The two candidates for the open District 2 Ada County Commision seat have different skills and experience they would bring to the county — which truly is at a turning point because of rapid growth and escalating layers of complexity.
But we choose Democrat TJ Thomson over Republican Rick Visser because Thomson’s background should allow him to plug in immediately and contribute to managing the county’s $235 million budget and 1,700 employees. There are estimates the county population of 440,000 could swell by 272,000 over the next 25 years.
Thomson has spent seven-plus years on the Boise City Council, so the ways of local government should be nothing new to him. During our discussions with him we have been impressed with his agenda of supporting local control, making government more accountable and cooperative with other agencies, and creating jobs by recruiting and enticing employers to come to the county. Thomson, a certified internal auditor, says he has identified savings for the city during his service to the City Council, and he vows to do the same for the county.
One of our issues with Thomson is that during the campaign he has attempted to stake out middle ground for city officials who are upset that they are being asked to provide courtroom facilities in their jurisdictions if they do not supply funds to Ada County to reimburse the county for their use of courtroom facilities and services at the Ada County Courthouse. In their that constitutes being charged twice, because they already help support the Ada County Courthouse.
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The trouble is, there is no middle ground, according to our research. Court rulings make it very clear that cities such as Meridian and Garden City have a responsibility to either contribute their share of the cost of the facilities they use at the courthouse or, if they chose not to do so, provide a facility at their cost in their community. Thomson’s opponent, Visser, got that right in a Guest Opinion he was asked to write for the Idaho Statesman.
Visser is a bright man, a graduate of the University of Idaho Law School and former director of the Idaho State Law Library. We hope he continues his vigilance of local government while sharpening his political skills. We think he has much to offer the community.
Thomson, on the other hand, is ready to hit the ground running. The city of Boise has faced many of the issues the county has confronted and we trust Thomson can use his considerable collaborative skills to bring about better relations between the city and the county.
Should Thomson prevail, he will transition from being a part-time public servant with the city to a full-time role on the Ada County Commission . We look forward to his contributions.
Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@ idahostatesman.com.