Friday, November 4, 2005

Praise for candidates and Bellevue's bond issue

While valley residents are out and about in the final days before the election, they should go out of their way to thank the candidates who threw their hats into the ring in Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Running for office is not for the faint of heart these days.

Most candidates campaigned on the difficult problems facing the cities and offered up their best solutions. The healthy differences among candidates are the very thing democracy needs to function. Vigorous campaigns give citizens their primary opportunity to choose directions for their cities by choosing the people who will lead them.

Uncontested races, like the ones in Hailey, foreclose the opportunity for citizens to evaluate, change or validate where their cities are headed.

Voters should miss no chance to thank candidates for their energy and participation. No matter the platform, it takes candidates to make a good democracy.


The $6 million sewer bond on Bellevue's ballot next week only looks like a question about whether the city will replace its sewer plant.

The real question is whether the city will borrow and build now, or save, build later, and pay enormous fines.

The city's plant, just 12 years old, does not meet federal standards. Why? Because federal standards changed in response to better knowledge about health risks and better technology.

The city has already imposed a rate increase of about $17 a month. Neither the plant's problems nor the increased fees will go away if voters reject the bond. The fees will be used to fix problems; it will just happen later and be a lot more expensive.

Voters should approve the bond issue and dismiss allegations that a new sewer plant will make it too easy for developers to gain greater densities through annexation. Control of annexations and developable densities will still reside with the City Council, which may decide Yea or Nay based on benefits or costs to the city. With or without annexations, the city will need a new plant.

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