Friday, September 4, 2009

Sun Valley council contest taking shape

3 candidates have filed for 2 open seats

Express Staff Writer

With one day left to file for candidacy in the Sun Valley city election, only three candidates are fighting for two City Council seats.

And since it's an "open election," the two with the most votes will win.

Council President Nils Ribi will be running for his second term, but Councilman Dave Chase won't. First-time candidate and retired scientist Bob Youngman has filed, as has Stephen Poindexter, a front desk clerk at Sun Valley Resort.

Ribi, 54, said he seeks a return so that he can see Sun Valley through the economic recession.

"We have been making some pretty darn good progress in the city," he said, "and I want to make sure these things are there when this (recession) is over."

He said that despite the country's economic state, the council has been very careful with the city's finances.

"We have budgeted so the money is still there at the end of the year," he said. "I don't want someone else coming through here and messing that up."

Overall, Ribi doesn't have any grand ideas of improvement for Sun Valley, but said he seeks to keep the city independent and have its government provide essential services to its residents while remaining open and transparent.

"We've got the city into good shape," Ribi said, "and I'd like to keep it that way."

Youngman, 53, also stresses Sun Valley's need to be independent. He was co-chairman of Save Sun Valley, an organization formed in opposition to the proposed merger of Sun Valley and Ketchum. Proponents Chase and Ketchum Councilman Charles Conn called off the effort in April.

"I am convinced that small, local and flexible government is the best and most efficient model for the unique needs of the city of Sun Valley," he said.

Youngman's platform will also focus on protection of open space and a conservative fiscal policy.

"We can closely look at the budget and trim spending," he said, "and still do what we want."

Youngman and his wife, Betsy, moved here in 2003. The last political hopeful is 31-year-old Poindexter, who's lived here a year. He said his job as a night clerk for Sun Valley Resort has given him a perspective that can benefit the city. For example, he said, tourists often complain that there's nowhere to eat after 10 p.m.

"I just feel that with my experience this is my time to run," he said. "I can make a difference."

He's worked at a hotel in Yellowstone National Park and others in Jacksonville, Fla.

He said he'd like to see more buses, especially one traveling between Sun Valley and Twin Falls, to bring money into town. He suggested enticing riders with discounts "to bring them up here, even if just for a day."

Poindexter said he has other ideas from his interactions with travelers, making him a prime candidate for improving the community.

"I feel like I can make a difference," he said. "Got to start somewhere."

Trevon Milliard:

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