Boise city residents have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to candidates for Boise City Council.
We have found all of the candidates to be well-prepared, well-informed, engaged and passionate about the success of the city. This is a remarkably strong field of candidates, and with no fewer than 11 running for three seats, we feel we could easily seat two city councils with this field.
Boise City Council Seat 1
This is the most crowded race, with six candidates running for the seat being vacated by Lauren McLean, who is running for mayor.
Patrick Bageant gets our endorsement for this seat. Several candidates in this race, including Brittney Scigliano, Karen Danley and Ryan Peck, would serve voters well, but Bageant has demonstrated a deep level of understanding of all the issues and shown a balanced, thoughtful consideration of key issues.
For example, rather than giving a simple “yes” or “no” answer to the question of public funding for a downtown stadium, Bageant said at a candidate forum this month that it would be wise to look at the investment the city is being asked to make and determine whether that’s a wise investment. If it’s a relatively small, relatively modest investment, he said, such as $5 million today, and 20 years from now the city owns a stadium, “that seems like a really good deal.”
He also pointed out that just as open space or mountain biking in the Foothills is a value to some residents, going to a ballgame is a value to still other residents, meaning an investment in a stadium would provide an amenity to residents, just as an investment in parks or public transit would be.
Bageant also offers a measured approach to a host of other issues, including affordable housing, the downtown library proposal and property taxes.
He supports city programs that aim to make affordable housing attainable and programs to address climate change.
Bageant said he supports the library but does not support a library “that a significant number of people loathe.” Moving forward, he recognizes the process for a new library needs to be collaborative and involve the public to “build consensus for a library that we can all be proud of.”
Bageant has earned some key endorsements, including Conservation Voters for Idaho, Boise Firefighters Local 149, Boise Regional Realtors, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, Idaho AFL-CIO and the Building Contractors Association of Southwestern Idaho, among others.
He also earns our endorsement.
Boise City Council Seat 3
Seat 3 features an extremely competitive race with two highly qualified candidates: Meredith Stead and Jimmy Hallyburton.
We would love to see both of these candidates on City Council, but since we have to choose only one, we give the edge to Stead.
Stead said she supports a new library and acknowledges that it would act as a support to branch libraries and be something the city could be really proud of. Unlike the stadium, she said, the library is a free amenity to residents. While she supports the library project, she said she’s glad it’s on hold so city officials and the public can look at the details of the budget.
Stead supports the city’s defense of its homeless camping ordinance, a position that this editorial board shares. She pointed out that she researched the issue and found that only three citations have been issued this year, demonstrating the police are not using this as a first option. She supports using it as a last resort, but wants the ordinance to be in the city’s toolbox.
At the same time, she supports continuing and growing homeless services in Boise, and points to other cities, such as Seattle and San Francisco, that haven’t invested commensurately on services.
This is a key difference between Stead and Hallyburton, who does not support the city’s legal defense of the ordinance.
On a downtown stadium, Stead said she recognizes the importance of infrastructure building community, but she wonders that if taxpayer dollars are used, would residents get discounted tickets. Still, she supports the project in general but would be cautious with the use of tax dollars.
On public transportation, Stead rightly recognizes the need for a valleywide solution, noting that Boise invests $8 million, far more than any other municipality in the Treasure Valley. Stead supports ideas like light rail and pursuing a local option tax through the Legislature, but in the meantime, as a practical matter, she’s in favor of having conversations with other cities and getting them on board with contributing to public transportation.
Hallyburton shares many of the same views on the issues and is equally well-informed, well-prepared and passionate about Boise, most notably as the director of the Boise Bicycle Project.
Stead gets the edge in part for her service on the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission, a good proving ground for work on the City Council.
Boise City Council Seat 5
In the race for Seat 5, Elaine Clegg has done a wonderful job as a City Council member for four terms, the past 16 years, and has done great things for the city, but we think it’s healthy to keep leadership fresh, and we feel it’s time to give someone else a voice at the table.
We believe that new voice is Brady Fuller, who has been impressive in his preparation, research and priorities in his run for office.
Fuller was born in Boise, went to the University of Idaho and served in the Peace Corps in Cambodia. He was appointed by Gov. Brad Little to serve on the state Commission on Service and Volunteerism.
To prepare for this election, he said he has knocked on hundreds of doors and talked to residents about the issues important to them.
His preparation has been obvious, as he talks equally about the 94-year-old resident afraid that one more increase in his property tax will force him out of his house and the people who have reservations about using tax dollars on a new stadium.
He has a firm grasp on the need for regional planning and forging a better working relationship with Ada County Highway District. And he recognizes that the most important thing that City Council members can do is be transparent in the budgeting process.
He said his No. 1 budget priority is affordable housing, and his second budget priority is transportation, recognizing that “we have got to make sure that we are designing a city that recognizes that public transportation is the future.” His third priority is open spaces, recognizing how important that is to Boise’s identity and to the people who live here.
“The first-best thing about Boise is the people who live here,” Fuller said. “The second-best thing is the backyard that we all get to share and enjoy, and we must do everything we can to protect that open space.”
Transparency is an underpinning of his campaign, a common thread in his positions on the library, the stadium and formulating the city budget.
Fuller speaks confidently and with authority because he’s passionate about the issues and he’s confident in his positions, clearly having done his research and spoken with his constituents. Despite his inexperience in city government, we are confident that he will be able to hit the ground running when he takes office.
Brady Fuller represents a bold and fresh new voice for city government, and he gets our support.