Friday, October 14, 2011

Listen up and vote smart

The most power that non-politicians ever have over elected officials is during local and state-level elections.

This year's off-year election season has produced a surfeit of candidates for mayor and council seats in Wood River Valley cities. Voters will get their only chance to question them in public in a series of Pizza and Politics forums that begin next week.

The forums are sponsored by this newspaper and moderated by Editor Greg Foley. It's important that voters attend and find out what each candidate has in store for their communities. Voters should insist on no surprises because too much is at stake these days to throw away votes on unknown quantities.

Local elections are not circuses of money-fueled candidates trained in sound bites. They are the real deal with ordinary local citizens generously offering their services as elected officials. The work is hard, no one gets rich on the pay and no one serves for the glory of it.

The Ketchum forum is up first on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre on Main Street. A dozen candidates are up for council seats, including every incumbent, because of a ballot initiative that asks voters to decide whether to replace the strong-mayor form of government with a city-manager form. In the midst of a battered economy, this election is critical to the entire Sun Valley area.

Bellevue is up next on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bellevue Elementary Library with five candidates vying for three seats. They will take on the city's cash squeeze, and there's little doubt the airport controversy will come up.

Don't vote blind. Come to the forums and then vote smart.

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