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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday — March 19, 2004


‘All politics are local’

Guest opinion by Maurice M. Charlat

Maurice M. Charlat, of Ketchum, is chairman of the Blaine County Central Committee of the Idaho State Republican Party and former councilman on the Ketchum City Council.

Someone wiser than I said, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will do." Recently we have been treated to locally authored commentary suggesting everything from a Constitutional Convention to determine what kind of a country we want, to the tacky "Asses of Evil" buttons featuring our President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense and Attorney General. Apologies from Senator Stennett not withstanding, the level of rhetoric and commentary has reached a nadir from which this county will have great difficulty rising above anytime in the near future.

As I understand it the button issue has traveled well beyond Blaine County, with its crude little message signed by the presumptive Democrat candidate for President. Ken Carwin, in his letter, declaimed the Democrats behavior during the Democratic Idaho Caucus and rightly so. Senator Stennett apologized offering something similar to the old saw, that some of his best friends are Republicans a lot of whose support he enjoys, implying that it was only the leadership of the Blaine County Republican Party that complained. To set the record straight, the Blaine County Republican Central Committee leadership has not previously complained about the incident and from what I believe, those Republicans who were offended were from the ranks of everyday Republicans who may not be rendering such "enormous support" (Senator Stennett's words) for the Senator in the future.

The foregoing, although somewhat relevant to the debate in which we should be engaged, doesn't deal with the road we belong on if we care about where we are going. Consider the following:

  • In Blaine County, we are represented by Senator Stennett and Representative Jaquet. They represent all of us, Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Blaine County priorities should come first, along with the decorum and civility required to retain respect for incumbents, candidates and opponents alike.

  • Officials elected by the Blaine County electorate should focus the debate on city, county and state issues. We want and expect unwavering support from our elected officials at the levels that touch our every day lives. Elected officials getting drawn into the national debate defuse our focus on the issues that have the most to do with us here at home.

  • Blaine County and the other counties in legislative District 25 will experience an enormous population increase in the very near future. Estimates double the approximate 20,000 residents currently here now, to 40,000 by the year 2020. We will need all the help and energy we can muster to deal with issues yet to surface. Help at the State level where our Representatives operate is imperative to maintaining something close to the way of life we have all come to expect here.

  • This is a nice place to live. Let's keep it that way. We're not living in a Doonesbury political cartoon. Anger, slander, ridicule and sarcastic epithets have no place in our everyday lives and no place in a community that has long prided itself on the openness of its social structure and its ability to deal with honest disagreement.

Any road is not good enough. In the relatively near future we will face issues that include annexation, airport development, highway development, traffic and parking, water rights, affordable housing and retail space, economic development and more. All while we attempt to intelligently preserve our very special environment and retain our way of life. It's the everyday things that shape our lives and that's where our leadership needs to concentrate. If we come together and debate the important issues, the right road will be revealed.


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