There have been periods during its 58-year history when the Greater Boise Auditorium District directors did great things in the community. There certainly have been contentious times as well.
But incumbent GBAD board members Hy Kloc and Judy Peavey-Derr have helped preside over one of the most active and productive eras, and we see no reason why voters should deny them another six-year term in the May 16 at-large election. Early voting is underway, and the top two vote-getters win seats.
Kloc, who also serves in the Idaho House, and Peavey-Derr, who has served as an Ada County commissioner, face challengers Kristin Muchow, who works in the convention field, and Scott Mecham, who owns an accounting business.
Much like their predecessors, who oversaw the building of the Boise Centre in the 1980s, Kloc and Peavey-Derr — who spoke intelligently and eloquently at a Boise Chamber of Commerce forum Wednesday — have championed putting GBAD’s considerable financial resources to work with better investments and by building a $47.5 million Boise Centre expansion. That has spurred a Downtown Boise hotel renaissance that positions the district well to be competitive for double the number of conventions it was contracting before they took office.
GBAD is authorized to tax 5 percent on hotel room rentals in Boise, Garden City, and parts of Eagle and Meridian. So more convention means more revenue and a bigger local economic impact. Room taxes of $1.68 million through March were ahead of 2016 for the same period, when they were $1.49 million — and 2016 was a record year. Boise Centre revenues to date, $1.8 million, are 31.5 percent ahead of 2016.
Kloc, Peavey-Derr and colleagues Jim Walker, Peter Oliver and Steve Berch are the people who gave the green light to expand the convention space, betting it would increase the convention business and result in more revenue — and the potential for future projects, such as a downtown Boise multipurpose stadium.
All of the GBAD candidates are for exploring such a stadium concept to host baseball, soccer and other events. Our confidence in Kloc and Peavey-Derr to make the right decision about GBAD’s involvement comes from their performance in their first term. They are level-headed, smart, patient, collegial and concerned about what is best for the region.
Kudos to challengers Muchow and Mecham for jumping into the race for a job that pays only $60 a year.
Muchow has a great background in the convention business and displayed a command of the duties of a director. There is no doubt she would serve well if elected, for this job or for one in her bright future. Her only drawback in this race is that she hasn’t made the case why she should replace either of the incumbents, both of whom have done well for their constituents.
Unsigned editorial board opinions express the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. Community member Sophie Sestero recused herself because of her support for one of the candidates. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is GBAD?
The Greater Boise Auditorium District was established by voters in June 1959 to encourage growth and economic activity by building and operating visitor facilities like auditoriums, arenas and convention venues. The district’s money comes from a 5 percent tax on hotel room rentals inside its boundaries, which encircle Boise and Garden City.
The district owns and operates Boise Centre, the convention venue on The Grove Plaza that just underwent a $47.5 million expansion.
Early voting starts Monday
For the next two weeks, the county will take early votes at two locations. Here are the details:
Ada County Elections Office
400 N. Benjamin Lane, Ste. 100, Boise
Schedule: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday until May 12
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 6
Boise City Hall
150 N. Capitol Blvd.
Schedule: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, until May 12