Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sun Valley candidates step forward

Thorson, Boand, Lamb announce bids for office

Express Staff Writer

Jon Thorson Joan Lamb Blair Boand

With the Nov. 6 election looming, Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson and City Councilman Blair Boand announced Friday at City Hall their intentions to run for re-election. Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Joan Lamb also announced her plan to run for City Council.

Thorson is a retired ophthalmologist and pharmaceutical executive who continues to donate time as a member of the board of directors of St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, as well as to Hospice of the Wood River Valley and St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

He received his bachelor of science, masters of science and doctor of medicine from the University of Iowa. He also attended the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He has been a full-time Sun Valley resident for the past 19 years.

Thorson cited the development of the 2005 comprehensive plan, in conjunction with a committee of residents, as one the successes during his tenure as mayor.

"At least 43 of the action items set forth in the comp plan are complete or in the process of completion," Thorson said. "I am running for re-election because the comprehensive plan is not done. The remaining items must be completed to fully realize our citizens' vision."

In addition, Thorson said the city of Sun Valley needs to be about "regional planning," especially with regard to workforce housing and transportation.

Thorson said workforce housing can be a contentious issue, "but the fact is, we need mid-level managers and needed services, like police and firefighters, to live up here. "

In a written statement, Thorson said another one of his goals is to "maintain the healthy and productive relationship the City now has with Sun Valley Co."

As Thorson prepares to run for his second term as mayor, he admits he is still "on a learning curve," and credits the assistance he receives from his City Council, specifically crediting Councilman Nils Ribi for his expertise in finance.

Thorson also said he "couldn't do the job without Blair (Boand)."

"I also support Joan (Lamb)," Thorson said. "She is astute financially, a Stanford and UCLA business student. She knows about real estate. She will be a great addition."

Boand is running for his second term on the City Council. As a believer in term limits, Boand said if re-elected, this will be his last term.

"The things that intrigue me is the quality of people you get to work with," Boand said.

Boand served four years on the city Planning and Zoning Commission prior to joining the City Council. Boand said he would like to continue to serve as vice chair of the Ketchum Area Rapid Transit board.

Boand received his bachelor's in marketing and finance from Colorado State University. Professionally, he has managed several successful restaurants throughout the U.S. He continues to serve on the Sun Valley Ski Patrol, as a captain and emergency medical technician for Sun Valley Fire Department, as an Idaho state fire inspector and as a partner in Mountain Estate Property Management. He has been a full-time Sun Valley resident for the past 15 years.

"We need to work towards a fully integrated transportation system," Boand said, stating the merger with KART, Peak Bus, and Wood River Rideshare is a step in the right direction. "We've got big plans. The gondola, if that comes to bear—it will be a wonderful thing."

The idea of running a gondola from Sun Valley Co. to River Run Lodge with a possible stop in Ketchum is in the very early stages of research and at present is a conceptual idea only.

Boand said if re-elected he would continue to support affordable housing, regional cooperation between cities and will work toward reducing the valley's carbon footprint.

Joan Lamb serves as chairwoman of the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission. It's an experience she said will lend to the composition of the City Council.

"I would welcome the opportunity to use the experience I have gained in land-use planning with the city over the past four years to continue to work towards preserving the unique character of Sun Valley and its surrounding area," she said.

Lamb holds a degree in economics from Stanford University and a master's in business administration in finance and marketing from UCLA. Professionally, she was a senior executive in investment banking and corporate finance, most recently at Merrill Lynch. She volunteers with The Community School, Girl Scouts, the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and other local organizations. She has lived in Sun Valley full time since 1998.

Lamb served on the 2005 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and said she believes her experience on the P&Z will assist in "thinking proactively about the challenges before us."

Her top three priorities if elected include preserving the unique character of Sun Valley, managing growth and development and fostering regional cooperation.

Lamb said in a written statement that the city is in "a unique position as the city that contains Sun Valley Company, whose infrastructure, operations and employment are the driving economic force of the Wood River Valley, we have an ability and responsibility to help sustain their activities."

The mayor's office and three seats on the council are up for election. Councilman Lud Renick after eight years on the City Council will not seek re-election this year.

Sun Valley runs open-seat elections, meaning candidates do not run for particular seats, but instead the candidates with the most votes fill the vacant positions. This year is slightly different with Ann Agnew resigning from the council two years into her four-year term. It's a position that was filled with the appointment of Dave Chase earlier this year. Candidates will have to declare if they are running for the two open four-year seats or for the one open two-year seat, said Kelly Ek, Sun Valley city clerk. At present, Chase has not declared which seat he will pursue, if any.

Boand indicated he will run for one of the two four-year seats. Lamb will have the option of running for either the other four-year seat or the remaining two years of Agnew's tem. However, the filing period to run for election in Sun Valley will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7, and nothing will be set in stone until filings are made.

Chase said he will think about his options.

"I will have to weigh the very heavy time commitment of the council in light of the businesses I'm involved in and the priority I place on my family time," he said via e-mail. "As a regular citizen, I didn't fully appreciate how much time council roles take."

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