Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Question the candidates

A strange confluence of state laws has spawned a general election for two seats on the Ketchum City Council in May.

Perhaps it's because it's deep spring slack or because the withdrawal of incumbent Curtis Kemp gives candidates an open shot at the seats, but the election has attracted a slate of five candidates mostly new to the stage of city politics.

They should have a lot to talk about in the public Pizza and Politics election forum tomorrow night, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall. The Idaho Mountain Express is again sponsoring the forum as a public service.

With ongoing challenges in the local economy, there's a full field of matters candidates should weigh in on. However, the major issue is the city's economic vitality—or lack of it.

Voters can only hope these candidates bring a deep well of economic cunning and creativity to the table. Ketchum is more than the sum of its tax collections. Its taxes must be invested to support and stimulate the economy because, like it or not, business and tax revenues are wholly dependent on tourism.

Will candidates continue the city's support for development of major new hotels or will they try to stop them? Will they apply public funds to marketing or prefer to sit on the sidelines? Will they continue urban renewal and housing efforts or cut off funding? Will they support the present level of city staffing and its generous compensation packages?

It'll be too late for answers after ballots are cast. Ketchum's future will ride on two of these five candidates. Voters can make sure it's a future they want by attending the forum in order to vote smart.

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