Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Itís time to vote in new thinkers

    Ketchum’s government, led by the long-tenured Mayor Randy Hall, pursues “old guard” versus “new guard” objectives. The old guard includes Hall’s supporters: ex-mayors, real estate developers and others with background influence.  
    The new guard are the “less well connected” younger folks now serving as city councilors and the newcomers who seek election to that role. Their campaigns highlight fresh goals: government transparency, small business emphasis, marketing to youth, and public involvement in government decisions. And they support the LOT, affordable housing and tourism. While this new guard incorporates old-guard goals, the reverse is not true. Hall still primarily promotes attracting wealth to Ketchum and repeats the well-worn “get second-home owners involved” mantra; he also wants more hard core development. His “build it and they will come” projects, echoed by Councilman Baird Gourlay, have included:  

  • Rejecting a proposal by local business owners for Town Square and saying yes to Starbucks and its second-home owner corporate heads. But isn’t local investment in local business the new economic goal?
  • Planning a bus terminal in the center, and prettiest part, of Ketchum (near Starbucks).  But, isn’t open pedestrian space the preferred planning goal?
  • Pushing an urban-type River Park at Hulen Meadows. But, as Ketchum’s own proposed Comprehensive Plan indicates, isn’t protecting the rural landscapes, neighborhood character and scenic corridors of Ketchum’s gateways the critical planning goal?  
  • Annexing River Run as “urban renewal” land so Sun Valley Co. can build infrastructure with public money. But, isn’t decoupling government subsidies from private-wealth investment the new goal?

    These projects may sound good but they undermine community cohesion and economic sustainability.
    Randy and Baird are nice guys who’ve been in government too long. It’s time to vote in new thinkers who seek transparency and civic involvement: Nina Jonas for mayor, Amanda Breen and Anne Corrock for City Council.
Jima Rice
Blaine County


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