The GUARDIAN pressed former City Councilor Scot Ludwig about his efforts to seek an amendment to the ordinance which prohibits use of public funds for any stadium project worth more than $5 million in either private or public funds.
Ludwig adamantly denied any connection to a current or future stadium project.
“All I want is to protect private property rights and honor the intent of those who circulated the petition,” he said adding, “I am not aware of any stadium proposals within the city.”
Here is his statement sent to media outlets Wednesday.
Voters in Boise last November, overwhelmingly approved a city Ordinance that addresses public expenditure on large sports facility projects. Without question, Boiseans clearly stated they wanted public involvement and a resultant vote on a significant public project of this nature. While I wholly support the intention and spirit of the Ordinance, as written it has one significant unintended consequence; the Ordinance violates the rights of private property owners enshrined in the Idaho Constitution.
The language of the Ordinance creates a blanket prohibition on a private landowner spending ONLY private money (no public money) on a sports facility that costs $5,000,000.00 or more, without first obtaining voter approval. There is no other similar circumstance found in Idaho law or municipal code in which a public vote supplants the private property owner’s determination of what they will do with their property, and for good reason.
Idahoans believe in the fundamental rights of private property owners and the right to the use of such property without excessive government intervention. This freedom is foundational to the culture and values of the people of our great state.
The group behind the Ordinance, Boise Working Together, worked hard and effectively to bring this Ordinance forward. I genuinely believe that the purpose and intent of the Ordinance was to require public involvement and a vote on a new stadium project that was in whole or part publicly funded, and not to unconstitutionally restrict the rights of private property owners that are not pursuing public funding.
As such, I would urge Mayor McLean, the Boise City Council and Boise Working Together and any other interested parties to come together and make minor changes to the Ordinance to preserve its intended and lawful purpose.
Attorneys for the City of Boise have repeatedly noted the unconstitutionality of the Ordinance. If left unamended, a legal challenge which would almost assuredly be successful would invalidate the entire Ordinance and would result in unnecessary expense. This can be avoided if simple changes are made to the Ordinance to cure its constitutional deficiencies, and we can preserve the fundamental rights of private property owners and honor the will of the voters of Boise.
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