“The initiative process is a mandate, significant enough to be embodied in the Idaho Constitution, that enables voters to address issues of concern. Sometimes it compels authorities to listen when nothing else will….Just as the Court would not interrupt the legislature in the consideration of a bill prior to enactment, the Court will not interrupt the consideration of a properly qualified initiative. The petition qualifies for the ballot for consideration by the voters.” —Justice Gerald Shroeder, Idaho Supreme Court 2006.
Acting Boise City Attorney Natalie Mendoza is headed down the same ill-informed road as her predecessors when it comes to attempting to violate the first amendment rights of citizens to petition their government for redress of grievances.
In a written opinion, she claims a petition from Boiseans Working Together which would place the funding of both the proposed library and ball park on the ballot for voter approval is unconstitutional.
Boise City lawyers tried the same trick 12 years ago and lost at the Idaho Supreme Court when the Christians petitioned to reinstall the 10 commandments tablet in Julia Davis Park. After 10,000 signatures were gathered, the question went on the ballot. Boise lost in the Supremes because the issue was “not ripe for adjudication.”
Ultimately voters turned down putting the tablet back in the public park. The GUARDIAN planted the idea with the Dean of the Episcopal Church where the tablet rests today to host the tablet.
When it is all said and done, no one has the right to prevent citizens from seeking a ballot initiative. Only AFTER it is on the ballot can the constitutionality be argued. If Boise refuses the petition, it would be a clear First Amendment violation.
Read our original story on the REFERENDUM process.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.
Jan 23, 2019, 8:26 pm
I greatly appreciate the local, relevant, independent journalism/media platform you provide through this site.
My appreciation is backed up by a donation submitted today, as the work that you have done, and continue to do, is invaluable.
Thank you Mr. Frazier!
EDITOR NOTE–Thank-you kind sir. People like you and your words give me the sustenance to work on the site.
Jan 23, 2019, 8:49 pm
What other opinions has Natalie Mendoza written?
Jan 24, 2019, 12:22 am
These people are working from the little red book. They use the constitution under bird cages. They know exactly what they are doing and why. Northenders will let them do anything.
Jan 24, 2019, 1:18 am
It may turn out that the initiatives to allow citizens to vote on spending their tax money for these two controversial projects cannot actually disrupt the council’s plans to do so.
However, the initiative votes will be an effective “advisory” election. Having the questions on the November ballot will make it difficult for the mayor and council members also on that ballot to avoid running on those issues.
It’s time for people who have better ideas for the library and stadium to step up.
[Kudos for pushing to place the Ten Commandments appropriately—at a church across the street from the Statehouse.]
Jan 24, 2019, 8:07 am
I am sure if they were petitioning for DACA protections or gathering signatures against the wall, Ms. Mendoza would look the other way. She has tried for years to carry the mantle for the Hispanic community here in the valley, and that community has rejected her. But not the geniuses in our city government, leave it to them to hire a person to represent us that has an agenda, meant to benefit only her. My guess is that she will do or say something that will force the mayor to run for the foothills, kind of like the Ellen Boldman debacle at the beginning of the mayors time in office.
EDITOR NOTE–Not familiar with your references. PLEASE don’t cross any lines when it comes to inappropriate comments.
Jan 24, 2019, 8:57 am
I regard this as a ham handed attempt by the Boise Mayor and his minions to silence any opposition. The legal opinion will probably have to be challenged in court. The City can back up their lawyers opinion fight with taxpayer money. The people bringing the initiative have to use their own money. It is a shameful action on the part of the City of Boise and their legal experts to silence dissent and different opinions.
Jan 24, 2019, 10:07 am
Let’s remember this is as Democratic Republic, not a “let’s have every person vote on every motion, democracy”.
Elect the people you want to REPRESENT you in these decisions.
If the citizens are concerned about these actions, they also need to move to change the ADMINISTRATIVE procedures in place and in current law to prevent such expensive moves in the FUTURE, not just these two projects. I don’t see that happening and therefore devalues the motive.
Jan 24, 2019, 10:34 am
The Editor is being kind in the friendly reminder to the above Asucar comment.
If I may be allowed to be less kind, I’ll call a horse “a horseface” and say that comment is totally flavored of racism.
It is of the same flavor as Trump saying, ‘a judge can not be impartial in a case simply because the judge is Mexican’. That opinion was TOTALLY called-out as “racist” and rejected by all on the national scene. The above comment too should be called out for what it is.
It is off-topic and a personal attack on Ms. Mendoza based solely on her ethnicity.
It is gross, racist rubbish!
And unfortunately part of our public discourse.
Shall we put THIS to a vote of the readers?
Jan 24, 2019, 10:51 am
Regarding “what other opinions has Natalie Mendoza written?” I question how she suddenly came to be the interim City Attorney. You may recall she has been earning a large salary for her part-time gig as the Director of the Office of Police Oversight (formerly Ombudsman) appointed to that by Mayor. Is she now double dipping? Her Linked-In profile claims she has held this interim attorney role for 4 months; I don’t recall seeing any announcement, but I may have missed it. Here is a link to investigative reports supposedly crafted or overseen by Ms. Mendoza. Not much in depth or opinion. She is quietly moving up the power ranks with nothing visible to show for her supposed expertise. Very odd. Wouldn’t there be a more wide-reaching search and interview process for a City Attorney?
Jan 24, 2019, 11:08 am
It seems necessary to read the opinion and then see what it offers. I imagine that there are certain financing issues that are beyond the scope of an initiative. But that does not mean that an initiative cannot be circulated and placed on the ballot. Ada County learned this lesson with the Dry Creek matter, just recently. So, the fact that an attorney wrote an opinion is irrelevant until the City acts upon it. Then, if acted upon, criticism is warranted.
EDITOR NOTE–It would seem logical the city’s legal position would be contained within the chief legal officer’s opinion. If the opinion means nothing until acted upon, there would be no reason to author it.
Since the legacy media has given her a voice, it is important for the GUARDIAN to offer the perspective from prior attempts to prevent citizen votes.
Once again, the issue is not about anything other than the right of citizens to petition their government under the first amendment provisions to do so.
Jan 24, 2019, 2:51 pm
I second what E.B. Schofield said above. The Boise Guardian is THE best way to stay informed about what’s-going-on in Boise, in 2019. Tell your friends! Make a VOLUNTARY donation!
(I took advantage of the year-end special, to get past the daily paper’s “paywall,” and have been somewhat disappointed so far. I’ve never regretted a voluntary Guardian donation.)
Ms. Mendoza could simplify things by just declaring that it’s unconstitutional to second-guess our Elected Overlords. Please just send your money in, and then stay out of the way while they spend it.
I hope some Guardian readers out there might consider running for Boise City public office. If you’ve got a pulse beat, and aren’t a convicted felon or communist or ethnic supremacist, I’d vote for you over a Team Dave career politician! (And then if you let me down, like Team Dave does time after time, I’d vote for somebody else.)
Jan 24, 2019, 9:56 pm
Made a donation. Mr. Frazier, along with Don Day (boisedev), are my go-to sources for local news. The Boise Guardian is rigorous and professional. I’m so grateful for it. 🙂
EDITOR NOTE–Many thanks for your kind support.
Jan 25, 2019, 7:16 am
Mayor Dave doesn’t plan on letting something so silly as the citizens stand in the way of building a monument to him.
Ballpark, obscene library, trolley…
Jan 25, 2019, 9:04 am
Now, now, your forgetting the City did allow citizens have their say on the proposed Starbucks on State Street? or the dangers of a single plane landing in the Foothills? Or the dog park?
Of course the Mayor’s did stone wall us on the F35 debate. The Mayor would talk to the business leaders about how great the F35’s would be for Boise then neither he or nor any city official would meet with the Vista Neighborhood Association to talk about their concerns.
The Council members then traveled to Salt Lake to hear the F35 and proclaimed in their expert opinion “that the F35 weren’t any louder then the current air force planes.
Jan 25, 2019, 10:34 am
Easterner, I thought this topic was past, but you brought it up. I think you are being a bit dishonest by putting quotes around that phrase. Circumstances are that a man born, raised, educated and employed in the midwest closed his law practice. He then secures a judgeship appointment in a much different social and cultural area of the country. He lends his name to an organization with “La Raza” in it’s title. If you question the possibility of bias, the opposition screams RACIST to put an end to all conversation.
Jan 25, 2019, 10:42 am
In your supreme court fight about GBAD financing. Was there any discussions or insight how that financing mechanism could be fought or eliminated?? constitutional amendment? It appears that the bond authority under the urban renewal statue explicitly allows it, which is a contradiction of the municipal debt limit laws in the constitution. confusing, frustrating.
EDITOR NOTE–Short answer is CCDC owns the GBAD facility with an annual unsecured lease with 20 renewals.
Jan 25, 2019, 11:32 am
EDITOR. Boise has adopted Idaho’s initiative and referendum statutes. IC §18-1809 requires a legal review of the proposed initiative. It has no binding effect. So, the City Attorney was following the law and wrote an opinion. Now, everyone is reading malintent on the City’s part due to a responsible written opinion. If a petition directs the sun to rise in the West, it would still go on the ballot if qualified.
What statement do you have from an elected official stating that the petition will not go forward?
EDITOR NOTE–We appear to agree. Also, we never claimed anyone said it would not go forward. Still think Team Dave opposes a ballot measure. Think he will encourage a vote or try to get proponents to back off?
Jan 25, 2019, 1:15 pm
It would be bad form and foolish for the mayor or city council to not put it on the ballot if the signatures are gathered. I doubt that having the measure on the general election ballot would help any of the incumbents.
Jan 25, 2019, 3:44 pm
Again we have PROOF that anytime the VOTERS disagree with Mayor Bieter or the City Council they will do all they can to silence them.
Jan 26, 2019, 4:40 pm
I’ve rubbed shoulders with many of our leaders on various task forces and committees. While they don’t fear the average person, they fear the average person’s vote…. that is it will disrupt their vision of leading….. not representing, a belief rooted in the assumption they are better than most, and have consequently and appropriately been elevated. So it is not surprising to see any effort to get something done outside out voter approval.
While I disagree with the basis, they may be right, the average voter tends to vote based on headlines, tweets and re-tweets, not spending the time to be really informed. Even worse some just show up and check R or D on the ballot.
Many of you may be offended, but take comfort in you are here being informed, as opposed to checking your Fakebook feed.
Encourage your neighbors and friends to vote informed and make representative democracy more representative.
Jan 26, 2019, 4:49 pm
I am not joking.
I will match anyone’s contribution for Mr. Guardian’s campaign for local office up to my maximum contribution in total aggregate of $1,000.
I would love to see City counselors or county commissioners squirm as Mr. Guardian has the audacity to suggest they consider the citizens, or even worse, maybe the law suggests certain measures require a vote.
I don’t agree with Mr. Guardian on every issue, but I agree with his thought process.
Sorry to put you on the spot Mr Guardian, but where are you more useful, on a keyboard or tax-payer funded cigar chair??? or both?
While I would love to match anyone’s contribution dollar for dollar, I would rather it be my 1 to 10, and we all get $10K for Dave or more.
Dave…. Check… your move
EDITOR NOTE–I am not kidding either. I am not a candidate and if elected I will not serve. I am flattered by your offer. Let’s find some candidates and work together to preserve our rights for the citizens. My biggest dream these days is to find some researchers and writers to help with the GUARDIAN.
Jan 27, 2019, 2:35 pm
The City is claiming that it will violate its contract with the design firm if the City drops the project. And violating the contract is not allowed per the Idaho Constitution. It begs the question why there isn’t a Termination Clause in the contract, which is standard operating procedure…
Jan 28, 2019, 8:20 am
And if the architect should pass away? But, there could still be a mutual cancellation of the contract. The architect is not local. Does not have a dog in the fight. Can go on without this. . . issue. And perhaps no cancellation clause is a unconscionable contract.
Jan 28, 2019, 9:47 am
I know a brilliant guy who works hard for his millions. The wife simply does not care about reckless waste since she’s special and entitled.
This is the case of Boise City leaders recklessly paying too much for unneeded art because they want something unique with their name on it. They are special and entitled. They’re going to recklessly spend $100M of our money to get their photo in some uppity New York rich girl magazine. Bonus all the money and attention showered upon them by local contractors involved in the project.
Jan 28, 2019, 2:12 pm
Let the signature collection begin! Cant make a fair deal with a crooked angle.
Feb 1, 2019, 5:40 pm
Yup. When the initiative process ALIGNS with the Cabal, they love the process. When it DIFFERS, they hate the process. Same old story.
Inside of every liberal is a totalitarian, fighting to get out. That’s why they say that the Constitution is a “living document” so they can KILL it with their Orwellian schemes.
Boy, I would sure like to see some new talent voted into the City Council. Is it too much to ask?
Feb 21, 2019, 2:21 pm
Don’t forget about the Sun Valley Cannabis initiative case. The right to the initiative petition was upheld there as well, same time as the Ten Commandments case.
EDITOR NOTE–A fine piece of legal work presented by a layman!