Friday, August 15, 2008

To Councilman Conn

Congratulations on your appointment to the Ketchum City Council. Please allow me, as a 20-year resident of the Wood River Valley, to pass on a couple of thoughts and suggestions. I've read your interview in the Aug. 8 issue of the Mountain Express. Among other things, you were quoted as saying, "There seems to be a whole lot of people in the town who don't stand for anything, but are willing to stand against something."

As an example you noted a council meeting in July at which opponents of the proposed Thunder Spring affordable housing project issued catcalls at developer David Hutchinson. I agree the catcalls were inappropriate. However, the citizens attending that meeting did not attend as opponents of affordable housing as you suggest. The issue at that meeting was not affordable housing but whether or not the City Council had the right to rezone property that had been designated as "open space in perpetuity."

If you attended the meeting you know that the council decided the city would not rezone the subject parcel. The citizens at that meeting, contrary to your view, definitely stood for something: They were exercising their constitutional right to protest a proposal they viewed as illegal. Those attending included former mayors and council members, members of local non-profit organizations, business leaders and even some citizens who were Ketchum residents and stood for this community before you were born.

In short, these are people you were appointed to represent, and you would do much better in the service of this community to respect their views even when they don't agree with yours.

Gene E. Whitmyre


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