City Government

Voter Guide Is Deceptive

The folks who gathered signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot tell us the VOTER GUIDE Voters’ pamphlet produced by Boise City and advocates of the library project contains false statements. Here is their message on the subject.

In an effort to keep you updated on the citizens initiatives that appear on the November ballot in Boise, I wanted to pass along this update, as well as our record of correspondence, on a matter that has lately become a concern of a growing number of Boise voters we have been hearing from.

Last July, Boise Working Together President Adelia Simplot wrote the Boise City Clerk to express our concern that the language imbedded in the draft City of Boise Voters’ Pamphlet was inaccurate and could become a source of misinformation for voters seeking later in the fall to reach decisions on the two ballot initiatives that our citizen petition effort last spring successfully qualified for ballot status.

That language referenced in several places in the draft pamphlet a City-sponsored “Special Question” that would compete with the two already-certified citizens’ propositions on the ballot. That “Special Question” was described as an option destined for the same November ballot that would allow voters to “express directly their support or opposition to the Main Library Project.” (You may recall that such an alternative was advanced as an alternative to the citizens’ propositions by Boise Councilwoman Elaine Clegg and was the subject of much discussion earlier in the summer, about which many of you reported at the time.)

You may also recall that Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane specifically disallowed the appearance of a City-sponsored competing “question” on the November ballot, and that the issue died because of the City’s ineligibility to pursue such an effort.

The language referencing “a question … on this same ballot … by the Boise City Council” took on a life of its own, however, and still appears in the City of Boise Voters’ Guide that citizens began receiving in their mailboxes last Friday, September 20.

I am attaching a copy of the front and third page of the City’s voters’ guide, as well as a copy of our earlier July 31, 2019 communication with the Boise City Clerk’s office rightly pointing out this grievous error while there was still ample time to correct it, before the City’s voters’ guide went to press in September. Also attached is a two-page response to our request from Stoel Rives attorney Wendy J. Olson, also on July 31, 2019, acting in her capacity as retained outside counsel for the Boise City Clerk, refusing such corrections.

Concern from a growing number of voters who have received this new city guide to voting possibly accounts for recent difficulties voters have experienced in attempting to understand these citizens propositions, which are actually quite simple and understandable in their intent.

To reiterate, there is no City of Boise-sponsored “Special Question” or competing ballot proposition on the November ballot, contrary to the assertions made to voters in the newly-appearing City voters’ guide.

The only propositions on the ballot will be the two that were duly earned by Boise Working Together and 7,000+ petition signers — Proposition 1 (the library initiative) and Proposition 2 (the stadium initiative). Voting “yes” will approve those propositions and permit future citizen oversight of these classes of city projects; voting “no” will maintain the status quo, made no change in current law, and not subject city decision-making to any greater citizen consent.

Boise Working Together, a grassroots citizen organization, has always maintained that citizens retain their right to vote any way they see fit on the propositions that they, themselves, qualified for the ballot. We made one promise to the citizens of Boise when we began this initiative process in January 2019 — that we would get them their vote. That we did.

We do, however, believe that all citizens are entitled to correct, accurate, and up-to-date information as they are making their own personal voting decisions in the sanctity of their homes or in the voting booth. It is regrettable that errors in the recently-released decision document should cloud that process. We believe that intelligent voting — whether “yes” or “no” — should rest on a body of the most reliable and accurate information possible, available to all.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I believe the City should send out a NEW simplified Voter’s Guide that clears up the waters that have been muddied and fouled on purpose by City leadership. Any City government that actually believed in Democracy would correct such misleading and purposefully confusing information.

    Also, notice that the City even printed the actual Initiative petition language in very faint light gray print, making it harder for anyone to actually read what the Initiatives say and see how full of BS Bieter, Clegg and the Boise Public Library Foundation with Bev Harad at the helm really are.

  2. And I would like to highlight the point, the Idaho Legislature wants to make it MORE DIFFICULT for citizens to get an initiative on the ballot -ANY initiative.

    The Idaho Senate voted 18-17 in favor of limiting citizens’ initiatives.
    The Idaho House voted 40-30 in favor of limiting citizens’ initiatives.

    Only the Governor’s veto stopped it. The Idaho Legislature (again) thinks they know better.
    The bill was sponsored by EAGLE’s Republican Senator Scott Grow and fully supported by his fellow Republican cronies. Thumbs down to him and his supporters.
    What’s going on in Eagle??? Who really supports the ballot?

    The people of “Boise Working Together” know these were not the easiest accomplishments despite it being a well-supported initiative. Good job to them for doing it!

    And some politicians want make it more difficult????
    Shameful legislation in the Statehouse!

  3. Deep Midnight
    Sep 26, 2019, 10:58 am

    Thank you for this. I thought maybe I was crazy when I received it in the mail.

    The city question was ruled illegal I thought. How is it then inside their guide?

    My guess is that it was included as a rebuttal and not so much as solid fact. I dont really know honestly.

    Either way, this is really bad. They are more like our rulers than our representatives.

    Sep 26, 2019, 11:46 am


    #EDITOR NOTE– A yes vote preserves your right to approve debt.

  5. western guy
    Sep 26, 2019, 3:23 pm

    Of course the city-created voters guide is deceptive… the council and bureaucrats want it that way. Create obfuscation and confusion.

  6. Commies Suck
    Sep 26, 2019, 3:45 pm

    One should always expect deception from communists. We will not see any effort from local MSM to correct the intentional deception.

  7. I’m with Deep Midnight — including the city question was so confusing. I am a promoter of the right to vote and was so confused by the “voter guidance” provided by the City. Appreciate the clarification provided by the Guardian and Boise Working Together.

  8. What Your Vote Will Do:
    A YES vote on Proposition 1 means: The City of Boise could not undertake any aspect of a library project with expected costs of $25,000,000 or more without first obtaining approval by a majority of Boise voters in a future election.

    A NO vote on Proposition 1 means: Current law would not change. The City of Boise could undertake any aspect of a library project without first obtaining voter approval.

    A YES vote on Proposition 2 means: The City of Boise could not participate in any aspect of a sport stadium facility project with expected costs of $5,000,000 or more in public and/or private funding without first obtaining approval by a majority of Boise voters in a future election.

    A NO vote on Proposition 2 means: Current law would not change. The City of Boise could participate in any aspect of a sport stadium facility project without first obtaining voter approval.

  9. What Your Vote Will Do
    Sep 27, 2019, 12:55 am

    Tell everyone you know to simply read the text box labeled “WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO” on page 2 & 4 of the election pamphlet.

    These two sections are all one really needs to know in order to cut through the intentional and deliberate mass confusion created by the City’s current elected officials, who no longer deserve the privilege of serving in the best interests of the people.

  10. The Right To Instruct Their Representatives
    Sep 27, 2019, 1:09 am

    This whole issue makes me ponder a principle contained in the Idaho State Constitution; the right to instruct their representatives.

    Article 1: Declaration of Rights – Section 10. Right Of Assembly. The people shall have the right to assemble in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the legislature for the redress of grievances.

    The 7,000+ signatures gathered on the petitions demonstrate that the citizens wish to instruct their representatives through this formal democratic mechanism (voting) for expressing the will of the people. This mechanism will also ensure that elected officials can effectively carry out their duties as public servants.

    Prior to entering into the duties of public office, each elected official took a loyalty oath by solemnly swearing/affirming to support the Constitution of the State of Idaho. By not supporting, and outright discouraging, the citizens’ right to instruct their representatives via a vote, would Boise City’s public officers not be faithfully discharging the duties accepted via oath of office? I am not an expert on the Constitution, so I do not know the answer, but it does make me wonder.

    Meanwhile, do not allow yourself to be misled by the perceived value these projects may bring to the City, for that is not the issue at hand. This is about how explosive growth and progress has created a major crossroad, where Boise City Municipal Government no longer believes the citizens should be allowed to communicate via the ballot box, or have a meaningful say in how their tax dollars are used. Those are the real issue here.

  11. Vote YES on both Questions
    Sep 27, 2019, 1:54 am

    We need to spread the word that folks need to vote YES on BOTH questions.

    A YES vote will allow us to approve any debt the City tries to get into.

    VOTE YES on both!!

    Spread the word.

  12. Disappointed
    Sep 27, 2019, 9:16 am

    I am disappointed that the city cannot play fair with the voters. I cannot understand why Stoel Rives is having to answer for the clerk. The city has their own attorneys. Did they just “screw it up”? Did they wait so long for Bieter to send the word down that the thing already printed? I know Olson is a lawyer for defending federal criminals. Is that what Bieter is afraid of? Or is he trying to prepay his possible partnership buy-in with city money?

  13. Thank you Western Guy, I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is obvious evidence that Mayor Bieter wants everything to be so confusing, that he will not only win a fifth term, but build all the monuments to himself. I thought the giant cities were crooked, but Boise is outdoing even them. Next thing you know, we’ll have the Mafia taking over…

  14. Perhaps the Guardian could provide a link to Ms Olsen’s response to BWT so we can understand her logic for rejecting BWT concerns.

  15. The city could and should have added a note to the pamphlet as it has in the online edition of the voter guide:

    ‘Please note: The arguments below reference a “special question” measure being placed on the November ballot by the city. This “special question” measure will NOT appear on the November ballot.’

    This is yet another sign of the ineptitude at city hall. It’s the ol’ chicken-or-egg conundrum: Is the high rate of turnover, especially in the legal department, the cause or effect of the increasing failures of city leadership to know how the law works in an open society.

    It’s ironic that the LIBRARY!s Foundation, of ALL organizations, is party to such deception. Unfortunately, it’s the way the whole project has been handled. The proposed design is a lot of WOW — brash, flashy spaces, wasted energy, disregard for local landmarks — wrapped around a needed modest library expansion—and obfuscation of the true costs.

  16. When I received my copy of the City pamphlet, I saw the no means yes, yes means no language and waited until The Guardian posted clarifications, just in case the “What your vote will do” descriptions were not accurate. I will be voting YES on both issues.

    I will also be looking for the so-called “special question” that the pamphlet claims will be on the ballot. Prepare to take them to task if this is another lie. I’ll believe what I see or don’t see. I put nothing past bureaucrats these day.

    Easterner- I used to be a big proponent of initiatives that provide direct democracy, but in light of how EASY it is to manipulate mob mentalities and Call Out Cultures to push anti-freedom agendas, I will withhold my support for such contraptions. Witness how easy it is for mobs to be activated to claim simple things like the Okay sign and Bowl haircuts as “hate” symbols. I don’t want to live in a world like that. Initiatives informed by bully tactics and peer pressures are how 1917 Commie Revolutions happen.

  17. Are Geoff Wardle and Joshua Leonard the Developers for the stadium ? City Clerk should have labeled them for clarity sake. Oh Devious Dave and the Master Bieters Rate their record?

  18. western guy
    Sep 30, 2019, 8:43 am

    So where is the Boise City Clerk? Nary a word from her. Her spokespersons appear to be a Deputy City Clerk and a hired gun attorney. Possibly the City Clerk is hiding in her City Hall office? The secret facial recognition software program will identify her at dome point.

  19. I second JDB,’s point of seeing Wendy Olsen’s response for the city.

    I don’t understand how BWT on July 31st submits a complaint letter for the error, and on THE SAME DAY the city responds, from a third-party representative; no city operates that quickly on normal course.
    The appropriate place for that letter display is at BWT’s site- I see nothing on their online sites.

    A much better explanation is in our daily mainstream media

    Bad, but not deception,,,, or worthy of the impression of some of the above comments.
    The foul is the City publishing this thing at all- not necessary (unless bound by some archaic law).

    And certainly the discrepancy should not be confusing to anyone paying attention to the issue. It’s been 9 months!!!!

    I do find it interesting the two opposing camps have significant leadership by two ‘Boise matriarchs’- it’s like ‘grandma’s political power in play’.

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