Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lamb and Briscoe win; Boand ousted

Chase narrowly beats Adam for 2-year Sun Valley seat

Express Staff Writer

Dewayne Briscoe Joan Lamb

After a steady stream of voters descended on Sun Valley City Hall Tuesday, Nov. 6, there will be a significant turnover in leadership.

Sun Valley City Council elections included a three-way race for two full-term City Council seats between incumbent Blair Boand, challenger Dewayne Briscoe and Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Joan Lamb. Lamb, who earned 260 votes, and Briscoe, who earned 244 votes, will fill the four-year seats. Boand was narrowly, but summarily ousted in his re-election bid, receiving only 233 votes.

In the race for a two-year council term between incumbent David Chase and challenger Milt Adam. Chase, owner of Sun Valley Online, retained his two-year seat, beating Adam by a slim margin of 245 votes to 238.

The city counted votes from 901 registered voters Tuesday, with 170 absentee ballots. The two-way race had a total of 483 votes, nearly 54 percent of the electorate. As of press time, the city had not broken down the number of voters who cast a ballot for the two four-year seats.

"It was a bigger turnout than last May," said Ann Carter, a volunteer working the election. "This must be a candidate issue."

One of the major issues became a debate over Briscoe's eligibility as a candidate, a hurdle he soundly overcame by the end of election day.

Briscoe denied allegations that he might be ineligible as a candidate and considered such suggestions as an unfair slam on his campaign. He said he and his supporters were "very unhappy" about the way he had been treated in the press, the issue detracting from real political issues surrounding the election. Now, he will have four years to address broader issues facing the city, including protection of the gateway to the city, one of his campaign promises.

Part of Briscoe and Adam's campaigns were arguments that the city could make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars, which some voters supported.

"I hope that money is spent properly," said voter DJ Cahen. "Sun Valley needs to get somebody in here to spend it wisely."

Other voters were sensitive to the security of their votes, surprised to find pencils being supplied to check choices.

"I was interested that there was a pencil in there tied to a string," said Marylyn Pauley. "I don't think that I can be absolutely sure that my ballot couldn't be erased or changed."

Major campaign issues included debate over how the city should help to provide affordable housing, if at all. Where Adam said that Sun Valley should contract with the private sector for housing development in a lease agreement, Chase argued that the city could be involved in a legislative solution that could include bargaining for federal land to produce housing. How the city should interact with Sun Valley Co. where growth issues are concerned was also debated, with Adam recommending pursuing the status quo and Lamb, Boand and Chase advocating for more economic diversity. Briscoe warned against policies that would result in the city looking like a company town.

Voters who took to the polls not only hoped that their vote would help push their candidate to victory, they also felt that voting empowers citizens to challenge their government to serve their interests.

"I think everybody should vote," said Patti Sheehan. "If you don't vote, you can't crab. If you vote, you can crab after the election."

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