Friday, April 27, 2012

Candidates pitch abilities, experience

2 council seats up for grabs in May election

Express Staff Writer

Candidates for Ketchum City Council are hoping to persuade voters that their people skills, leadership abilities and philosophies are the right mix to add to city government.

Running for two council seats in next month's special election are Michael David, Charles Friedman, Mickey Garcia, Julie Lynn and Jim Slanetz.

A candidates forum Wednesday drew two dozen people to City Hall to listen to political hopefuls and ask questions of them. The meeting was organized by Citizens for Better Government, a group spearheaded by Ketchum resident Anne Corrock.

David said his previous job as executive director of the Blaine County Housing Authority made him aware of the value of effective leadership.

"There's a lot more work to being a City Council member than going to two meetings a month," he said.

Friedman, a commercial and small-business lender, said his professional experience helps him understand business owners' concerns.

"My focus is small business," he said. "That's what I do."

Slanetz, a small-business owner, said he's comfortable listening to and communicating with the business community and the community at large.

"I feel like I have a good connection and rapport with a lot of businesses in town," he said. "I feel fairly approachable."

Lynn said the military helped her work effectively in a group setting.

"My military experience helped me learn how to team build and get things done," she said.

She also cited her work as a Girl Scout leader as helping her be solution-oriented.

Garcia lamented the "Mickey Mouse micromanaging" that he said the city engages in, calling it a burden and a nuisance for small businesses. He said he didn't see the need for the city to have economic development staff.

"We're just building a bureaucracy," he said.

David and Friedman said the city should reach out to business owners and second-home owners who are stakeholders in the community but don't have a vote.

"We need to create policies that facilitate the business environment so small businesses can survive and thrive," Friedman said.

Slanetz said establishing long-term goals can provide consistency and help guide council members.

"It has to be a little more visionary instead of just reacting to what is brought in front of them," he said.

But Garcia questioned the value of master plans and comprehensive plans.

"A lot of those visions are based on faulty evidence," he said.

Lynn said master plans and regulations are necessary, but so is openness to new proposals.

"You have to be willing to see the greater good," she said.

The election is May 15.

Rebecca Meany:

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