City Government

Developers Pay Top $ For Council Seats

With $1,000 payments from Barber Valley Development, Brighton Corp., Conger Development, Hawkins Companies and Republic Services, incumbent Boise Councilor TJ Thomson is the top money maker to date in the Nov. 7 city council race with $25,666.

Holli Woodings was in second place in the money game with $18,187. She also accepted $1,000 payments from Barber Development and Randy Harris of Harris Ranch.

Mayor Dave Bieter’s former law partner, Frank Walker, came in third with $1K payments from Republic, Barber, and Harris. He also took $1,000 from the Boise Fire Chief Officers. His total take as of the Oct. 10 filing deadline was $14,338.

Namoi Johnson raised $6,366, Lisa Sanches collected $5,900–mostly in $100 entries, and Logan Kimball raked in $3,440.

The rest of the candidates either showed “0” contributions or insignificant amounts.

Absent any professional polling, the GUARDIAN is predicting TJ Thomson has a lock on his council seat 4 as the incumbent. He has the developer community and a massive well oiled social media network.

Frank Walker could either benefit or suffer from his long time association with Mayor Dave Bieter, but with the developers and fire department brass on his side, he probably has the edge. Sanchez and Kimball will split the seat 2 vote which could help Walker, barring a change in the political winds.

Holli Woodings, former legislator and Democratic candidate for Secretary of State is well funded, and backed by the Dems. She has been the “heir apparent” for the seat being vacated by fellow dem Maryanne Jordan, who qualifies as either the “grande dame” or institutional memory of the city council. She has no serious opposition for seat 6.


Logan Kimball offered up comments below.
The election season is definitely entering its final weeks and it has been interesting to read the various financial disclosures of candidates. It’s hard to deny that a better funded campaign allows more potential voters to be reached. While this may be true, there is still one other factor to consider: message.

Both of my opponents, Frank Walker and Lisa Sanchez, are in support of continuing to “build on the success” of the current City Council. They have gone on record to support spending millions on the downtown trolley and danced around the issue of public funding for the downtown stadium proposal. Their platforms are virtually identical and for this reason, I would say that it is Sanchez and Walker who are going to be splitting votes, not myself.

I’m extremely proud to oppose the downtown trolley and the publicly funded stadium 100%. I am an avid supporter of voter rights and believe the citizens of Boise should be allowed to vote on these issues. Both issues simply don’t benefit the hardworking taxpayers of the community. They reward the elite and private developers and pass risk onto citizens.

I’m running to bring change and common sense to the City Council and to give a voice to citizens who are all too often forgotten. I believe there is a ton the city can be doing better to advance our community in a better direction for everyone.

Spending $90,000 on a one block bike lane in front of City Hall, or remodeling City Hall for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or spending $900,000 to renovate the historic Castle house, does not demonstrate fiscal responsibility. It demonstrates leadership that has grown out of touch with the taxpayers of Boise.

I’m running to be an advocate for the people of Boise and to bring fiscal responsibility to the City Council. Please email me via my website with any questions or concerns at

I hope to have your vote on November 7th!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. You’re government comes at a price, and you likely can’t afford it. Bought and Paid for “Representatives”, democracy at its finest. No different than the olden days of Rome, is it not?

  2. Please don’t forget, T.J. Thompson voted to give our Jefferson Street to St. Lukes. There can be no redemption for that.

  3. Just wanted to add a quick follow up note. I think it’s important to mention that I am a fourth generation Idahoan and a Boise native. I grew up in the same house in West Boise, by Cole and Ustick, until going to Boise State. My wife and I are also in the process of buying our first home. It’s really exciting in that it actually is one block over from where my parents still live, by Cole and Ustick. I have deep roots in Boise and I’m excited to once again call West Boise home. I’m also advocating for voting districts to be established for the future Boise City Council. I don’t believe a majority of council members should all reside in one neighborhood, such as the North End. I think it’s important to have accurate representation from our community and I hope to build on that issue if I get elected. Please reach out to me with comments or questions at, thank you!

  4. To the candidates
    Oct 18, 2017, 7:42 pm

    If you want to win, go win.
    You’re someone’s admired person,
    although we know not who, or for what:
    perhaps a best friend with many best friends, go get it.
    Who will vote for you? Those you know.

    The old is old.
    The gold is old.
    Go places, shake hands, think ahead until you have reached out to win:
    Democracy and popular opinion is not dead.

    Double down on the try.

  5. Brian Vermilion
    Oct 18, 2017, 9:53 pm

    How can any rational person reach any conclusion other than the candidates are whoring themselves out to the highest bidder or donator. They want favorable decisions for this investment. It’s not any more complicated than that.

  6. Death of the Republic
    Oct 19, 2017, 2:19 pm

    The corporations are well represented by the prostitute politicians, the people not so much. Hearing ignorant people say we have a Democracy is just pitiful. We used to have a Representative Republic, but that is not true either. America is now a Totalitarian State, a Corporatocrcy, or an Oligarchy. Freedom for most folks now means a chioice between Ford or Chevy, Crest or Colgate. Time for a Revolution.

  7. Hello – what a good article. I think it is SO important to understand how $$$ plays a role in EVERYTHING political.

    I have a lot of thoughts about campaign finance, it is a system that keeps wealthy and privileged individuals and groups on top. I would love to see A LOT of changes made to the current campaign finance system.

    That being said, we must work with what we have. Many people in current positions on the council and people I have met with campaign experience told me I would need to raise 30-35k to win this race. am trying something different and more natural to me as an organizer, a grassroots approach. We are not relying on developers to cut us checks, nor would we expect them to. We are relying upon voter education and turnout.

    I challenge you all to stand up against our current system and use your vote. If everyone made it a point to show up and vote in this off-election money wouldn’t hold the power.

    I am feeling very optimistic. While the values mentioned above are indeed very interesting, it wouldn’t take much digging to realize that in the past money hasn’t always been the best prediction of the race! Remember 1991 – Mrs. Hausrath wasn’t predicted to win. We have the power to defeat the $$$ with our vote.

    I have spent a lot of thought and time developing my issues. I am an advocate with an education in systems work and continued experience in community organizing. I am committed to the quality of life of our community members and would like to see more balance on council when it comes to business and the economic gains of development versus advocacy for quality of life.

    Stadium – This decision should involve the people of that neighborhood and how they would like to see their taxes handled. If the City sees profit from placing a stadium downtown, find a different way to pay for it less risky to a neighborhood already suffering.

    Circulator – Improvements to our current bus system should take priority, we represent ALL of Boise on the council, that needs to be reflective of our choices.

    F-35s – We need to show the community how the F-35s actually sound then take quality of life into consideration above ALL else.

    Development – We need to move commuters, renters, and our environment to the very forefront of our development decisions. It’s important that we respond to our housing crisis immediately.

  8. Remember folks there is a candidate forum next week on October 24. It looks like they moved the location to a bigger venue (it had originally been scheduled for the library (if i recall correctly).
    HERE Is the info on the meeting. They will be taking some comments submitted by the public – so show up and get the candidates to articulate in public their positions on issues: St John’s Cathedral: Faith Formation Center
    St John’s Cathedral: 775 North 8th Street, Boise, ID, United States
    Hear from the candidates for Boise City Council before you reach for your ballot! Our moderator, former State Sen. Mike Burkett, will ask questions of importance to Boise neighborhoods. We will also accept questions from the audience, which can be written on index cards provided when you arrive.
    Nine neighborhood associations are co-hosting this free event, and all 13 candidates have been invited. We hope you can join us for an informative evening.
    The forum will be held at St. John’s Cathedral Parish Hall. From the front of St. John’s on 8th Street, you’ll see a door to the left of the main staircase. This will take you to a hallway that leads to Parish Hall. There is also an entrance directly from Hays Street.
    Free parking is available in the fenced parking lot across 8th Street, with an entrance from Hays. There is also plentiful street parking.
    Presented by these fine neighborhood associations:
    Barber Valley, Boise Heights, Central Foothills, Depot Bench, Downtown Boise, East End, Highlands, North End, Sunset

    The 2017 Boise City Council candidates:
    Seat 2: Paul Fortin, Logan Kimball, Rachel Misnick, Lisa Sanchez, and Frank Walker
    Seat 4: Crispin Gravatt, Naomi Johnson, TJ Thomson (Incumbent), and Nicolas Way
    Seat 6: Michelle…

    Share this event with your friends and neighbors!

    EDITOR NOTE–We don’t see much neighborhood representation from the Bench.

  9. Thanks for giving us the heads up on who the developers are buying. Seems like they own almost everyone — certainly both the left and the right are susceptible to being bought.

    Next time you fly over LA, divide the vast swath of lights into a 6 x 6 grid. One of those 36 squares is about the population of the entire Treasure Valley. There is essentially an unending stream of people that want to move out of there and into places like here. Unfortunately that means these places become like there. We can’t build ourselves out of the housing crisis and maintain any semblance of our quality of life here.

  10. I deeply appreciate seeing the discussion on the issue of who is financing city campaigns! Thank you. Caleb Hansen’s finance report was my duty to file but the report I filed was missing 4 dates so may not have been posted. He is running for seat six and had $2500 raised as of Sept. 30 from a range of donors including myself. Caleb’s primary issue is ensuring that the city is affordable. We all know it is getting less and less so and that corporate funding and developer donations do not encourage policy makers to focus on the issue of affordability. They tend to benefit from housing shortages, gentrification and high rents. I’m sure Caleb will comment here himself and say more.

  11. 30-35K to take a seat you say? What a waste. I’ve received More than four direct mail pieces from Thompson. None at all would have been plenty.

    And let’s not forget the money Frank Walker took from Russ Westerberg in a conference room at the airport. I received one too many direct mail pieces from him too.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: