GBAD Brags About Denying Citizens Right To Vote


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.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Our elected officials today feel they are so much smarter than the voters that they do not need to ask voters anything – especially how to spend money.

    In fact many officials do just as you state – they brag about how they beat the system to spend money or buy something. In the local political circles that is a huge badge of honor – because that is what they live for.

    I recall one elected official who said that they were elected to make all spending decisions the way THEY want – not the way the voters want. Once elected the voters are no longer needed nor respected.

    Too often we get told one story about how important the “public” is prior to electing someone and as soon as they get a little power AND access our money the voters become very stupid and the elected official gets sooooo much smarter.

  2. Western Guy
    Aug 21, 2016, 8:34 pm

    Amazing. $750k for legal counsel. Every one of the directors who voted for these expenditures and the Exec Director should step down, be fired and/or recalled.

    A travesty the likes of which Boise hasn’t seen since…. who knows!

  3. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I am so ashamed of our media. And fearful of our future.
    Aug 21, 2016, 9:17 pm

    Putin recently snickered about how we silly Americans think we have a democracy… he’s right, the joke is on us.

    The mainstream media in this country has gone the way of Pravda from decades past. And they are VERY proud of it. Political officials who knowingly and intentionally act like dictators and thieves are celebrated by today’s journalists. The dirtier the better. I get more accurate and more important news today from Aljazeera and Russia Times than the American press.

    The American Free Press is supposed to be the forth branch of government, but today they are more concerned about panty-lines than powerful news. So our politicos step on the constitution with pride and impunity.

    I appreciate your efforts editor, but a simple walk through Wal-Mart, to observe the state of the union and the mindset of the people whose rights have been diluted, tells of how far we’ve fallen from our constitutional roots.

    Rush calls these political maneuvers ‘money laundering’. It is simple payback to the people who give political donations. I believe the Idaho Supreme is part of the elected elite also? So no surprise. When it happens in Mexico the NYT calls it corruption. Happy to know the under-courts stepped up.

  4. I saw a bumper sticker that sums it all up:

    “Get involved, the world is run by those who show up”

    Mr. Gaurdian is one who frequently “shows up” and I appreciate him for that, even if I do not agree with all his position, he provides a counter balance to an otherwise unopposed political agenda to work around the voter’s voice.

    Many of us need to “show up” more as well. Here are some tips on how to show up:

    1) In person is always best, politicians feel the pressure when they have to look the audience in the eyes as they debate and make their decisions. Politicians often say if you oppose an item, but don’t show up in person, you obviously are not that passionate about it. True or not, it is their license to discount your written opinion.

    2) Blog on-line, this is a good thing, but extreme comments discount not only your comments, but the venue in general. Rationale comments, based on logic and facts carry more weight. One crazy comment and they will stop reading or discount all your comments entirely.

    3) Volunteer and Donate: It would be nice if casting your vote were enough, but in our media barraged society, it is not enough. You need to volunteer for your cause, and/or donate money to organizations who provide the representation and affiliation you desire. How much public accountability is actually the result of government watchdog groups who spend large sums of money and time using the freedom of information act to expose waste and corruption. Find a group that represents you well and donate.

    4) Donate to the Gaurdian, up to $100 total, I will match donations this week, Mr. Gaurdian please let me know the bill on Friday.

    EDITOR NOTE– JJ, thanks for the kind offer. Also, thanks for the kind comments.

  5. JJ makes excellent points. I would add that many public officials receive almost no input from the people who put them in office. Take one of them to lunch and talk about subjects you are interested in. It is a constant drumbeat from the elite and special projects people that they have to combat. You would be surprised how much influence you can have as an individual and Dave is going to get a check from me for $100. He is a warrior.

    EDITOR NOTE–Many thanks Sam. Anyone else wishing to make a donation (NOT tax deductible) just push the green DONATE button. We appreciate the help.

  6. DeMockCrazy
    Aug 22, 2016, 1:09 pm

    Democracy in America is a myth. We have been an Oligarchy ever since the thirteen corporate colonies landed. The rich folks make the plan, the media sells the plan to the Sheeple, then said Sheeple are congratulated for making another wise decision when they vote; God Bless Merika and DeMockCrazy!

  7. “spending three-quarters of a million in public money to avoid an election is contrary to our principals of democracy.”

    I don’t think it’s the point of “to avoid an election”, it’s their point of declaring their opinion is okay.

    An election would likely cost MORE money in a giant PR campaign (as Boise City as done, for example. St Lukes’ is another).

    Shall we add Idaho’s cost to defend the anti-gay marriage law? Or the animal-gag law?

    When you fight evil, evil fights back- with plenty of our tax dollars.

    Lawyers win again!

  8. Elected and appointed officials have made a cottage industry out of getting around the Idaho Constitution. And to that end our Idaho Legislature has given them carte-blanche to do this via the laws they have so artfully crafted.

    They have written these laws in such a manner they can’t be challenged and they all know about how public money gets squandered on all manner of goofy ideas and giveaways of the “little peoples” tax dollars. The worst of which is Urban Renewal. Think about it. When was the last time you got to vote on a major capital project via a bond election for anything other than a school?

    If you can’t show up you can send an email or send a letter on goofy waste and spend projects. Ask that your email or letter get read into the record. If enough people did this it would show the “deciders” people are paying attention. If they don’t do the right thing for taxpayers they will face not getting reelected. Make your voice heard if you can’t attend a long boring meeting.

  9. Yossarian_22
    Aug 27, 2016, 10:39 am

    After observing decades of city planning concepts, some that I support and many that I do not, and have changed my mind about, I have grown suspicious of some of these grander plans. This new Strong Cities concept is supposed to be all wonderful, but I suspect it’s a social engineering schtick to make us all “correct” and proper. It replaces Mayberry with Machiavelli.

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