Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Conn, Chase bow out from re-election

Tenor of city politics takes toll on council in Ketchum

Express Staff Writer

When it comes to the decision of whether to seek re-election this November, some city council members from Ketchum and Sun Valley are still making up their minds.

Four city council members, Dave Chase and Nils Ribi of Sun Valley and Baird Gourlay and Charles Conn of Ketchum, as well as Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall, are up for re-election.

Hall said he has not decided. While he is interested in completing some of the city's major projects, he also has a wife and six-month-old baby to think about.

"I haven't made up my mind, but if I listen to my wife the answer is no," Hall said. "I actually think that my wife would vote against me."

Ketchum City Councilman Baird Gourlay said he is also undecided. He said he would consider stepping down if he found someone with similar beliefs and philosophies to take his place. He cited many projects, especially the annexation of Warm Springs and the continued economic vitality of Ketchum, that he would like to see though.

However, Gourlay also acknowledged the emotional cost.

"My wife isn't really psyched," he said. "You definitely get arrows in the back. People take things very personally in this town and it can take its toll on you emotionally."

Ketchum City Councilman Charles Conn said he would not seek re-election.

"I've enjoyed working with my colleagues, and I like the work," Conn said. "It is more that the general public debate seems to be not fact-based but personal and emotional."

Conn said he would prefer to do public service in a non-elected capacity.

Sun Valley City Councilman Dave Chase, who with Conn championed a merger between the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley, said he would not seek re-election.

"I think term limits are a good thing," Chase said. "It passes on fresh perspectives. I never had any great desire to be in politics. I've been on for two years now so that will be plenty for me."

The only definite candidate for November is Sun Valley City Councilman Nils Ribi.

"I expect to make an announcement in the next month or two that I will be seeking another term on the City Council," Ribi said. "There is much at stake for the future of Sun Valley, and that is why I will seek that second term."

Candidates can file for re-election between Aug. 24 and Sept. 4. Elections will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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