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For the week of Oct. 27, 1999 through Nov. 2, 1999

Sun Valley and Ketchum candidates debate issues

Ketchum and Sun Valley candidates differ on affordable housing views

Express Staff Writer

Candidates for Sun Valley and Ketchum city council seats faced crowds of curious and question-happy local residents last week for the Idaho Mountain Express-sponsored Politics and Pizza political forums.

Tuesday evening those individuals bidding for Sun Valley City Council and mayor seats gathered at Sun Valley City Hall; and Wednesday, candidates for Ketchum City Council seats were present at Ketchum City Hall.

Mountain Express publisher Pam Morris moderated both forums which focues on Wood River Valley issues.

Candidates were in general agreement on some issues, including the Blaine County Recreation District’s proposed recreation bond. All eight said they are in favor of passing it.

There was, however, a key difference between the two cities’ candidates.

While all three Ketchum candidates—Sue Noel, Randy Hall and Maurice Charlat—said they support affordable housing inside Ketchum’s city limits, four of Sun Valley’s candidates—Milton Adam, Nicholas Parker, Latham Williams and Lud Renick—said they do not approve of affordable housing inside Sun Valley’s city limits, unless it is for city employees.

Sun Valley mayoral candidate and current city councilman David Wilson said that the Sun Valley Co. should be encouraged to provide more employee housing.

"I find little support for hiding housing right next to where you work," Adam said.

"It’s not un-American to go commute," Parker joined in.

Sun Valley’s candidates primarily differed on one issue, which was the city’s recent decision to back Horizon Air’s potential losses when the company flies extra planes into Hailey this winter.

"My initial gut reaction was you can’t give government money to a private entity," Parker said. He then cited the Idaho Constitution to back his stance.

Williams disagreed.

"Nationwide skier numbers are flat. I think it’s an appropriate investment in the future of our community," he said.

Renick declined to comment on the issue, and Adam said he supports the council’s decision to back Horizon’s potential shortfall.

Ketchum’s candidates spoke on several issues including McHanville, parking, Ketchum’s decision not to back Horizon Air’s potential financial shortfall and the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce’s share of the city’s local option tax (LOT).

Noel said she wants the city to annex McHanville to gain more control over the entrance to Ketchum.

"We have to watch the development of that area very carefully," she said. "We have to be careful that the hospital doesn’t break the dam for commercial development on Highway 75."

Hall said he would like to have more control over McHanville, but is not in favor of forced annexation. He said all property owners and stakeholders should be in agreement before the city takes action.

Charlat said he isn’t sure if he wants to see a commercial center in McHanville or not. Before taking a position, the city needs to do a lot of homework, he said.

When asked what Ketchum is, Ketchum’s candidates agreed that it is the commercial and cultural center of the Wood River Valley.

"Ketchum has a large sense of community. We are the resort in a way. Culture, gallery walks, restaurants—it’s a very vital part of our community," Hall said.

Mountain Express publisher Morris said the newspaper hosts the political forums as a public service to get the public involved.

"We believe there has to be a non-partisan forum where the voters can see and hear the candidates," she said.


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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.