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For the week of  September 19 - 25, 2001


Dunbar, Garcia declare mayoral candidacies

Ketchum’s mayoral election heats up

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum’s November mayoral election is beginning to pick up steam. Last week two city residents—Mickey Garcia and Janet Dunbar—filed completed petitions for the seat with City Clerk Sandy Cady.

Janet Dunbar

The pending mayoral race has been the subject of speculation for over a month. Councilman Maurice Charlat ended speculation on his behalf Friday when he said in an interview that he would not run for the office.

Mayor David Hutchinson, who was appointed to the post last month following the death of Mayor Guy Coles, has not yet said he will seek the seat. However, last week he issued a questionnaire, letter and biography to city residents in which he said he is "considering" a candidacy.

"I began consideration first after being approached by many people I respect and trust, and later after being asked to replace Mayor (Guy) Coles under tragic circumstances," Hutchinson wrote in the letter.

Coles was found dead at his Ketchum home late in August.

Mickey Garcia

"It is widely believed that local leadership needs to manage growth within the framework and history of the community," Hutchinson wrote. "I do believe that my 16-year record with the city clearly supports that notion.

"However, in an effort to come to a final decision, I thought it best to ask the people most impacted, the citizens of Ketchum."

Hutchinson, 44, said that of the 134 responses he has received, 70 urged him to run and 43 were negative.

Dunbar, 67, has lived in Ketchum since 1977 and has been an employer here for 22 years. She owns the Dunbar Interiors interior design company, located on East Avenue.

She served on the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission for three and a half years, from 1995 to 1998. During that time, she helped draft the city’s new comprehensive plan and ordinances, and helped review many new buildings, including the Thunder Spring resort.

"My whole goal in this is to give this city back to the people," she said. "I think we need to bring that community spirit back. I think it’s been diluted and lost. We have very bright, talented people in Ketchum. I think we have more people who care than are being recognized."

Aside from specific issues, Dunbar said she is driven to get people involved in their city and to restore a sense of community.

"I would probably put more out to referendum than this town has ever seen," she said.

She said she’s "very" opposed to raising taxes. She’s for affordable housing. And she advocates planning 20 years down the road for growth.

Garcia, 59, is one of Ketchum’s more colorful personalities, and in the past several years has amassed an impressive attendance record at Ketchum City Council and Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission meetings.

Garcia, who has not held public office, operates a newspaper delivery service. He’s lived in Ketchum full-time for 16 years.

He said he views his primary opponent in the coming election to be Hutchinson.

"I consider my main opponent to be David Hutchinson, and although I think he’s done a lot for the city, and he and I agree on a lot of key issues, I think he’s got more conflicts of interest than Chateau has Viagra pills and jelly beans," Garcia said.

"I’ve always been politically aware," he added. "I’m issue-oriented. I’ve paid attention. I know what the issues are."

Garcia’s platform is multifaceted and includes redirecting the city on several key issues.

For one, he said he would like to spur the city toward changing the way it conducts its elections. Just last spring, the City Council voted to conduct elections on a per-seat basis rather than in an at-large format. It was a controversial move.

Garcia is also outspoken on the issue of public transportation and Highway 75 construction. He’s against public transportation and for widening the highway.

He’s pro affordable housing. He’s pro street trees. He wants reform on the P&Z. And he wants city meetings to be conducted as more of a dialogue.

Also, he said, "I’m probably the most accessible person running."

No candidates have filed for Ketchum City Council seats yet, but several—Councilwoman Chris Potters, P&Z commissioners Rod Sievers and Baird Gourlay and Ketchum resident Anne Corrock—have said they intend to run.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.