Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hailey P&Z member eyes mayor’s office

Mark Johnstone brought public art ordinance to city

Express Staff Writer

Mark Johnstone

Mark Johnstone, chair of the Hailey Arts Commission and vice chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, announced Monday in a phone call to the Idaho Mountain Express that he is running for mayor of Hailey.

"I want to get out there early and let people get to know who I am," he said in an interview Tuesday.

Johnstone is an author and community arts activist who first came to the Wood River Valley in 1980 and moved here permanently in 2004. He spent 27 years in Los Angeles where he was widely involved in the arts through teaching and working with artists, nonprofits, businesses and city government. He was exhibitions curator and vice president for Security Pacific Corp. from 1988-1992 and served as administrator of the Public Art Program for the city of Los Angeles from 1995-2001.

As Hailey arts commissioner, Johnstone wrote the city's "1 percent for art" ordinance, which requires the city to spend 1 percent of its capital-improvement project budgets on public art.

Johnstone also helped establish Hailey's annual Night of Music, which brings live music to the streets of Hailey for one night each summer.

"I'm only running for one term, but I will be a full-time mayor," Johnstone said. "I won't have to worry about working at another job. I will be available 24/7."

Johnstone said he would work to increase communication between city departments and the public to get more public participation in local government.

"Right now, people mostly come to public meetings to just complain," he said. "Government is an important part of how we live here."

Johnstone said preserving access to the natural environment and stimulating economic development would be his primary concerns as mayor.

"In this valley, we have spent in excess of seven figures talking about economic development, but not a single business has come here as a result," he said. "There are probably 20 companies in Portland that would like to move here."

Mayor Rick Davis said Tuesday that he plans to run for re-election in the November city election.

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