Robert Ehlert: Educate yourself on the issues, candidates in this election

rehlert@idahostatesman.comOctober 13, 2013 

Robert Ehlert

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A little more than a month ago, we announced the Stateman’s coverage plans for the upcoming Nov. 5 municipal elections. Since then, more than 50 candidates representing nine different Treasure Valley communities have supplied us with information about themselves that we have shared online at IdahoStatesman.com/election.

With early voting underway in Canyon County and about to begin Tuesday in Ada County, our in-depth election coverage provides insight and information on candidates in the Ada County cities of Boise, Eagle, Garden City, Kuna, Meridian and Star, and the Canyon County communities of Caldwell, Middleton and Nampa.

Speaking of those elections ... though some races around the Treasure Valley are uncontested or essentially “safe seats,” others could end up being nail-biters that go back and forth as election night returns are tallied. I can tell you that Mayor Tom Dale is running hard in Nampa and taking nothing for granted, especially from challenger Bob Henry. We have already endorsed our favorite candidate in that race.

There is lively competition in the city council races in Meridian and Nampa, where both councils have expanded from four to six seats.

In Nampa, the issues tend to mirror those in the mayoral race: the effectiveness and expense of urban renewal district projects and the performance (or lack thereof) of the Idaho Center, a city-subsidized venue. In Meridian, 16 are vying for four seats, though most of the competition is in the two new seats: six running in Seat 5 and five running in Seat 6. The main issues in Meridian center on controlled growth, attracting business and keeping taxes low.

Elsewhere, some in Eagle are still sore that the present City Council awarded itself raises earlier this year. Growth and attracting business are on the radar of voters there as well.

In Boise, the big issues revolve around spending — especially the $16.9 million and $15.5 million price tags for two proposed bonds to make public safety improvements and to enhance parks and open space. See our Editorial Board’s position here.

Though we know voter turnout doesn’t break records in these city elections, I’d like to encourage everyone to get out — or stay in — to vote. How do you “stay in” to vote? Or vote early? From noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday I’m going to host an online chat with election officials from the Secretary of State’s office and Ada County. We’ll discuss early voting options and trends in Idaho and attempt to answer your questions. I’ll supply more details about the chat on Monday.

Robert Ehlert is the Statesman’s editorial page editor. Contact him at 377-6437, or on Twitter @IDS_HelloIdaho.

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