Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Emmer withdraws from Ketchum race

Candidate cites need for more change than 2 seats can effect

Express Staff Writer

Jay Emmer

Ketchum City Council candidate Jay Emmer has decided to pull his candidacy.

Emmer, owner of Ketchum Dry Goods clothing store, announced his decision at the outset of a Thursday, Oct. 18, candidates forum sponsored by the Idaho Mountain Express and Smoky Mountain Pizza. Following his announcement, he joined the crowd of spectators.

In a follow-up interview Monday morning, Emmer said he doesn't believe change is entirely possible on the City Council given that only two seats are open for new voices. And despite the sitting council's improvements on past Ketchum politics, more change is needed, he said.

"These (sitting council members) are good people who have facilitated positive changes in an environment where there had been very little change for a very long time," Emmer said. "The acting council and mayor are good people.

"However, because of the way that certain issues have been addressed throughout their administration, it is obvious that in order to get the large-scale positive changes that this community needs we either need a radical change in the mindset of the existing council or we need a clean slate from which to work."

Emmer said he would consider running again if it appears more dramatic change is possible.

"It's not about the politics," he said. "It's about effecting positive change. I believe in the process, and I believe in the individuals running, and I will certainly try to effect change from the outside."

He said that if the best predictor of future performance is past behavior, Mayor Randy Hall and Councilmen Baird Gourlay and Ron Parsons, all of whom will serve two more years, could create a divided council with newly elected council members.

"The candidates are saying the same thing," Emmer said. "Things need to change."

Emmer repeatedly called for more change while simultaneously offering a nod to the acting council.

"There have been more changes in the past few years than there had been in the 10 to 12 years prior," he said. "In my opinion, the changes that have been made have less impact and less meaning. They're not necessarily insignificant. We need to look at big picture items."

As of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Ketchum city clerk's office, Emmer had not filed paperwork to have his name removed from the Nov. 6 ballot.

Candidate Jeff Inman, who has not actively campaigned, had also requested paperwork to pull his name from ballots, but the clerk's office had not received a response by Tuesday afternoon.

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