Appointed to the Ada County commission in May, David Case has emerged as a much-needed voice for accountability and transparency on the dysfunctional Dynamis waste-to-energy project proposal.
Jim Tibbs, meanwhile, is a well-known political figure. The former Boise City Council member and police chief is well-prepared for the commissions full-time administrative work.
The Ada County commission has lost its bearings and its credibility, largely because of the Dynamis debacle. Case and Tibbs are the best candidates to get the commission back on track.
Case did not join the commission as a political novice. The former Kuna School Board member was elected to the Ada County Highway District commission in 2010, a post he left to serve out the remainder of Vern Bisterfeldts commission term.
But there was little to foreshadow Cases strong start on the commission. He has been a gutsy public advocate on Dynamis pushing for an independent engineering review of the projects design, and publicly criticizing colleagues Rick Yzaguirre and Sharon Ullman for their closed-door approach to the project.
As the lone dissenter, outvoted by Yzaguirre and Ullman, Case has been unable to slow this questionable project. But that doesnt make his position any less principled or prudent.
Case also was on the right side on the issue of pay raises for elected officials, including a 15 percent raise for Sheriff Gary Raney, and 7 percent raises for several other officials. The raises were still excessive, ill-timed and ill-advised. Unfortunately, Case was again outvoted by Yzaguirre and Ullman.
Democratic opponent Thomas Howells campaign seems lacking in focus. By his own admission, hes running at his partys urging and filed to challenge Ullman who Case defeated in the May GOP primary, days before his appointment to the commission. Howell calls the current commission a nightmare and vows to bring a better management style to the job.
Thing is, county residents have seen this already from Case. He has passed his on-the-job audition under trying circumstances, and has earned a term of his own.
As an outsider, Tibbs says he has unanswered questions about the Dynamis project, but is sharply critical of the process. He jabs the county for its lack of transparency, saying he has tried to glean information by attending the commissions Dynamis meetings, such as they are. He says the county failed to bring cities up to speed about Dynamis (and the city of Meridian has since gone on record in opposition).
Like Case, Tibbs criticized the pay raises for elected officials. Tibbs also has a reasonable view of the bigger budget picture. He says hed like the county to continue holding the line on property taxes, but points out that the county has financed tax relief by using one-time reserves to pay its bills. This could set the stage for a budget crunch in the future and here, Tibbs four years of Boise City Council experience could be invaluable.
Democrat Larry Rincover is no stranger to county politics. He ran for commissioner in 2010, and we endorsed him over Yzaguirre. He makes no bones about his intention to fight urban renewal, which he says has siphoned away $100 million in county tax dollars over 12 years. Its a fair concern, but Rincovers answer funding urban renewal projects by convincing the Legislature to grant local-option taxing authority is politically far-fetched.
Relationships between the county and other local governments are already strained, thanks in part to Dynamis. A fight over urban renewal would only exacerbate those tensions. Tibbs would bring a steadier, more measured approach to the job.
Our View is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesmans editorial board.