Still not sure who to vote for? Here are the Idaho Statesman editorial board’s endorsements

Here’s a recap of endorsements from the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board in select Boise, Meridian and Eagle races.

Boise mayor

Lauren McLean has earned our endorsement to be Boise’s next mayor.

McLean has the background and experience necessary to be mayor, and she has demonstrated that she is ready for the position. She has been on the Boise City Council for eight years, the past two as president. She managed the successful campaign to pass the 2001 Foothills levy, for which she has drawn high praise.

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Lauren McLean

McLean promises transparency, accountability, and working collaboratively with residents and other officials. She vows to end a culture of grudges between the city and the Ada County Highway District, which would be key to developing a regional plan for transportation and public transit, one of her priorities.

She rightly recognizes the need to stop passing the cost of development on to taxpayers and would continue using impact fees to help pay for growth.

McLean has also identified updating the city’s comprehensive plan as a priority and has rightly supported more affordable, higher-density housing along transportation corridors.

In the end, McLean knows the issues facing the city, is deeply knowledgeable about how the city functions, and has expressed an openness to listen to others, forge partnerships across boundaries and move the city forward.

Boise City Council

Seat 1

Patrick Bageant gets our endorsement for this seat. Bageant has demonstrated a deep level of understanding of all the issues and shown a balanced, thoughtful consideration of key issues.

Bageant offers a measured approach to a host of issues, including public dollars for a stadium, affordable housing and property taxes.

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Patrick Bageant © Pete Grady 2013

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.”

Seat 3

We give the edge to Meredith Stead in this competitive race.

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. 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.

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Meredith Stead

Stead supports the city’s defense of its homeless camping ordinance, a position that this editorial board shares. She pointed out that the police are using this as a last resort and wants the ordinance to be in the city’s toolbox while continuing to expand homeless services.

Stead wants to work with other cities and agencies on public transportation and has valuable experience on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Seat 5

We endorse Brady Fuller for Seat 5 as a new voice on the City Council. His preparation in this race has been obvious, as he talks equally about meeting the 94-year-old resident who is afraid that one more increase in his property tax will force him out of his house and talking to residents who have reservations about using tax dollars on a new stadium.

Brady Fuller

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.

Boise propositions

The editorial board was split on the two propositions requiring public approval of the library (Proposition 1) and the stadium (Proposition 2).

On the one hand, voting “yes” would send a clear message to city officials that they bungled the public input process and haven’t earned the necessary buy-in for large-scale projects.

On the other hand, we have serious concerns and reservations about the language in the propositions that, if approved, could set up a legal quagmire.

Meridian mayor

By most accounts, the city of Meridian is a well-managed, efficiently run city and longtime Mayor Tammy de Weerd is a popular steward of the city trust. Meridian is on the right track.

So it makes sense to promote de Weerd’s chief of staff Robert Simison to the CEO position.

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Rosie Nary Photography Rosie Nary Photography

As could be expected of the person who has been the mayor’s chief of staff for the past 12 years, Simison demonstrates a deep level of understanding of the various and varied functions of city government, from zoning and densities to the sewer system and infrastructure financing.

With that background and experience, Simison promises to keep a steady hand on the tiller and will keep the city running efficiently and smoothly.

Simison will hit the ground running, as he is already well-aware of the inner workings of the city government and already works with city employees, department heads and other elected officials.

We are confident Simison, as mayor, will deliver basic city services in an efficient, well-run manner. We encourage him to set his own bold vision for the next step in Meridian’s evolution.

Eagle mayor

Voters in the city of Eagle would do well to stick with Mayor Stan Ridgeway. He has earned our endorsement for re-election on Nov. 5.

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Ridgeway is running on a platform of professionalism and civility, and he stayed true to that platform during his interview with the editorial board. He also is running on a promise and record of transparency, maintaining an open-door policy and meeting regularly with residents. We encourage him to maintain those qualities and to keep the people’s business in public view at all times.

We are encouraged that Ridgeway vows to manage growth by following city code, the city’s comprehensive plan and the state’s local land-use planning act as the guides. City code and the comprehensive plan should not be negotiable and changeable based on backroom deals. Development, particularly in a city like Eagle, which is known for higher-end houses and larger lot sizes, should be determined through the public process, at the Planning and Zoning and City Council meetings, not in the mayor’s office.

The city of Eagle is on the right track, and voters should stay the course by re-electing Ridgeway as mayor.

Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. Board members Mike Wetherell and Bob Kustra recused themselves from the Boise mayoral endorsement, and Bill Myers recused himself from the Eagle mayoral endorsement.
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