By DAVID R. FRAZIER, editor
When the Greater Boise Auditorium District came up with its convoluted plan to expand the Boise Centre convention center without obtaining voter approval for their debt plan, I asked the board to hold an election as the Idaho Constitution requires. The board refused my request, so I sued them.
With the able efforts of my legal staff headed by John Runft, we won in Fourth District Court. GBAD refiled a petition seeking judicial confirmation of their financing scheme, altering their plan to avoid the court’s objections. They lost again before a different judge. Both times the court ruled that an election would solve the issue. The District appealed the decision to the Idaho Supreme Court which ultimately ruled their annual “lease” with 20 renewals and no collateral avoided the Constitutional mandate for an election.
At that point, I was content–unhappy, but content–to concede defeat and realize the folks who control the tax money control the rights of citizens to vote. Even when the STATESMAN revealed the board spent $750,000 for lawyers to avoid an election, I declined to offer public comment.
However, when GBAD member Peter Oliver offered up a glowing OP-ED endorsement of the bonding scheme “marveling” at the construction progress, he prompted me to share my thoughts here and in the Sunday STATESMAN.
Any way you cut it, spending three-quarters of a million in public money to avoid an election is contrary to our principals of democracy.
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