesn't feel the city's financial planning has focused enough on "blackening the budget," he said. The city should be putting more money away for things like the capital improvement plan and affordable housing, he said.

"On the revenue side, we've worked on a number of fees and bringing the fees into balance with the services we provide," he said. "For a long time we were undercharging."

One of the aspects he wants to look at is charging for snow removal.

"On the expense side of things, I think the (city's) benefit package is overly generous," he said. "The deductibles are too low and the family coverage is too inclusive."

Most importantly, he said, the city needs to eliminate duplication of services, like fire and police coverage and the emergency services center, with Sun Valley. He wants to examine merging the fire and police departments, while contracting out some of the work to Sun Valley.

Gourlay said that being a "ski bum" and a small business owner make him a good representative of the community.

"I'm a family man with a mom-and-pop business," he said. "I will continue to lead a path down the road of community rights and economic vitality, and I invite others to get on the bus."

Ron Parsons

Ron Parsons was appointed to the City Council in May 2005 after serving on the city's Planning & Zoning Commission for two years.

He served with the Ketchum Fire Department for 25 years, and was captain for 18 years. He retired from the department in 2001 but worked as a volunteer until his appointment to the City Council.

He has been a member of the Sun Valley Ski Patrol since 1979 and is self-employed as a property manager.

"I've been in jobs where I've been around the citizens of Ketchum and interacted with most of the local citizens, and I've always enjoyed that," he said. "I want to serve the citizens in this (political) capacity now."

His focus is on growth issues and providing affordable housing.

"I want to see more people living and working here," he said. "I think we're out of balance. Instead of people going south every day (commuting), I'd like to get our local population back."

Parsons said his ability to gather information and make decisions based from that information make him a good candidate.

"(My) decisions are not based on biases or preconceived ideas," he said. "I give people a fair shake."

"I have lived in Ketchum for a long time," he added. "I love Ketchum. I want to see it continue to be a great place to work and live. Whatever I can do to help that, that's why I'm running. I want to see maintained what we have here. I want to see Ketchum succeed."

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