City Government

Boise Candidate Forum Uneventful

Not only were there no fireworks at Wednesday’s Boise City Council candidate forum, there were hardly any sparklers or firecrackers. Incumbents were all singing from the same choir book and even the challengers joined in at times.

One of the few substantive topics was the proposed fire department and park bonds. All but two candidates were in favor.

Bill Jarocki, who is trying to unseat TJ Thomson, and Paul Fortin, who is challenging Marryanne Jordan were against the fire bond and Jarocki opposed both bonds.

Of the challengers, only Tyler Smith, who opposes Ben Quintana, had been to a council meeting in the past year and that was to oppose the panhandling ordinance recently passed.

As we see it, the election will be centered around the question of putting the city in debt for 20 years to the tune of $51,000,000. Detroit’s fiscal trouble was cited in one question posed to the candidates and only Jarocki seized on it as reason, in part, to oppose bond debt.

Finally, the only glimmer of hope for a real contest will be between Jarocki and Thomson. Thomson is beholding to the firefighters union, well organized and Jarocki cites his experience as a lobbyist and player in municipal organizations like Association of Idaho Cities.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Bill – You say you are a fiscal conservative… is that code for Republican? If so, why not just come and say it.

    Also, the City seems to me operating pretty well at this point. It sounds like you want it to be more like many of the other cities in Idaho that are home to fiscal-conservatives… and higher unemployment, lower educational attainment, and less opportunity.

    What am I missing?

  2. The fact that there were no ‘fireworks’ is representative of the level of respect and professionalism the candidates brought to the forum on Wednesday night. However, I am trying to embrace every opportunity to address issues that are important to me and many members of our community. We must remove money from politics in order to represent all of our constituents equally, and I am the only candidate addressing this. In addition, I am opening a dialogue regarding environmental issues, supporting the legal rights of everyone in our city, and changing the way we think about economics to include how our decisions impact the homeless, the local flora and fauna, etc. All of the candidates had good points, and I am sure we will all fight to the end. Come on out to the next forum, there are several this month!

    Thank you for the comment.
    Fiscal conservative means fiscal conservative. This is a non-partisan election. I believe this: government should provide the best service at the least cost for the most people for the longest period of time. The least cost part of this mission statement is important.

    So let’s look at the bond issue for parks as an example of how I would apply this principle of best service at the least cost.

    I am opposed to the bond issue for parks, but I am not opposed to parks. As I said on Wednesday night (though it wasn’t reported) it is a matter of priorities. The Boise City budget report states that we have 129 parks and facilities and 148 miles of trails. Did you know that operating expenditures are over $28 million per year? The bond issue will establish more parks and facilities, which will add debt for 20 years and increase property taxes to service that debt. And guess what? When the parks are established we will probably have to increase property taxes again for additional operating expenses.

    As a member of the city council I would challenge the idea of adding debt by examining the potential of squeezing the $28,305,935 that we pay for operating the parks now. I would let the citizens determine the priorities. Are the 129 parks not sufficient? Could we shut down facilities that aren’t being used now? Can we be more efficient with our tax dollars? Don’t you think we should try that first?

    Let’s hold our horses on more taxes. The incumbent city council has already budgeted $28 million in the parks and recreation operating budget and even more in the existing budget for capital projects. If we really need more facilities, let’s build them in a strategic sequence based on market (in this case the public) demand. I think we can do it without new debt. At least we should try. That is fiscal conservatism.

    Its time for new thinking on this city council.

  4. Thanks for clarifying, Bill. I suppose to me when someone identifies as a fiscal conservative, that is code for Republican. I understand that this is a non-partisan race, but their views on the role of government are implicit in the political party we tend to most identify with.

    Would you have supported the Boise School levies? I know the school district and City are separate organizations, but I’d like a better feel for how far your no new bonds or taxes approach goes.

    Honestly, you have a pretty remarkable background, I am just concerned you are a bit too conservative for Boise.

  5. Statements by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

    “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

    “Never confuse motion with action.”

  6. Gene Fadness
    Oct 15, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Mr. Jarocki may be right about the parks bond. And I appreciate his solid background. He will be a good addition to the council if he is elected, if only for the fact that perhaps we need another voice on a council that — full of good and well-intended folks — does appear to come from the same worldview. I didn’t agree most of the time with former Councilman Vern Bisterfeldt but I always appreciated his contrarian views. We’re fortunate to have good choices for this particular City Council seat.
    I would like to hear Mr. Jarocki respond to the question from “Boisean,” as to whether he would have supported the Boise district school bond issues.

  7. Yesterday I asked a neighbor how she would vote in the election. She said she hadn’t done enough research. “Fair enough,” I said. So, to that voter and others, here are some things to consider.

    First, if one of my opponents, Jill Humble agrees with most of what the incumbents are doing why is she running? Her issue is to raise the minimum wage. It is obvious that she lacks the business background to understand that in a service intensive economy like Boise, it makes more sense to concentrate on increasing jobs that pay better than the minimum wage — that’s what successful cities like Twin Falls do. Raise the minimum wage and watch even more businesses relocate to Meridian.

    Second, my other opponent is TJ Thomson. Thomson’s resume includes experience as a performance auditor. What benefit has that brought to the city? Has performance improved? If so, have your taxes decreased? Instead of gaining efficiency and cutting city government back he was raising your property taxes in the most severe economic downturn in our lifetimes. We can do better than that Boise.

    Third, the incumbent city council members are giving you ONE option for funding new parks, fire station improvements, and a new fire training center. Look, I am a public finance professional. I have examined the budget and the city’s annual audit and I already know that we can do this without raising property taxes. If promoting two bonds to add a debt burden for the next twenty years is such a good idea, then why does it cost $217,000 to convince you that it is the only option.

    This council, especially TJ Thomson, is telling you to go (tax) yourself.

    Fourth, at the candidate forum hosted by the Boise Young Professionals, Thomson said his top priority if re-elected would be to work on the issue of childhood obesity. This is another way of saying go (tax) yourself twice more. His idea is to regulate day care centers more, raising the cost of day care. What will this program cost you? Did you know you already pay taxes to support a childhood obesity program run by the Central District Health Department? Isn’t this Michelle Obama’s job anyway? Maybe TJ is bored. I think he can work on this full-time after he is taken off of the city council.

    Boise voters, you can have a better government. One that is responsive and responsible. We have a beautiful, vibrant city as it is. What we need now are better jobs, more economic diversity, and a vision that recognizes that Boise is a great place to raise our kids, but it needs to be a place where our kids can grow up, settle, and thrive.

    This is what I offer as a candidate for Council Seat #4:
    • I am the only candidate that has professional experience at the city, county, state, and federal government levels, as well as the non-profit sector and private sector, where I own and operate a small business.
    • I am the only candidate that has headed the Association of Idaho Cities. I know cities.
    • I am the only candidate that has been recognized by the White House for reinventing government with a non-partisan approach. I know how to achieve results.
    • I am the only candidate that has served on the Board of the National League of Cities. I know how to work with intergovernmental partners.
    • I am the only candidate that is nationally and internationally recognized for creating tools and techniques for making government more efficient and decision makers more effective in serving the public. I know about efficiency.
    • I am the only candidate that has had the privilege of representing the City of Boise on numerous advisory boards and as a lobbyist in the Idaho State Legislature. I know Boise.

    I want to leverage my public service career experience to help the next city council seek the most cost-effective ways to provide essential services. Let’s start by diversifying the current council by adding a fiscal conservative that knows city government and how Boise can be a successful partner in the intergovernmental system. After all, your taxpayer dollars are entrusted to elected officials. Let’s invest them wisely. Let my voice be your voice. Elect me, Bill Jarocki to Boise City Council on November 5th.

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