City Government

Is Our System Of Government Broken?

By DAVID R. FRAZIER, editor
Whenever I see or hear comments from citizens saying, “They are going to do whatever they want no matter what we say,” I cringe.

Throughout my years in school and while serving in the military the mantra was, “we have a government of the people, for the people, by the people.”

Well, sort of, sometimes, maybe.

I have spent more than a decade trying to force the politicos to obey the Idaho Constitution and seek permission from “we the people” to go into debt in excess of a single year’s revenue.

NUMEROUS courts have upheld my arguments, including the highest court in Idaho. The net effect has been to enrich the lawyers in excess of $1 million. The local governments have also created ways to get around those pesky voters with thinly disguised “lease” deals.

Despite major questions about a new library, Boise City is forging ahead hiring consultants, lobbyists, and others while hiding these deals deep on 1,000 page agendas.

Now, citizens are up in arms and got the Idaho House to pass a bill requiring a citizen vote for urban renewal projects to build public structures. The Idaho Senate looks like it will fight the will of the people and even the House of Representatives which has passed the bill.

These are the same folks who refuse to allow Ada County Highway District to tax trucks over 8,000 lbs. They fight a citizen vote to expand medicaid coverage, they work to thwart efforts to petition for initiatives.

Move on up the food chain to Washington and it is no better.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in trouble being led by people who dislike us, see us as an adversary, and continue to spend our money in a shameful manner.

I would like to say “your vote counts. Contact your representative.”

But I have come to believe they will do whatever they want anyway. Makes me cringe.

Comments & Discussion

21 comments for “Is Our System Of Government Broken?”

  1. Eamonn Harter
    Mar 13, 2019, 11:47 pm

    If this bill is scuttled, the next step to escalate the battle will be for citizens to mount recall petitions for certain elected officers. ANY elected official in Idaho, state, county or city can be removed from office and special elections held if signatures from 20% of eligible voters are gathered. We will have to take it into our own hands.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are correct on all counts. The law used to be “…signatures from 20% of those who voted in the last election.” We are lucky to get 20% of those eligible to even vote, let alone sign a petition.

  2. Hate to say I told you so, but……

  3. 維尼熊同志
    Mar 14, 2019, 9:09 am

    Wa, wa, Wa, wa. Does somebody need a wambulance?

    As for me, I’ll get back to 自學敵國語 so I will be ready when they finally take over.

  4. Well, I’m not sure the system is broken. Certainly parts of it have been twisted–the power of committee chairmen is a great example. Anything that manages to clear a legislative body with that level of bipartisan support should not be able to be stopped by one person. And the whole thing about changing the initiative process really bothers me–Sen. Hill can talk about the unfortunate timing of the introduction of the bill, but I simply don’t believe him. Look at the track record of citizen initiatives and the insistence of the Legislature to try to override/change them as well as wanting to move the bar.

    I understand that the more rural areas of the state are concerned with their loss of power. But political power in our country is supposed to come from the people. And most of the people live in urban areas. I’ve always been angry about the way the US Representative districts are drawn in Idaho: right down the middle of the urban area in Ada County to dilute the city vote. Just another way the rural manage to keep the city folks down.

    I’m left politically, but not of the left. I too am tired of the abuse of URDs and the imperial attitude of the mayor, ACHD, and most of the City Council. I’d gladly support other progressives/liberals who remember they answer to the citizens, and their purpose is to benefit the people and not just exercise power. I’d run myself, except youthful indiscretions would probably color the electorate against me.

    In a nutshell: the system isn’t broken, the current implementation is. I hated the idea of term limits, but maybe something similar to promote churn and limit the accretion of power would be good. Anyone have some ideas how to do that?

  5. Vote the Senator Out
    Mar 14, 2019, 10:36 am

    If the senator will not present the bill to the committee and a vote then we will do all we can to ensure the senator is replaced.

    He must not believe in giving voters a vote. We will just vote him out.

  6. to be historically correct it is

    “of the people, by the people, for the people.” – President Lincoln.

    Weird how such important quotes can be mixed up. ha!

    Much like the days of 1863, Americans are still divided in politics and opinions.
    That is exactly what has ALWAYS been GREAT about America!

  7. No, it’s not broken.

    The last two years has only given us confidence that our system of government does work like it is supposed to– it has checks and balances. Even though lots of stupid crap slips through, the lot of things remains in balance. Yes, there are idiots being elected to represent the idiot voters. “By the people”- when we start with a pool of dumb citizens we can only expect dumb representation. Nonetheless, it is “by the (dumb, selfish) people”.

    Just because Rep Anderst & Moyle and their cronies want to run an anti-local govt bill through one committee with the support of their buddy Bedke doesn’t mean the Senate has to acquiesce. – checks and balances.

    The irony here is, ONCE AGAIN, the Idaho GOP platform says “Local govt is best. The lowest level of decisions is best.”
    They oppose ANY effort the federal govt shoves down to the state level, BUT they are more than happy to shove state opinions and policy down to the city/county level.

    Just because the majority of BOISE is contrary to the crony Legislature beliefs, the state GOP thinks they know better and want to overrule the LOCAL politicians of Boise.

    AS for the citizens having a vote on URD money expenditures— it is working exactly as installed- there is already an effort of a citizen vote on the big projects; and there is an effort to oppose it.
    There was an election. The elected officials are doing what they were chosen to do. AND there will be a future election to change course if the majority so chooses.

    There will always be some segment of the people upset by the rule of majority– those people are called the minority. It is comforting being in the majority and frustrating being in the minority. Sometimes, choosing where one LIVES solves that dilemma.

    It is working just like the system is intended- with some patience, optimism, and empathy- it will continue to work.

  8. Boisean Since Forever
    Mar 14, 2019, 11:07 am

    The downtown gang has built a political machine to rival any seen in Chicago, New York or L.A. We need a serious investigative reporter to track all the interlocking boards and committees plus the members of boards who are married to members of other boards. Mr. Mayor is true to his Democrat roots: tax, spend, ignore the people, and build the city of Oz for all to come admire. Above all else: “I know what you want better than you know what you want.” City Hall can say no to the people, but the people are not allowed to say no to City Hall.

  9. Carpetbaggers
    Mar 14, 2019, 11:22 am

    Politicos are almost always certifiable narcissists. We’ve known them since the 8th grade when the traditional teacher’s pet gets involved in the student leadership. We only NEED about 10% of them. The remainder are just parasites. The parasites invent important pretend jobs for themselves and give blowhard awards to one another for egregious taxation and wasteful spending.

    The past has always been proven to repeat. It is a tragedy to see the country I knew and loved as a young man be destroyed by these useless soulless carpetbaggers. They’re doing it to us with a giddy selfish smile. Even better, many also double as religious peddlers.

    My gosh, we the people really are hard luck suckers. It is our collective failure to buy their BS repeatedly. Look to Europe, England in particular, to see our national future. For Idaho’s near future look to California.

  10. Heinrich Wiebe
    Mar 14, 2019, 12:45 pm

    This experience is built into the system. Representative Democracy: a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, through elected representatives. Those represented are not you and not me. “…rule by an elite, or oligarchy, is inevitable as an “iron law” within any democratic organization as part of the “tactical and technical necessities” of organization.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy

  11. Buck up Fraz we will get there ,steady the course,nothing is easy. Coop

  12. It’s exasperating and depressing. But I thank you for your vigilance and dedication to doing what is right, just and prudent. To honoring something which is beyond yourself. Would be nice if our “leaders” had such dignity.

  13. Sure can be confusing out there –city asks for public views on changes to accessory dwelling unit rules. 414 of the 560 folks who replied were against removing the owner-occupied requirement. Nonetheless that is going forward for further public comment. Sometimes it just seems they keep asking for input until they get the answer they’re looking for.

  14. The system is only broken if people refuse to participate in democracy. I think that is what is and has been done as more and more people are disenfranchised from the one or two party political power system. Everyone seems to think that if you do not tow a party-line than you don’t belong in the political process. I liken elections to a job interview, you will rarely have the perfect candidate and you don’t have a choice in not hiring someone, therefore you need to choose the best person for the job and set all party affiliations aside.

    It is sad to see here in Boise, where Team Bieter has ran virtually unopposed since being elected. Therein his regime has become more and more egocentric thinking that everything that they do must be right because the citizens have voted for him and the city council in the past. Therein his powers grow, he installs his politico cronies into agencies in which he controls like CCDC and his power grows.

    I think that if citizens are organized they can enact change, if they are not then nothing will change. Look no farther than the Ada Commissioner’s race. The old Commissioners disregarded several organized citizen groups with several decisions and they lost their jobs.

    As for the Urban Renewal bill that has been passed by the house and is being sat on in the Senate, it is one that has been drawn up by citizen efforts. I will say that it seems to fall short in that UR agencies are not required to disclose their financials whatsoever. That needs to change. Since they are government funded corporations they need to have publicly available and reviewed budgets. This should not have to be, but in cases such as with Team Bieter and CCDC these abuses do not go unnoticed and things need to change.

  15. E.B. Schofield
    Mar 15, 2019, 11:38 am

    DB – The annual budget, financial statements, and annual reports are all on CCDC’s website – under the “Board” tab, go to “Resources, Reports & Studies” for this info.

    HB 217 does not need to require financial disclosure because this is already in the existing LEDA.

    It is worth taking the time to read this material to see what everyones tax dollars are funding.

  16. I believe we the people have elevated ELECTED PUBLIC SERVANTS! They are refereed to, by the public and themselves as Team Dave, local politicos, “leaders”, Wealthy politicians, to name some.
    Once someone is elected to a public office, at any level of government, they, by their own choice, become a public servant! Taking an oath to serve the public! Hence an ELECTED PUBLIC SERVANT!
    Why do we keep them in office when they aren’t working for the needs of the public.
    Our local media boosts of being community oriented and allows both elected and appointed public servants to read their own scripts!
    When no one responds it sends a message that what they said is okay.
    Elected public servant Elaine Clegg is offend when the public mentions there is NO representation in their neighborhood! Dah
    With all the outstanding neighborly help mentioned over the years about Boise ans Dave Beiter wants to start a be kind initiative? Citing being kind as helping those in need while most all of his decisions are based on what he and lobbyist want VS what Boise ans NEED.
    I understand that the CCDC bought Idaho Sporting Goods for $2million plus. Parking Garage? While our elected public servants continue to invest millions of dollars in a study for a downtown street car to FREELY move pedestrians from one CCDC parking garage to another?
    As Freddy Mercury said “Is this the world we created”?

  17. The “system” is broken, dead, and buried.

    Voting – If it worked, it would be illegal.

    The rich folk pour money into political candidates.

    The Corporate Media tells folks which candidates to vote for.

    The “Good ol’ Boys Club” of politicians do the bidding of the Oligarchs.

    The Police keep the peasants from rising up against the Oligarchs.

    “We the People” are cattle managed and harvested as needed.

  18. The sad thing is most people don’t care. That is the reason that your mayor will be elected again if he runs. My guess is 60 or 70% of registered voters turn out for a President election. Out of that number of people how many really care about our local election? Usually your mayor has a very weak person running against him.

    When you look at registered to the population of people that could vote you are at 40 to 50% in a good years. Then you look at the cost of what it takes to get elected you understand why it is hard to get good people to run for office. My guess is not a single person that is complaining on this site will run for any political office the next go round. And I don’t blame them. Much easier to sit back and complain.

    JMHO

  19. I’ve said it before and now again….this nation has been gradually wrapped in a fake democracy that has a sole purpose to undoing the Republic, that took me too long to actually understand how important this really means. Education in this nation is almost pure brainwashing. Repeating over and over again, useless platitudes and garbage concepts, wrapped in social engineering gibberish has reduced us into anti-thinking bots, ready to be programmed by fake news media on a daily basis.

    The Bill of Rights has never meant so much as it does right now. Those that believe it is outdated and irrelevant because of their acceptance of this new modern world of shiny objects are just stupid fools. You are trapped in your own mummified cognitive dissonance, as I was when I thought I knew it all and accepted the “progressive” mantras that pervade today’s political discourse. It’s all bunk, built on the PROBLEM-REACTION-SOLUTION model of selling a prescription for a disease that has been misidentified by the fake doctor that you have been trained to believe, without question.

    We have a bartender, hired as an actress (verified), telling us all that the world will end in 12 years and that we have to give up cars and cows and planes in 10. I actually swallowed this crap for years, until I woke up. I’m sure Team Dave is not far behind the bartender’s schedule.

    So, the system is working just fine, because it was hi-jacked from the REAL system that was put in place after the Revolution, almost 200 years ago, by the very creeps that the Founders fought against. That’s why Ben Franklin said that if they had lost the war, they all would have been hung for “crimes” of their thoughts. Sound familiar?

    WAKE UP!

  20. Diane Stearns (Navillus.55)
    Mar 16, 2019, 9:55 pm

    Mr. Frazier,

    I so admire your editorial. I am now eighty-one years of age, so I’ve seen quite a bit in my lifetime. Our society, as well as our government is going straight down the tube. I never thought it could be this bad — I just don’t see the ethics or the honor and respect that we so admired all those many years ago. We are also missing the intelligence and the knowledge of history that our politicians were supposed to have in order to run for a position. The human race has become pitiful and, quite frankly, I’m glad that my time on this earth can’t last too much longer. I truly don’t believe we can recover from the disaster we have brought upon ourselves.

  21. They will do whatever they want as long as no one holds them accountable. This entire system of government is based upon the people holding their elected representatives accountable. When we fail to do that, as you continue to do, we get exactly what we deserve. As the prophet Jeremiah noted, “The heart of man is desperately wicked, who can understand it.” (Clearly a paraphrase :-))

Post a comment

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address:

Categories