Eagle City Council: Stan Ridgeway

October 7, 2013 

Name: Stan Ridgeway

Age: 65

Occupation: Retired in 2003 from the State of Alaska

Education: Bachelor of Science in vocational education with an emphasis on rehabilitation services, Auburn University; Master of Science in rehabilitation administration, School of Business, University of San Francisco

Prior political experience: Elected to Juneau Board of Education for two three-year terms; elected to City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Assembly (city council)

Civic involvement: Chairman Headgate 72 Water Users Association, Farmers Union Ditch, 2007 to present; founder of Custom and Antique Auto and Cycle Show; raised and donated over $75,000 to support non-funded school activities, 2001 to 2005; led a major effort to build a much-needed new high school, served as a PTA officer and volunteer for several years, 1998-2005; Coalition Fourteen (C-14) treasurer, a community-based organization designed to study, support and advocate for ideas, issues and candidates representing a broad spectrum of the constituency of election District 14, regardless of party affiliation, 2012 to present; served on various committees and boards to advocate for people with disabilities for access to the world of work and social interaction, 1974–2005.

Years living in Eagle: 8

Family: Married to Margie Ridgeway; three adult children, two in Idaho, one in Juneau, Alaska; one grandchild.

Website: www.RidgewayforEagle.com

Social media accounts: None

1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponents?

For the past several years, since moving to Eagle, I have been deeply involved in the city’s political arena, attending council meetings and testifying on critical issues. Unlike most of my opponents, I have well-established positions on current matters affecting the city, and I have outlined my stances on my website and my campaign literature. I believe the voters have the right to know where each candidates stands before casting their votes. I believe in transparency. The people’s business should not be conducted behind closed doors. I believe in fiscal responsibility. The current council members acted irresponsibly giving themselves a 60 percent raise. We need to treat our citizens with respect. They shouldn’t be interrupted, berated and harassed in public meetings. And the city council should consider all areas of the community when looking at future development.

2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.

As I mentioned in my response to the question number one, I actually have four top priorities.

1. Transparency in Eagle government: When elected I will work to ensure all issues coming before the council will be discussed in open meetings and all citizens will have a voice in what happens in our community.

2. Fiscal responsibility: Recently the city council gave its members significant raises. A few years back the council voted to reduce the council’s and the mayor’s compensation after an outcry from the citizens. Like the rest of the country, Eagle is still fighting its way out of a recession. This is not the time to be handing out large salary increases.

3. Communication and respect: Our constituents deserve to be treated with respect during public hearings.

4. Just say no to special interest: We can’t grow the city properly by concentrating all our efforts in one area.

3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?

For years the city of Eagle has had a negative reputation in terms of being business friendly. When elected I will try to change that impression by working to streamline the permit processes for viable businesses looking to establish their companies in what I believe is the best city in Idaho. We also need to loosen the restrictions for business signage that lets potential customers know where businesses are located. There have been business that have tried to make things work in Eagle and have either gone under or pulled out of our community because they found it too difficult to survive with all the restrictions placed on them. We can’t allow that to keep happening.

4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?

I would like to see more growth in the commercial and industrial sector in Eagle. I believe growth in Eagle, if handled properly, could be more than a bedroom community to Boise. City leaders should strive for a better balance between residential and commercial development, laying out plans that attempts to preserve the environment that makes Eagle a great place to live, but also identifies the best places to grow our business community that will be beneficial to its current and future residents, but also profitable for business. I believe the city of Eagle still has the opportunity to change the growth pattern for our business community that will make it pleasant for the people who live here, but attractive for potential outside customers.

5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?

I’m extremely concerned with public apathy, but it’s difficult to get people involved in civic matters if the people in charge treat them with disdain when they try to participate. City leaders need to listen to all sides of an issue and work to reach educated decisions based on input from as many people as possible. Unfortunately I have seen issues handled in Eagle outside the public’s view, and I have watched as people who attempt to participate are interrupted, berated and harassed in public hearings. That is not the way to encourage people to get involved. Such behavior results in misunderstanding, poor communication and a negative attitude toward government in general. It certainly does nothing to solve the issue of public apathy.

6. What are the top two issues facing Eagle, and how should they be addressed?

As I mentioned in a previous answer, we need to do more to encourage business to locate in Eagle, and we need to get the public more involved in the planning process for growth. I believe the best ways to that is by encouraging respect and communication with those who are considering locating in Eagle and making our citizens feel that their input is wanted and appreciated.

7. Eagle is 80 percent residential and 20 percent commercial. Should Eagle grow its commercial sector? Why?

Right now Eagle is considered, rightfully so, a bedroom community to Boise. There are not enough opportunities for Eagle residents to work close to their homes. That creates traffic issues for Eagle and its surrounding communities. If we expand our commercial sector, we will also expand our tax base and keep jobs closer to home.

8. Eagle has one of the state’s lowest property tax rates. Keeping property tax rates low means less money for city infrastructure and amenities, like parks. Do you support keeping Eagle’s tax rate low? Why?

Yes, I support keeping the city’s tax rate as low as possible to accommodate its current residents. I’m not convinced that the only way the city of Eagle can afford to provide its residents more amenities is by raising their taxes, especially when I feel some of the money currently going into the city coffers is being misspent. See my answers to questions 1 and 2 regarding the city council’s salary increases. One of the reasons Eagle’s tax rate currently is considered low is the city doesn’t provide some of the services that other cities are providing their residents, more specifically fire protection. That is provided in Eagle through a separate taxing district.

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