City Government

Power To The People!

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.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Mark Goodman
    Dec 22, 2018, 9:00 am

    What a novel concept in today’s political arena “Power to the People “

  2. Another phony solution for a phony “democracy”
    Dec 22, 2018, 11:09 am

    The corporations that want these big projects will simply pay for flashy TV and newspaper ads extolling the wonderful virtues of these projects and all the drooling, slack jawed voters are brainwashed into supporting them.

    Voting will never again be an effective tool for Citizen control of the government as long as the corporations are considered “persons” and allowed to influence elections with $$$$.

    Dec 22, 2018, 11:25 am


  4. The big secret here is the elected deciders aren’t about to let people vote on this stuff. They prefer the “magic of urban renewal” to fund this expensive boondoggle. The sad part of all this is people still think urban renewal is “free money” from the federal govt. It isn’t and is nothing more than a huge property tax shift costing everyone inside and outside the boundaries of the UR District more money.

  5. Jeanine Brandeis
    Dec 23, 2018, 10:53 am

    Great idea. How do we get involved in making this happen?

  6. Larry Rincover
    Dec 23, 2018, 1:18 pm

    Great idea and timely. I look forward to more information and offer any assistance that’s needed.

    L. Rincover

  7. E.B. Schofield
    Dec 23, 2018, 7:46 pm

    Upon approval of the documents submitted, the next step will require collecting a minimum of 5,000 valid signatures from registered Boise voters – as these two projects are Boise taxpayer projects, and thus will only be on the ballot in Boise (not Ada County). If the signature requirement is met, the choice to vote would be on the ballot in November. If this receives the votes needed, then the actual voting on the two projects would then be placed on the ballot in the spring of 2020.

    Of course, the City Council can always choose to place these two major financial commitment projects up for citizen vote this coming spring 2019. If they heard this loud and clear from the public, with emails and letters from those concerned about the impact these projects will make on the budget, property taxes, ability to complete unfinished parks, etc., maybe they will reverse course and allow the most meaningful form of public participation – by voting.

  8. Diane C Stearns
    Dec 24, 2018, 6:35 pm

    I signed the documents and I so hope our politicians will hear me and all the other Boise citizens who want to be included in the decision making process.

    Our taxes are used for these various projects, so our opinions should be important — and definitely not ignored…

  9. Ask permission to spend our money? They already did- and most people don’t care enough to engage.

    “to seek permission before they build high ticket items like a library or ball park.”

    So, the same people would INSIST we make the President get permission from the people, in the ballot box, to build A WALL? And we already did that. The popular vote of November 2016, did NOT say, “yes”. So that answer is: “the people” said, “No wall, and “no” to all that other gibberish”. But of course, it doesn’t work that way- in Boise or in D.C.

    But then, maybe such an election, to seek permission to build a wall on our border, should be in Mexico since someone said Mexico would pay for it? HA!

  10. Take a look
    Dec 29, 2018, 6:43 pm

    Drive down Sawyer in Garden City. Stop at the stop sign where Alworth Street intersects and look ahead of you. It may not be in the city of Boise. But, wow, what a beautiful setting for a stadium.

  11. Sounds good and all, but I fear that too many people are easily duped by fancy promotions by the backers of these legacy operations. I will certainly recommend NO on either a overpriced library and the misplaced stadium. This will at least serve as a proverbial mirror to see if the public has a heartbeat about this stuff. I was heartened to see the horse track scrapped by voters.

    The Medicaid scam played on legit fears that always surround health care issues. Without a real clear debate with full facts discussed on HC stuff, we are doomed to fail to find a solution that really works.

    Let’s hope Boiseans are smart enough to see through the library and stadium dog and pony show.

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