City Government

Election Results Send Strong Message

Tuesday’s local election results sent a strong message from voters: NOBODY REALLY CARES!

Turnout for Boise was 17% of registered voters–just about what all the experts had predicted. Throughout the Valley incumbents were returned to office and the only close call was the defeat of the Canyon County Jail bond which fell about 8% short of the 2/3 super majority.

Boise council newcomer T.J. Thomson got a landslide with less than 10% of the potential vote over David Litster who pretty much made the “Trolley Folly” a single issue campaign. For those who think that vote was any sort of endorsement of the street car proposal, take a look at the calls to the mayor’s hotline published each week in the GUARDIAN. Thomson told us he favors a vote on the street car proposal, but added, “or broad public input.”

Thomson was endorsed by most of the city council, but has told the GUARDIAN he is NOT a liberal and will consider any votes he makes on the merits of the proposal. We plan to hold him to that statement.

In Garden City 244 voters turned out, but it didn’t make any difference because NONE of the races were contested.

At the risk of being accused of a quantum leap in irony, we have to ponder how many “warriors” of the Idaho National Guard and their loved ones didn’t vote in local elections, but risk their lives so the people of Iraq and Afghanistan will have a democratic government.

The election is over at last
Campaign promises a thing of the past
It will remain to be seen
What they really mean
Will they actually do what we ask?

Today’s words are taking aim
At people who should be ashamed
You gripe and complain
But the facts remain
If you didn’t vote you’re to blame!


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I guess all those voters that didn’t vote, may wake up when they get their property tax bill next month and see that even when their property value has decreased they are paying the same in property taxes. They can only blame themselves for not being informed and not caring to vote.

  2. Unfortunately the incumbents will smugly take their re-election as a mandate that the public is pro-streetcar and pro-tax.

    Just proves that most voters are uninvolved and misinformed.

  3. Justin Beller
    Nov 4, 2009, 11:18 am

    You’re right. Nobody cared about the Boise City Council election, which is too bad. We’ve got a bad economy, a mayor hell-bent on building a streetcar despite opposition and businesses overlooking our community to bring much needed jobs.

    I had a very hard time voting for TJ Thomson. I voted for Litster. TJ claims to be fiscally responsible (as he indicated in his KTVB interview), but I find that hard to believe. Last year, TJ was a head-strong Obama supporter and if I’m not mistaken he campaigned for Obama in Idaho and worked on the campaign. I’m not a fan of the president and I find it rather disconcerting that TJ can claim to be fiscally responsible and yet be a supporter of Obama just one short year ago after his administration has racked up one of the largest deficits our country has ever seen. Hardly a good example to follow.

    Also, I found the Mayor’s endorsement TJ disconcerting as well. I don’t know if I want another council member openly endorsed by the Mayor. It just seems to me there is some undue influence that could sway TJ into making decisions that will not necessarily be his own and owed to those who endorsed him.

    Nevertheless, I appreciate the work TJ did in the subdivision we both lived in up until recently to organize a Neighborhood Watch program. I’ll certainly give him that and it inspired me to start my own in the new neighborhood I live in. Thank you, TJ. Will he be a good representative on the city council? That remains to be seen. I wish him luck and maybe in four years he can earn my vote.

  4. Flyonthewall
    Nov 4, 2009, 11:50 am

    It amazes me at the low voter turnout across the valley. If ever there was a time to oust incumbents this past election was the one.

    Looks like Caldwell will be screwing up their downtown with a community college wanted by the mayor and his urban renewal board. Business owners downtown are furious over this deal as it will spell the end of the line for them and their businesses. Students will take up all the parking and people will not be able to park downtown.

    Boise looks to be on track for the trolley folly.

    Nampa will have four more years of Tom Dale and his merry men and women.

    We have a situation where the majority have abdicated their voice over to the minority who took the time and effort to get out and vote.

  5. I voted, though my folk lost. We get what we deserve when no one votes.

  6. I don’t want my elected officials to do what I ask. I want them to do what is right.

    The two are not always the same…

  7. Ugh…how are we going to stop this streetcar? I can’t believe the mayor is ignoring his public on this. It just doesn’t make sense?

  8. It strikes me that almost twenty thousand Boiseans cared enough to vote. I presume they became informed before doing so or they would have sat on their hands like the rest. As it should be. And certainly Litster showcased ‘trolley folly’ as his singular campaign issue and it clearly didn’t get the motivation for a vehement backlash many here were predicting despite some pretty heavy publicity. I think people are open to the idea of a streetcar if Boise can make the stars align on the funding. But that process has a long way to go yet. Anyone know how the other streetcar based elections fared last night?

  9. Looking at the election results and the lack of community participation I feel as wilted as the “I Voted” sticker on my vest. Makes me want to cry!

  10. “I can’t believe the mayor is ignoring his public on this. It just doesn’t make sense?”–um, I don’t think its the mayor who may be deluded with regard to popular support for the streetcar. His honor was a clear winner last night. But the jury has yet to convene on the streetcar and shouldn’t until the facts are in.

    I did find this report on the other cities and their respective referendums on streetcar proposals.

    Interesting that voters in Cincinnati actually rejected an opportunity to veto their streetcar proposal.

  11. Julie in Boise
    Nov 4, 2009, 4:01 pm

    Damn, but that’s a cheap shot against the folks who serve in the Idaho National Guard.

    EDITOR NOTE–Julie, not intended to be a “shot” of any kind. As a Vietnam vet myself, I was told I was fighting for my country, helping stop communism, defending our constitution, etc. The irony I see (and others may not) is we are willing to go abroad to protect the rights of a foreign people, but don’t exercise those rights at home.

    There are no doubt proud parents, children, and spouses of Idaho Warriors who take for granted the rights they or their loved ones are killing and being killed to protect. No cheap shot whatsoever, only food for thought. Anyone who serves should be admired.

  12. The best way at this point to try and stop the streetcar is get hold of Dave Litster and get the petition he is circulating signed. He already has over 1500 signatures to at least get it put to a public vote. 5000 more signatures are needed. Email to find out where the next signing is, probably at the next BSU game.

    Also, tell everyone you know to contact the city council and complain. The survey that the Statesman just did showed only 1/3rd of Boiseans support it.

    At least if it goes to a public vote, that is more of a fair decision than having 3 people on the council make it.

    And don’t forget – an election win for a streetcar advocate is NOT a voter mandate in favor of a streetcar. There are dozens of reasons elections are won and lost, streetcars are just a small part of the overall equation.

  13. Julie in Boise
    Nov 4, 2009, 4:54 pm

    OK. Point taken, even if it was inelegantly stated. And thank you for your service.

  14. A year ago, the ’08 election was riveting as a new president was chosen and history was made. Idahoans went to the polling places in record numbers.

    Last January, my high-school age daughter came home lamenting that they had to watch the inauguration stuff all day, and “it was so boring!!”

    Her mother scolded her: “You should be interested in government, because you’re almost an adult and you’ll get to vote soon.” (And indeed, she’ll be 18 later this month. Ironically, her mother didn’t vote yesterday.)

    Daughter replied, “But Mom, it just doesn’t matter, no matter who gets elected!”

    I believe that pretty much sums up the attitude of maybe half of the 83% who didn’t vote. The other half are irresponsible and/or lazy. And like you told Julie, we can easily take that right for granted… maybe it’s TOO easy to vote.

    I theorize that if 80% of voters typically turned out, “public opinion” would be more important to our elected leaders. Since 20% vote, they can cater to the whims of the special-interest and fringe folks, as long as they can depend on THAT group getting out and voting.

  15. “I theorize that if 80% of voters typically turned out, “public opinion” would be more important to our elected leaders. Since 20% vote, they can cater to the whims of the special-interest and fringe folks, as long as they can depend on THAT group getting out and voting.”–no sabe. As Dave noted just the other day, the voters are the ones with the power. Getting the apathetic or easily led to vote just leads to anomalous results in which the opposite of which you theorize would happen. I wish more people would participate in democracy but I also wish someone would get me a beer. Neither one is likely without a little effort on my part.

  16. If the council will not listen to the public (note I did not say voters) then the only recourse is legal. Every time they do something remotely illegal, take them to court…and the parties should be the ones footing the legal bills.

  17. sam the sham
    Nov 4, 2009, 10:28 pm

    I don’t know anymore if it does matter who gets elected. I just don’t know. BUT I do know that it matters that we vote. We have a long history of people who have lost their lives just so that we could vote. So vote even it is just to honor them.

    Hey, at least when you vote you have more of a right to complain about the idiots who got elected.

  18. You people amaze me. A handful of you show up to shout down the Council’s innocuous Healthcare Resolution, and you declare it a “grassroots mandate.” Then, when thousands of your fellow citizens vote for the candidates who support the street car, you insist it can’t be a mandate. Certainly nobody can be as bright as the people who meet on this lonesome site. My theory is that the voters of Boise are bright enough to know that the majority of those who do go to the polls will do their research and vote for the best candidates for the city. Those who don’t have time to educate themselves because local politics are not on a constant news stream are trusting that the reliable voters will educate themselves. You shouldn’t decry the results as the whim of fringe folk just because your horse didn’t win.

  19. Rod in SE Boise
    Nov 4, 2009, 11:25 pm

    Vote for who? A choice between TJ Thomson and Dave Litster isn’t much of a choice. Neither would represent my views to any great extent.

    We need more and better candidates and the voters will turn out.

  20. @Dave. I completely agree. It is a shame that so few people cared enough to vote.

    Let us hope that we can still convince our city that we DO NOT need or want the trolly folly.

  21. serendipity
    Nov 5, 2009, 7:23 pm

    ADR said: Unfortunately the incumbents will smugly take their re-election as a mandate that the public is pro-streetcar and pro-tax. Just proves that most voters are uninvolved and misinformed.
    Yeah–also proves that some pigs can really fly.

  22. I’m not surprised. Americans voted for George W. Bush twice!

  23. The election results proved that the vocal opponents of the streetcar will all be able to ride together in the streetcar at the same time once it is built.

  24. 64.07% That statement is just about the dumbest one I have heard! You have GOT to be working for the mayor. No logical person could think your “spin” would originate anywhere else!

  25. Response to Poet Paul:

    When the government does things inane,
    as it seems to again and again,
    I’m afraid it will be noted,
    that I actually voted,
    so I’m the one who’s to blame.

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