Boise’s City Council election is barely two months away and to our knowledge no one has announced a challenge to the incumbents and anyone shy of Cecil Andrus would have a difficult time mounting a credible challenge at this late hour.
Councilors TJ Thomson, Ben Quintana and Maryanne Jordan are all facing reelection–and presumably they will all run. At this point they are unopposed.
Even the GUARDIAN is tired of the same old story each election cycle, but once again we will state that elections with no opposition are not the “sign of voter approval” as is often claimed by candidates. It is a sign of voter apathy. Fact is, very few people turn out for local elections and even fewer have a clue what goes on in city government.
There is certainly harmony among the councilors and Mayor Dave Bieter, whom we affectionately refer to as “Team Dave.” To our knowledge the council has seldom if ever turned down any proposals from Team Dave and have repeatedly been onboard for assorted consultant, public relations, and lobbying contracts which cost thousands upon thousands of dollars–aimed at garnering public support of everything from increased local taxes to street cars and ball parks.
Here are some of our past efforts at finding interest in our local elections:
September 23, 2005 ⋅ Post a comment
With the September 30 filing deadline only four days away, Boise’s November 8 City Council election is the subject of intense disinterest by potential candidates.
So far only Jim Tibbs has announced a run against an incumbent. He is challenging Councilor Jerome Mapp. No one else has stepped forward to run against either Vern Bisterfeldt or Maryanne Jordan.
The GUARDIAN offers up some basic questions and even provides answers to the media, candidates and the public in an effort to generate interest in the upcoming City Council election.
Here are a few basics everyone should know:
–What is Boise’s population–about 220,00. Ada and Canyon Countys 510,000.
–How many registered voters in the city?–about 109,000.
–How much is annual Boise City Budget?—$390 million citywide, $132 million general fund (expenditures in FY2006).
–How many total city employees?—1,493.
–How many sworn police officers?–267 current, 286 authorized. Currently offering $5,000 signing bonus for experienced cops.
–What is approximate police annual budget?—$38.8 million (FY2006).
–What is approximate fire annual budget–$30.9 million (FY2006).
–What percentage of total budget is police and fire?–53%.
–What is term of office for mayor or council?—4 yrs.
–How many cops drive city cars to and from work?—125.
–How much has the Foothills Committee spent for land?–$5.7 million out of the $10 million raised in the serial levy election.
–How many buses in city fleet and who owns them?—45, Valley Regional Transit
–How many fire stations do we have?—15.
-How many days a week do cops work?–4 days, 10 hrs…takes 20% more
staff than 5 days x8.
–Who pays to maintain median strips on streets? (Capitol, Vista, Federal Way Broadway, Harrison)–Parks Dept.
–Who pays to maintain grass along connector?–Parks.
Here are a few questions for every candidate:
–Favor or oppose having judges instead of voters approve long term debt projects?
–Favor or oppose secret “executive sessions” for land acquisition?
–Should members of city boards and commissions be required to live within the city limits?
–Favor or oppose annexation without vote of those concerned?
–Who should provide homeless shelters?
To call the upcoming Boise City election LACKLUSTER is an understatement. With the exception of the Bieter-Tibbs yawner for mayor, there is no interest…from the mainstream, the candidates, or the city officials.
The campaign payoff (contribution) page is difficult to find, but with enough clicks we found PDF files among seven years of candidates and reports. Bieter has been paid $227,000 so far for his stealth campaign. Tibbs take was a few bucks over $50,000.
The official City Clerk web site says it all with the blank list of candidate profiles. Even the candidates themselves failed to offer information or photos.
The GUARDIAN is no better. To us the election looks like a done deal and the sad thing is all the incumbents will claim people are satisfied with their performances…or fed up and tired. We would love to be surprised, but this turnout may be the lowest in memory.
We hate to dis any of the candidates for Boise City Council, but this race may set a record for non-interest of voters and the media.
We have said it before, but the chances of anyone beating an incumbent are slim to none and the one seat being vacated by Jim Tibbs is pretty much filled by TJ Thomson. The former Obama organizer has done a great job of getting endorsements from every democrat in town, the mayor, and most, if not all of the council. We predict “TJ” will be as much of a recognized trademark as “Vern.”
The campaign season lasts less than two months so feel free to put some of these folks on the hot seat with specific position questions. We can assume that ALL are for “smart growth” of some sort, clean air, family, neighborhoods, jobs, some sort of public transit, police and fire departments, and playing nice with other local government.
We need to know how they stand on:
–Allowing citizens to vote on long term debt
–Dave Bieter’s trolley folly
–Spending city taxes on AMTRAK
–Boise Fire Dept. ambulance plans
–Annexation without approval of those being annexed
–Police and/or fire commission of citizens like airport, parks, library boards
–Several HUNDRED “take home cars” funded by taxpayers for city workers (mostly coppers).
–Land speculation by the city
–”Economic development” expenses to lure more people to Boise
–Relationship with the special interest lobbying group at Chamber of Commerce
–Number and duties of city PAID LOBBYISTS who try to influence lawmakers
–CCDC urban renewal agency
July 20, 2011 ⋅ Post a comment
When Chamber of Commerce cheerleader Ben Quintana announced his bid for the Boise City Council, but refused to name which seat he would seek, the GUARDIAN predicted the fix was in.
Sadly, we were correct. Councilor Alan Shealy sent a letter to his fellow Councilors informing them he would not run for re election. That means with little more than a month before the filing deadline, there are NO CONTESTED seats for the Boise City City Council or office of Mayor.
Four council seats are up for election this fall. Lauren McLean will run to finish the two years remaining of Vern Bisterfeldt’s term. The four-year terms for Council members Shealy, David Eberle and Elaine Clegg are up for election this November, as is Mayor Dave Bieter’s.
FROM CITY CLERK–The Declaration of Candidacy period is Monday, August 29, 2011 8:00 a.m. thru Friday, September 9, 2011 5:00 p.m. The Declaration of Candidacy form must be turned into the Boise City Clerk’s Office located at 150 N. Capitol Blvd. If the candidate wishes to submit the declaration of candidacy signed by not less than five (5) registered qualified electors, the form must first be verified by the Ada County Elections office located at 400 N. Benjamin Lane prior to submittal at the Boise City Clerk’s Office. If the candidate wishes to pay the non-refundable filing fee of forty dollars ($40) then the form is just submitted at the Boise City Clerk’s Office.
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