I’d like to give a thank you to the Boise Guardian for giving me the opportunity to address issues that are important in our community. I just recently discovered your news site and have been reading through the articles and comments, which are echoing my concern of City Council under-representation of the areas outside of downtown Boise. This very reason is a large part of why I decided to enter this race. I’m running for Seat #2 and am the only candidate that doesn’t live just North of downtown, so am trying my best to make sure the outer areas of our city have representation.
My thoughts on the questions posed to me are below, but if anyone wants more information on my thoughts, opinions, or ideas, I welcome and encourage you to contact me either via email at email@example.com or by phone at 208-695-1009.
– Should Boise officials be spending public money and resources on the campaign to attract the F-35?
My short answer to this question is to say no, Boise officials should not be expending resources for the sole purpose of campaigning to attract an F-35 squadron. This type of focus belittles the concerns of residents who would be most affected by the additional noise. The city does, however, have the responsibility to encourage public input and address residents’ concerns. In order to be able to properly assess the impact a squadron would have and to explore ways to mitigate the additional noise that the F-35 creates over the A-10, council members do need to spend time meeting with officials from Gowen Field, the Air Force, the Boise Airport, and concerned residents. Additionally, they need to spend time researching the potential impact on the community and the quality of life in areas surrounding Gowen and the airport. In these ways, yes, Boise officials do need to expend resources.
Ultimately, it is the U.S. Air Force which will decide where the aircraft are placed; it is squarely on the shoulders of our elected city officials, however, to plan ahead and create ways to mitigate negative impacts as much as possible, and to utilize the positive impacts to best benefit the city.
Gowen Field uses the Boise Airport’s runways, and the airport currently is creating plans to expand. On October 24th, the airport is holding an open house where staff and consultants will be to available to address concerns and answer questions. The airport is well aware of the controversy and will be key in managing noise levels in cooperation with Gowen Field if the squadron arrives here. More information on the open house is available at https://www.iflyboise.com/about-boi/masterplan/. I encourage all who are concerned about the F-35 to take advantage of this opportunity.
– Should citizens have the right to vote to approve public debt of more than one year, especially for big projects like a stadium? – Should CCDC continue to expand and divert tax dollars away from schools, ACHD, the city, and county?
It is absolutely fantastic to see the level of public involvement regarding the stadium. Over the last few years, there has been a growing feeling of discontent among the residents living outside of the downtown area, myself included. This is due to the tunnel vision our city plans have, which are clearly focused on the downtown area. The downtown area is thriving, but those of us who live a few miles away are having to deal with ever-increasing traffic rates, wider roads, traffic noise, difficult commutes, and the feeling that we are just a blip on our city government’s radar. The stadium project has pushed many people to move from frustration to activism; even though it is much more difficult to be politically active for residents who don’t live in the downtown area, it’s apparent that we have to be.
While CCDC has played an integral part in creating a vibrant downtown, the ethics of skirting voting requirements is sketchy. I do believe that citizens should be able to vote in order for large projects like this to be approved. I also believe that the CCDC should start weighing the interests of the entire city instead of limiting the focus, as is the current situation. Just off the top of my head, there are sections of Orchard, Fairview, and Overland that could benefit from some assistance, just to name a few. Expanding the focus would benefit many more people.
–Should citizens, both inside and outside the city, have the right to vote approval or denial of annexation of additional areas and people into the city?
Currently, per Idaho’s Statute # 50-222, areas to be annexed already must meet standards of consent by a majority of the affected property owners, effectively giving them a vote in the matter.
Idaho law also currently grants to its cities the authority to annex without a vote of its current residents. Typically, annexation benefits the city residents next to the land in question, since it gives the city control over zoning and development and can help prevent the land being developed in such a way that would negatively affect nearby city residents. Even though it would require some additional work on the Council’s end to present their case, I see no reason why a vote shouldn’t be granted to a city’s residents. Granting city residents a vote on annexation, however, would have to be addressed at the state level through legislating a change in Idaho’s Statutes.
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