Friday, November 2, 2007

Sun Valley mayoral race

Questions & Answers

Wayne Willich

Age: 68

Occupation: Willich retired as an executive for the Boeing Co. after 36 years. He has several medical device patents and small companies to his credit. He has been married to his wife, Christine, for 32 years and they love to hike, fish, ski and engage in other outdoor sports. "We support many local charities and are fully engaged in the community," Willich said.

Motivation for campaign: "I am running for office because the constituents in the city are calling for a change and want a candidate with real management experience and a real commitment to listen.

Jon Thorson

Age: 76

Occupation: Mayor of Sun Valley. Thorson retired as an ophthalmologist, professor and a business executive serving as the founder, president and vice president of a number of medical corporations.

Thorson and his wife, Linda, have seven kids and 14 grandchildren. He and his wife are volunteers with nearly half a dozen nonprofit organizations in the valley. "I've enjoyed calling Sun Valley my permanent home for the past twenty years—I love it here! Living here has afforded me the pleasure of participating in community activities that provides a deep sense of belonging and engagement."

Motivation for campaign: I have no ambition other than serving my community as its mayor, using the leadership qualities I possess and the common sense and diverse experience I've gained. The best decisions of government are those made in an open and transparent environment, where diversity of opinion is valued and where dissent and dialogue are equally respected."

Idaho Mountain Express Questions

1. In light of the city's linkage fee ordinance being deemed unconstitutional, what, if anything, should Sun Valley do next to promote affordable housing?

2. Where do you stand regarding Sun Valley Co. efforts to pursue paid golf, either through a Forest Service land swap or otherwise?

3. Is the city's vision for the future (as mapped out in the comprehensive plan) coming to fruition as hoped? Why or why not?

4. How do you view the city of Sun Valley's role in the context of regional planning?

5. Should the city of Sun Valley adopt a waste-management ordinance that aims to increase recycling?

Wayne Willich

1. Public money can be used to provide housing for first responders. There

are solutions to the broader problem that rely on non-profit charitable

trusts, which I prefer and which seem to be working in other parts of Idaho.

2. Every effort should be put forth to assist the Sun Valley Company in

achieving a year round resort experience.

3. The Comprehensive Plan has a series of initiatives laid out for implementation. If

elected, I would review those to see which are candidates for moving forward

and articulate those for broad agreement with the electorate.

4. The city of Sun Valley should be a full participant in the regional

planning process. Especially with regard to transportation.

5. Every community should have a recycling program that meets their needs.

Sun Valley can achieve one without a punitive fee structure.

Jon Thorson

1. The linkage ordinance is only one of the tools to mitigate the affordable housing burden presented by new development (emphasis on new). Going forward, we intend to consider the adoption of impact fees and, in collaboration with other Idaho resort cities, request enabling legislation that facilitates the development of workforce housing (for example, by legitimizing exactions such as linkage fees) .

2. I strongly favor an additional nine holes to complete Sun Valley Resort's second eighteen-hole amenity. Thirty-six holes of magnificent golf would create a world-class sports experience and unique tourism asset. Furthermore, the proposed land swap with the federal government would create forty-plus acres of protected wetlands at River Run that would become an eco-park accessible to visitors and residents.

3. Yes. The 2005 Comprehensive Plan is a citizen-developed vision for our community. It contains some 160+ action items that ensure the plan becomes a reality. Thus far, 43 of these action items have either been completed or are in process. We will move relentlessly forward to execute the balance of these items as prescribed by the citizens.

4. Our city's role is critical to and necessary for the well-being of our community and the community at large; major issues such as regional transportation, affordable housing, protection of clean air and the supply of clean water, open spaces and sustainable economy require intra-governmental cooperation. None of these requisites for a healthy community can be accomplished effectively by stand-alone jurisdictions within the county -- witness the past twenty years.

5. Yes. Recycling decreases the volume of solid waste that must be hauled to remote landfills as well as reduces the acreage required to store that waste. Many earnest and informed citizens have been recycling for years; getting the city on the recycling bandwagon is the right thing to do to raise the consciousness of everyone about protecting our environment.

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