We got a news release Friday from Demo State Rep John Gannon detailing plans for a grassroots movement of Boiseans who want a voice in how their cash is being spent on major public works projects.
They have a novel approach these days called DEMOCRACY…these folks want the city mothers and fathers to seek permission before they build high ticket items like a library or ball park.
The GUARDIAN has long advocated straight forward measures like ballot questions in lieu of the numerous convoluted financial schemes used by local governments to avoid binding elections.
Here is the entire text of the press release:
We need to work together in this challenging time of unprecedented Boise growth and a public vote on what may be the two biggest public projects in Boise City history will help. A new group, “Boise Working Together” is forming to encourage and support efforts to include everyone in these very important decisions.
The group is proposing two initiatives for a “Certificate of Review” for Boise City review and public comment. The initiatives propose a public vote on the Stadium and the Library. They must be reviewed by the City for 20 days before advocates can gather the 5000 signatures necessary to put them on the ballot in 2019. About 75 people signed the initial “Certificate of Review” request.
Advocates hope Boise will put them on the ballot and avoid the need to gather signatures.
“No one should fear public participation. It should be embraced,” says Erica Benson who is helping with the project. Representative John Gannon (D-17) said, “Growth is changing Boise and this public discussion will let us know where the people of Boise want our City to go. Let’s talk about it. Lets debate. Let’s vote.”
The group of supporters include long time North End activist Mark Baltes who said: “We should be very clear: No one is trying to end either project. The initiatives require only a majority vote, and an election can be held at any of the four election times so when a plan is in place it can be promptly presented to voters. Voters have approved well planned foothills levies and fire and school bonds.”
Gannon said, “We saw how public votes on horse racing and Medicaid energized voters and volunteers and resulted in a huge and vibrant turnout last November 7. People were engaged and talking to each other for once. And when the votes were counted, two long standing very contentious issues were pretty much resolved. What could be better?”
Boise Bench advocate Dave Kangas noted Boise voters voted twice on the $10 million levy or open space purchases “and we have had bond elections in the past for fire stations and parks. This process is not unusual. Voter participation should be the norm and its fair because only a majority vote is required.”
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