The city of Sun Valley could have embraced win-win politics last week.
It could have supported teamwork instead of petty political divisions.
It could have boosted the marketing funds to help the area’s economy in the wake of August’s Beaver Creek Fire, which snatched economic defeat from the jaws of victory in what had been one of the best business months in years.
But it didn’t.
Instead, in a 2-2 City Council vote broken by the mayor, the city dismissed an opportunity to share the cost of replacing a fire ladder truck with the city of Ketchum as it had with its existing truck.
Cost-sharing would have freed up more money for a marketing budget that the city has pruned drastically every year since it created the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.
Mayor DeWayne Briscoe and Councilmen Nils Ribi and Franz Suhadolnik characterized Ketchum’s overture as too little too late and stuck with a shrunken marketing budget. Briscoe and Ribi rallied under the banner of “public safety,” arguing that the city must get its own truck soon, not in two years when Ketchum wants to get one. Suhadolnik said his city’s residents pay too much for bike paths and other amenities. He excoriated businesses that he says don’t contribute enough toward marketing.
The mayor and two council members could have embraced the spirit inspired by victory over a wildfire that threatened all. Instead, they chose petty political warfare.
It was a discordant coda to an event that until then had been well played.