Friday, November 02, 2007

Boise City Elections - Who to Vote For

Vote for the candidates who have your confidence... those who will work to make our city what YOU want it to be.

I'll tell you who I'm voting for, and why.

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MAYOR - Jim Tibbs

I once heard Jim Tibbs describe a philosophy held by the Native Americans - that decisions should be based on how they will affect people seven generations from now.

I wish he'd talk about that more. It's that kind of thoughtfulness that we need in our local leaders, who shape the future of our community.

Dave Bieter, like me, is a "native son." I voted for him four years ago. He gave me confidence that he would have the old-timer's perspective as he operated the mayor's office. That he would be very protective of what little "small town" feel this city still had. (And is quickly dwindling away, in this observer's opinion.)

Frankly, I've been very disappointed.

Does Boise have a "master plan"? You wouldn't think so, based on how a lot of the business is conducted. It seems like there's a revolving door for the developers to get their variances and permits and get to buildin'!

Granted - the mayor's influence is limited. But he should have a lot more influence than I do, and I have seen nothing - or at least very little - to suggest that Bieter's "vision" for Boise is similar to my own.

Is your vision of the perfect community one of sprawling growth? L.A. Junior? Some like to use the word "vibrancy." Unfortunately, every year that passes, Boise is a little less like the community I grew up in, and loved.

Perhaps a more fair and valid question is - is Boise a better place now, than it was four years ago when Bieter got the mayor gig? I can't think of one thing that I like better about Boise now, than four years ago. I can think of lots of things that seem to have gotten worse.

Maybe growth is inevitable. (I've got mixed emotions about development. On the one hand... property owners should be able to maximize the potential of their property. But on the other hand... there's no denying that there is "spill-over" from thousands of new houses, that affects every one of us. More traffic and pollution. More crime. More graffiti and vandalism. More demand for limited natural resources - power, water, etc. Because of that, we all should have a voice in how much growth there is, and what kind of growth. Is the current mayor your best "voice"?)

Jim Tibbs doesn't give me total confidence, unfortunately. He got an endorsement from the Building Contractors of Idaho. I doubt they envision his putting his thumb down on growth. But I've known Jim for 15 years - he's my neighbor. And I've always gotten the impression that he's thoughtful, and approachable, and doesn't think he has all the answers. He's also lived in Boise for 50 years, so he has that "old timer" perspective - I hope he wins, and that he decides things based on how those decisions will affect people seven generations from now. (If he wins, and nothing changes, and Boise has 20,000 more voters come 2011, I'll likely be voting for somebody else in 4 years!)

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COUNCILMAN - Steve Kimball

He's running against Alan Shealy. That's reason enough for me to vote for Kimball.

(Yeah - I know a vote against somebody isn't as good as a vote for somebody. But that's kinda the way it is this time around.)

One could argue that Shealy has some impressive credentials. Accoring to the City website, he graduated from both Harvard and Oxford! He also touts the fact that he's a former Olympic rowing champion.

A glowing endorsement letter in the Statesman says he "... adds a global perspective to the council's consideration of Boise's present and future."

For me, that's the problem! I'd much rather benefit from the perspective of somebody who's lived in Boise for 40 years, and knows what it was like in 1960, than somebody who moved here about the time Hillary moved to New York. Or somebody who's "global perspective" is that Boise is fabulous... since it's not as bad as St. Petersburg, or Milan, or Newark!

Kimball is a largely-unproven entity. He's been a candidate for several positions, but isn't running with a track record. He's lived in Boise for 57 years, and seems to have the old-timer, taxpayer perspective (I hope!)

I get the impression Shealy thinks he's God's gift to our backward little burg, and he knows best, so if you disagree you better just shut up! If you're as convinced as Shealy is that he's a genius, by all means vote for him! I'll vote for the other guy.

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I don't feel strongly enough about any of the other contests to voice an opinion... vote for who's best.

The Boise Weekly newspaper had the best candidate profile I've seen... since the words are those of the candidates themselves. Click here to link to it.

Whatever else you do on November 6, VOTE! They are predicting there will be historic-low turnout... so every vote will count. If you don't vote, you have no right to join me in whining about how bad things are!!!
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