Friday, July 11, 2008

Recall the recall

Change can be difficult, but let's play fair. Maybe it's always been like this, as my wife and I are only on our 7th year living here in Ketchum, but it is truly a sad time in local politics when the leaders of our City are continually threatened with lawsuits and now a recall when they are considering changes desperately needed in our community. Changes that are represented by projects that happen to be in someone's backyard or neighborhood. The recent recall petition for our Mayor that is flailing around is such a clearly transparent attempt to influence the agenda of the City Council and Mayor. You'll notice that most of the first 20 signatures had addresses of 106 Irene, 132 Short Swing Lane, 160 Belmont, 160 River Street, 120 Turf Drive, 1313 Warm Springs Road, 302 Broadway Blvd, etc. Notice any commonality? I do. These addresses are in the neighborhood of the potential Warm Springs Resort and from those who oppose this Hotel proposal coming before the City Council in the coming weeks.

The signatories message seems to be clear, if you try to bring any vitality back to our community, make sure its in "their" backyard, not mine. If you don't, I'll hire lawyers to get in the way, dissemble the truth at meetings, and if that doesn't work, then we'll try to scare you by starting a recall petition. The truly broken part of this system is the petition can be based on unsubstantiated accusations and untruths and you can still get the process started. As Councilman, Baird Gourlay so eloquently said in a recent City Council meeting, the reasons stated by the petitioner for the recall are spurious and simply wrong. The only one that is even close to having a bit of reality is the "Failure to operate the City Finances within the established budget ordinance" which is only true to the extent that the Castle Rock fire caused the City to overspend their budget for a short period of time before it was reimbursed for the expenses spent on fighting the fire.

Anyone else think that was a reasonable call for the City and Mayor to make? The current Council and Mayor were elected largely based on a platform of restoring the economic vitality of Ketchum. That is their agenda and most of our community supports it - that's why they were elected. This agenda requires change, and change can be very difficult. But let's play fair - let the meetings happen, give your input, try to influence what you can, but let the will of the community stand. As you are approached to sign on to this petition, please ask yourself if you really want your name associated with this type of politics and self-interest.

Michael Carpenter


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