Wednesday, September 21, 2011

South valley candidates kick off campaigns

Several legislative seats up for grabs in Hailey, Bellevue


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

South valley governments could see some changes after the Nov. 8 elections. Four people have entered the Hailey mayoral race, while two veterans of the Bellevue City Council have made a pitch to return to public office.

Challenge in Hailey

In Hailey, Mayor Rick Davis is challenged by three contenders for his office: City Council Chair Fritz Haemmerle, and Planning and Zoning Commissioners Mark Johnstone and Geoffrey Moore.

Of the four Hailey mayoral contenders, only Davis and Johnstone agreed to send a synopsis of their campaign platforms to the Idaho Mountain Express.

 "During the last four years, I and my team have navigated Hailey through some of the worst financial times this country has seen," Davis wrote.

"Once I was in office, my priorities changed from an economic development theme to a fiscal management and grant writing theme. During the next four years, I would like to: look for new revenues, develop a capital improvements plan, be a proactive participant in keeping air service to the Wood River Valley, and create a more cooperative planning and working relationship with all valley governments."

Johnstone had the following to say about his run for office:

"This beautiful environment may be what brought us all here, but jobs for our friends, neighbors and children is what will guarantee the future of this place. It is high time to diversify, and not just count on tourism or construction. I will work as a full-time mayor to create jobs for Hailey. I have practical experience on the local, state, and national level and will use that knowledge to advance daily life in Hailey, while preserving our overall quality of life and the heritage of this place."

Haemmerle is giving up his Hailey City Council seat to run for mayor. Patrick Cooley, Robert E. Wiederrick and Peter A. Lobb will vie for that vacant seat.

Carol P. Brown, a U.S. Forest Service employee, will run unopposed for her seat on the council.

Cooley, a 22-year resident of Woodside who served for five years on the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission before going to work for the city of Ketchum, said:

"I have been witness to the explosive growth of Hailey. Four years ago, the talk was all about managing growth. Today, I believe it is the responsibility of our city council to insure that the levels of service and quality of life we enjoy is maintained. Many of the issues that I dealt with during my five years on the Planning and Zoning Commission are before the council now. I believe that experience and my years of working as a utilities services supervisor for the city of Ketchum will be a positive contribution to the citizens of Hailey."

Wiedderick, who is a metal worker and artist, made a name for himself in Hailey politics by challenging the city's development impact fees two years ago.

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"My primary focus if elected to the Hailey City Council will be to improve the long-term economic viability of Hailey," he wrote. "I will accomplish this by evaluating current city regulations which discourage or inhibit new growth in the city of Hailey through cost-prohibitive requirements for new construction."

Lobb, a 35-year Hailey resident who works for a landscaping company, has attended almost all of the city's public meetings for several years and is always ready with comments on city policy.

"Having attended the majority of Hailey Planning and Zoning and City Council meetings for the last five years, I believe I have a developed a solid understanding of the issues facing Hailey and the valley in general," he wrote. "After traveling and working in many parts of the world, I have chosen to make Hailey my home. I am running for this office because I feel that we need to provide a strong, viable economy while preserving Hailey's unique characteristics."

5 candidates in Bellevue

In Bellevue, five people will vie for three council seats. Incumbents Dave Hattula and Janet Duffy will run against Amber Avila, Shaun Mahoney and Tammy Schofield Eaton. The three candidates who get the most votes will take seats on the council in January.

Mahoney and Eaton—both business owners—are veteran council members who have decided to try to return to public office.

"I am running again for a couple reasons,'" wrote Mahoney. "One, to represent the businesses of Bellevue so they have a voice that has been ignored since I left last January. Secondly, our current council has no balance. We need more dialogue on solving our problems. Currently, there only seems to be only one voice. I truly believe that diversity that meets together makes the best resolutions."

Eaton said she is running again after only a short reprieve (she stepped down last year) because she wants to keep the city "moving forward."

"I was proud to have been part of the solution for the future of Bellevue and would like the ability to continue that momentum," she wrote.

Duffy said that after her nine months on the council she has committed to run in November to maintain a balanced budget and see that all components of city services are supported, improved and efficient.

"I believe that Bellevue has a foundation ready to move forward, with a council that is not afraid to ask the right questions, do the necessary research and make decisions from fact, not emotion, to provide the best service and outcome for all citizens in Bellevue, effective today and for the future," she wrote.

Council Chair Dave Hattula and newcomer Amber Avila declined to comment.

Candidates in Hailey and Bellevue will be invited to participate in the Idaho Mountain Express-sponsored Pizza and Politics public forums prior to the Nov. 8 election.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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