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The Growth Vote: Q&A with Boise City Council Seat 1 candidates

Boise Mayoral Election

The race for Boise City Council Seat 1 includes six candidates, the most for any council seat in Boise or Meridian. Patrick Bageant, Karen Danley, Tecle Gebremichael, Chris Moeness, Ryan Peck and Brittney Scigliano all hope to win voters’ approval. The seat is currently held by Lauren McLean, who is running for mayor.

As the filing deadline for the 2019 municipal races in Boise and Meridian closed, BoiseDev sent each of the candidates a set of 12 questions about the direction of each city.

Tecle Gebremichael did not respond to multiple requests to fill out the survey sent to the email address provided on his filing paperwork.

From the most-pressing issue to their views on growth – to a description of their city in a single emoji, the answers are enlightening and informative.

Answers are not edited, with the exception of some minor capitalization and a few punctuation issues. We did not fix spelling or word use.

Read candidate Q&As

What do you think of where Boise is headed?

Hyde Park Boise
Boise’s Hyde Park. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Patrick Bageant: In Boise, the future is bright. Cities all over the country envy us, and for good reasons: we are the economic and political center of our state, located a stone’s throw from America’s greatest wilderness areas, and yet a short commute from Seattle or the Silicon Valley. Boiseans, on the whole, live longer, healthier lives than the rest of the country and are happier, more fulfilled than average Americans. Culturally, we are vibrant, proud of our city, and proud of the lives we live here. These assets are hard to measure but they are tremendous. It is true that we face real challenges in housing, transportation, and sustainability but we must never forget just how well-equipped we are to confront them. Our economy is strong, and our people are resilient and invested. With the right leadership, there is every reason to be optimistic about where Boise is headed. I certainly am.

Karen Danley: One of my top priorities is improving collaboration with leaders throughout the Treasure Valley. I will make time to meet individually and build relationships So that we can find common ground and work to achieve solutions that benefit all communities. It is important that our city’s develop together and that none of them are left behind due to the pressures of growth.

Chris Moeness: Boise is known for our outdoor lifestyle, friendliness, and its quality of life. These are some of the reasons for Boiseans immense pride and why people want to live here. However, Boise is at a place where if we don’t get hyper focused on addressing our most important issues, and fast, the quality of life that Boise is known for will disappear. I’m extremely proud to call Boise home and am hopeful we can make some meaningful changes to our city.

Ryan Peck: I think Boise has the potential to be an even cooler place than it is now. One with more arts and culture, diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability and economic opportunity. But to get there we have to address pressing issues that are facing us right now. Much of the current data indicates that Boise is currently on an unsustainable path. Aggregate earnings are down. Poverty is up. And, increasingly, there is a reliance on a service-based economy. There are many tools in the toolbox that we can use to address this. And we have to know that many of the choices we are making now will have long-lasting reverberating consequences for our city. When I think about the companies that have historically driven our local economy I think of companies such as Micron, Albertson’s and Simplot. The commonality is that these were all home-grown companies. So a great option, and one that makes a lot of sense to me, is to encourage more resilience and creative entrepreneurship among our youth, especially those aged 13-24. There are many effective ways for the city to do this. We need to empower our youth culture and give the citizens in their teens and early 20s the tools they need to lead creative, sustainable lives.

Brittney Scigliano: Boise is not a small city anymore. We benefit from many of the amenities growth brings such as a vibrant park system, a thriving downtown core, and many great neighborhoods. But not everyone is benefiting from Boise’s growth. We have skyrocketing taxes and housing prices, increasing traffic and congestion, and a shortage of middle income jobs. We have a tough job ahead of us. We need to manage current growth without compromising Boise’s community feel. We have to do something now or we’ll miss the chance forever!

What is the most-pressing issue facing Boise right now?

Patrick Bageant: The most pressing issue facing Boise right now is that the benefits of the last decade’s economic boom have not shared as evenly as they should be. While Boise’s economy has grown in the last ten years, real wages have fallen and the percentage of people living below the poverty line has increased. That single problem is the string upon which the rest of our most talked-about issues hang: affordable housing, transportation, sustainability, and property taxes. Affordable housing is just as much an issue of the price residents can pay as it is about what homes cost. Transportation is about how far people must travel to earn a paycheck just as much as it is about congestion or accommodating vehicles. Smart, long-term, sustainable policies become much more difficult to justify when the trade-off involves the baseline standard of living in real humans’ lives. And, property taxes begin to feel “high” when they exceed what we can afford to comfortably pay. It would not be realistic to expect the Boise City Council to solve the national wage-gap problem, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge it for what it is. Our most visible problems (housing, transportation, property taxes, and sustainability) all are tentacles that are connected to this single problem. Second only to climate change, it is the most pressing issue we face.

Karen Danley: I am hearing repeatedly from homeowners and renters, as well as businesses, that they are being overburdened by rising property taxes. I have felt this impact as well, and will focus my efforts on the ways we can address this so that all economic levels can remain in Boise and not be unfairly pushed out.

Chris Moeness: Ultimately, I think the most pressing issue, now and for the next few decades, is how we handle our growth. We must grow but we need to do so in a way that preserves the community and our quality of life.

Ryan Peck: On a local level the biggest issue is unprecedented local growth. This growth is affecting nearly all of the quality of life factors for our citizens. Affordable housing, loss of cultural hubs for teens, transportation challenges and loss of open space all correlate with the rapid growth our city and surrounding area is experiencing. We should address this growth in a sustainable fashion using deliberative, data-driven solutions. We also have to be cognitive of the biggest issue of our times: climate change. The data is in. We have move forward in ways that ensure a sustainable future.

Brittney Scigliano: The most pressing issue facing Boise right now is a lack of collaboration between local and State leaders. City leaders need to address concerns around our growth. Boise has many limitations when it comes to solutions for housing and transportation issues. And our accomplishments will be minimal if we don’t start working with regional and state leaders.

If elected, what will be your first priorities in the job?

Patrick Bageant: First, Boise’s well-earned reputation for sustainability and quality of life is worth defending. Our city does face challenges but we must not forget that people all over the country wish they could be in our shoes, and we should never lose sight of this reputational asset. Those of us who are lucky enough to call Boise home know it is a wonderful place but that didn’t come for free. We are legacy heirs to more than fifty years of work on the river, open spaces, and sustainability initiatives, and we owe it to the next generation to carry on this tradition. I will work with neighborhood associations, non-profits, and initiative voters to make sure bike paths, parks, clean air, and open spaces expand just as quickly as the rest of our city. Second, you can’t enjoy a city if you can’t afford to live there. Falling wages and rising home prices are pushing people to outlying communities, reducing our tax base, wasting worker hours, polluting our air, and lowering the standard of living. We must rezone our transportation corridors for density. We must ensure that everyone who wants a place to live has one. We must make these investments today because they will only be more expensive tomorrow. Third, now more than ever people demand accountable leaders. “Accountable” doesn’t mean re-electable, it means doing the work of governing. In Boise, that requires good-faith discussions, not fighting, with other branches of government. It requires responding to disagreement by working harder to collaborate rather than turning away. It requires emphasizing the “service” in public service. In four years I will report back to you with a list of what we have done together, not with complaints about who got in our way. Every elected official owes you that. I am looking forward to delivering.

Karen Danley: My priorities are as follows: Reestablishing City Priorities Enact prudent fiscal policies, as homeowners and renters are overburdened by rising property taxes Serving as a voice for our underrepresented neighborhoods Allowing citizens a vote on more decisions that come with a price tag. Improving collaboration among leaders throughout the Treasure Valley Maintaining our Quality of Life Balancing the needs of current residents while welcoming new residents. Improve Public Transit options and reduce traffic congestion Attracting better paying industries through educational partnerships Safe and Livable Communities Equitable distribution of public resources and community benefits Preservation of our environment and city’s cleanliness Sustainable growth that offers diverse housing choices and preserves neighborhood character.

Chris Moeness: If elected, I will focus on updating our City Code to include mixed-use & form-based zoning codes, which can preserve the character of a community through design requirements rather than its land use. I will also work to improve the City’s Home Ownership program, which provides a small 2nd loan to low income families who are trying to buy a home.

Ryan Peck: My first priority will be to pull the civic conversations we are having to include our youth. Beyond that, I will immediately create good relationships between myself and city employees, surrounding city and county leaders and surrounding agencies.

Brittney Scigliano: Boise’s major issues cannot be solved by city government alone. In order to solve issues related to transportation and housing prices we’re going to have to work with ACHD, VRT, the State Legislature, local business leaders, and other cities in the valley. My first priority if elected will be fostering the relationships necessary to actually solve our problems. I have spent the last two years developing an understanding of city process, zoning code and plans, and have developed working relationships with city and business leaders around Boise. My experience affords me the opportunity to get to start work quicker. I will expand my working relationships regionally, set to work on some larger concerns around transportation and housing, while tackling some of the ‘low-hanging fruit’ such as a demolition review ordinance and improving the zoning code.

Increasingly, Boise is part of the fabric of a larger metro area. As a city council member, what will you do to foster collaboration with other jurisdictions?

Patrick Bageant: Thinking too hard about this question can tempt us to forget that, in the end, collaboration is something that occurs among human beings, and what has failed are people. That’s also where the solution is. To some extent, the natural turnover that occurs in any organization over time works in our favor: it is easier to hold an old grudge than it is to compromise, but the new person doesn’t have any grudges to hold. And, to some extent, the very fact that we are becoming part of the “fabric” of a larger metro area also works in our favor. Meridian, Nampa, and Eagle are no longer our neighbors over the hill – they’re our neighbors down the street. This November, Boise’s voters can take advantage of those trends by electing leaders who are practiced at understanding both sides of every issue, who have the integrity to put the long-term economic health of this city and well-being of its residents first, and who understand that leadership is not about advancing a personal agenda, pleasing everyone, or trying to stay popular. Real leadership is about work, coalition-building, and patient persuasion. With the right leadership, the increasingly unified nature of our metro area will cause it to shine.

Karen Danley: One of my top priorities is improving collaboration with leaders throughout the Treasure Valley. I will make time to meet individually and build relationships So that we can find common ground and work to achieve solutions that benefit all communities. It is important that our city’s develop together and that none of them are left behind due to the pressures of growth.

Chris Moeness: It’s especially important right now for the entire Treasure Valley to work together to address our growth for the coming decades. I think a good place to start is by talking to each other and finding small ways to help.

Ryan Peck: Creating good relationships with all other city leaders and influential agencies is key. I look forward to getting on a first name basis with with all other surrounding city leaders and agencies. I look forward to fostering collaboration and working towards our common goals while working to include everyone’s voice at the table, especially our youth.

Brittney Scigliano: I have worked for the last two years to bring city, business, and community leaders together to find real solutions to connectivity and safety issues. I have been successful in building relationships and collaborating by listening, being open to compromise, and looking at factual information. I will continue to build those relationships so that we can serve the people of Boise effectively.

The City of Boise’s push to approve increased density in a rural part of NW Boise has caused friction in recent years. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

What do you think of Boise’s relationship with the Ada County Highway District? What would you like to see change, if anything?

Patrick Bageant: Boise’s relationship with the Ada County Highway District has not been a sterling example of success. There is plenty of blame to go around but, rather than look back at past failures, it’s time to look forward to a more successful future. The two need a better footing: I would like to see a joint working group between the Ada County Highway District and the city that is robust and meaningful, and I would like to see a regular, one-on-one meetings between the leadership of both organizations. Both organizations have expressed a desire to improve their relationship and that is an important first step. In terms of nuts and bolts, there is nothing that I can do from Seat 1 on the Boise City Council to force that process along, but I plan to encourage it, and I certainly intend to lead by example.

Karen Danley: Traffic impacts everyone. ACHD and Boise must learn to develop together and not just pass the buck. It is an unique challenge that we must not stay too focused on remaining isolated or our single purpose. I think both ACHD and Boise is ready for new leaders to join the conversation, who will bring with them an open mind, fresh new perspectives, and a willingness to move forward toward a future that truly works in collaboration.

Chris Moeness: It seems Boise and ACHD both want the same thing, safe and efficient streets, but have different ideas on how to accomplish that. I’d like to see a stronger partnership between Boise & ACHD.

Ryan Peck: The relationship between ACHD and Boise is occasionally adversarial. We have to recognize we have mutual goals in terms of getting citizens around the county and Treasure Valley in a sustainable manner. It would be great to see more collaboration and less tension between city leaders and ACHD.

Brittney Scigliano: Boise’s relationship with ACHD is strained. As a neighborhood association leader, I have been the middle-man between the City and ACHD on more than one occasion. The strained relationship often leads to unnecessary and additional work for staff and stakeholders, while compromising safety for Boiseans. The City of Boise and ACHD serve the same people. There may be discrepancies on what that looks like, but there are a half-dozen good planning documents in place that we should be following collectively to serve Boiseans safely and efficiently.

When it comes to transportation and urban planning, what is your philosophy?

Patrick Bageant: My philosophy is that things work best when everyone with an oar is pulling in the same direction. On transportation, attempting major change by fiat is not an effective strategy for Boise because Boise does not control its streets (that power belongs to ACHD or, depending on the road, the state) nor does Boise have the finances necessary to do anything drastic in the first place. Lacking the kinds of tools other cities have, Boise’s only real power is to persuade. I am talking about persuading voters, persuading neighboring cities, and persuading other bodies of government. Boise can be a leader in finding solutions that work for all relevant parties (not just Boise), and in producing ideas that will make everyone better off than the status quo. Nothing about this is easy, but it is what we must do. The same is true for urban planning: we must work with the tools we have. One of the best is planning and zoning authority. I support moving to a form-based code for, at a minimum, our major transportation corridors. This reform would accommodate (rather than fight) growth by creating a market incentive for mixed use and density, rather than attempting to mandate it. The effect would be to reduce the incentive to continue expanding into the desert, and to reduce the incentive to try to work around the existing code by exploiting loopholes or litigating trivial issues at city council hearings. Smart density and infill also would help to preserve the assets that make Boise the wonderful place it is: our foothills, access to the outdoors, and thriving, walkable neighborhoods and downtown.

Karen Danley: My philosophy regarding transportation and urban are very interconnected. For transportation we need to improve existing public transit options and explore and encourage new options such as using the existing rail tracks. I believe we should explore broader issues that impact traffic congestion by encouraging employers to be a part of the solution such as offering condensed work weeks, staggered shifts, and working from home options. My philosophy on urban planning incorporates the urban to rural transect concept. This planning concept is based on a continuum of development that is more densely structured at the urban core with decreasing density further from the core. My goal is to balance density with open space while incorporating a variety of housing choices and lot sizes to accommodate differing demographics.

Chris Moeness: I’m a big fan of form-based zoning which focuses on the design of the building rather than land use. This tends to encourage businesses and housing to interminable, similar to Hyde Park or Bown Crossing. When homes are next to or in the same building as small businesses, people don’t need their car as often. A successful city should have a combination of wider roads that include spaces for walking, biking, and public transit.

Ryan Peck: Effective Transportation with high turnarounds needs high riderships and density. From the planning front, this means planning for high density in areas near the core of city and working transportation around that. We can also implement novel ways of increasing ridership. As an example (and taking a cue from Treefort) we could have every last Friday of the month be “Busker on the Bus.” With this, Valley Regional Transit (VRT) could have acoustic musicians providing some music on certain lines. VRT could also host “educational tours” during the summer whereby our young people are encouraged to jump on a line and receive and educational tour hosted by, as an example, a representative from Idaho State Historical Society. At the same time, we can’t lose sight of the “long trip”. Sights should be set on figuring out a sustainable way of getting citizens across the Treasure Valley.

Brittney Scigliano: Well planned cities thrive. They thrive because they include mixed-use development and connectivity with safe transportation choices. We should have choice in transportation and density should start in the downtown core.

What opportunities and challenges are most pressing when it comes to growth?

Patrick Bageant: Many times a “challenge” is just an opportunity that is not properly recognized. For example, much of Boise’s future economic opportunities will be attributable to growth – without growth, we will not benefit from new jobs, new industries, new ideas, or new and improved ways of doing things. From that perspective, the challenges we face – housing, transportation, and preserving our environment – can be viewed as part of a package that includes upsides, too. Our challenge as leaders will be to recognize the pro-and-con nature of growth, and be vigilant for places where the downsides exceed the benefits, or where the benefits flow to one group of people while the downsides are borne by another. A case-by-case approach to development, combined with a big-picture view of issues like housing, transportation, and long-term urban planning, are the critical tools to handling growth properly.

Karen Danley: When it comes to growth, my goal is to maintain our safe and livable communities while offering diverse housing choices and preserving neighborhood character. This is an opportunity to look to the past and current communities globally and determine what will be the best choices for Boise. All the while, we can vet new innovations and incorporate them into our city to create a community full of innovation, technology, inclusiveness, safety, open spaces and trails. The challenges with growth include burdened infrastructure, equitable distribution of public resources and community benefits, and balancing the needs of current residents while welcoming new residents.

Chris Moeness: Growth provides a ton of opportunities, we see more business, a stronger economy, and more recreational activities. The challenge with growth is preserving the quality of life in the community.

Ryan Peck: There are many opportunities that come with growth. These include the potential for a growing arts and cultural scene, increased diversity and wisdom from new residents that may have experienced significant growth in their previous city. But there are also many challenges that come with growth. One of the most important issues for me is the loss of youth culture and loss of cultural hubs. When you examine the history of many cities that have experienced explosive growth you often see that commercial development often pushed out city assets such as all-ages venues, performing arts venues, vital non-profits and housing that is affordable for working citizens. Another big challenge that comes with growth is a decline in affordability, especially when growth comes from new residents that have moved to the area with increased cash on hand. In addition, with big growth, new residents often aren’t aware of the historical significance of parts of the city. The Record Exchange has been a Boise staple since 1977….

Brittney Scigliano: Boise’s residents want to be a part of planning the future of their city. There’s a real opportunity to get people involved at the local level. Last year, I worked with the City, city staff, neighborhood leaders, activists, and developers to create zoning code changes and education materials for planning and development processes. The guide will educate people on how they can get involved in decision making and opens the door for more citizen involvement. One of the city’s most pressing challenges is how we are going to manage our growth while ensuring Boise maintains that feeling of strong community. One of our greatest assets is our people. We must make sure ALL citizens benefit from growth. That means affordable housing, well paying jobs, transportation choice, and adequate police and fire safety.

What concrete steps can the city council take to help address the cost of living and housing?

Developer Clay Carley hopes to build a housing project that includes both market-rate and reduced-price units in Downtown Bosie. Rendering via PivotNorth

Patrick Bageant: Cost of living is driven primarily by food, transportation, and housing. Here in Boise, the cost of living is rising and last two drivers are the greatest contributors. Drilling down even further, the primary driver of transportation costs is the expense associated with owning an automobile, and the price of gasoline. There is not a lot we can do about the price of fuel, but we can do things to reduce the distance people drive, and to make it so that not everyone needs to own a car in the first place. Denser, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, bike paths, and public transportation all work. Boise’s leaders already are (as they should be) looking to these tools as they plan for the future. When elected, I plan to do so with even more vigor. As to the cost of housing, we cannot escape the laws of supply and demand. It is difficult to imagine realistic scenarios where demand falls – i.e., scenarios where Boise shrinks instead of grows – and it is impossible to imagine that a shrinking Boise would be a good Boise. That means we must look hard at increasing the supply of housing. By “housing” I do not mean building massive new single-family subdivisions in the foothills – I simply mean creating more places for people to live. Condominiums, apartments, tiny homes, and affordable townhouses are all great examples of inexpensive ways to increase affordable housing supply – the trick is making sure that development is executed in places where it is appropriate, and where it does not destroy the character or livability of the city.

Karen Danley: Collaborating with state legislators to remove the $100,000 homeowner’s tax exemption cap. 2. Enact prudent fiscal policies to reduce spending in order to avoid taking the maximum 3% annual budget increase. 3. Offer affordable public transportation and explore options that can decrease the cost of transportation. 4. Encourage and create more opportunities for non-profit organizations to provide affordable housing.

Chris Moeness: Boise’s high home prices are being driven by the market because the demand for housing is exceeding availability. When the market shifts, prices will to. However, adding more housing options will help affordability. Form-based zoning can get us there faster.

Ryan Peck: By encouraging and engaging more youth culture we can put subtle toolboxes around Boise that encourage youth to take an active part in our city. As the youth grow older we can encourage creative entrepreneurship through various means. As we grow more creative entrepreneurs we will essentially be attacking the cost of living problem by “growing” higher wages. The city can also encourage and help facilitate workforce housing. The city has many tools it can use to promote workforce housing development. This includes options such as land banking, zoning choices and providing incentives for affordable housing creation. I’d also love to see true youth advisory boards at City Hall. We have to trust that our youth are invested in the future of our city. And in the case of a board such as a Youth Climate Change Advisory Board, they are often more invested.

Brittney Scigliano: First, it’s important to recognize that an increase in affordable housing will not happen overnight. The first step the city can take is to reevaluate the decades-old zoning code. Blueprint Boise, the city’s comprehensive plan, has a clear plan for growth. However, our zoning code simply doesn’t allow for efficient or affordable development. Moving towards form-based code, which uses place-making principles for decision making, will allow for a diverse mix of housing and affordability, as well as safety and livability. Additionally, preservation of existing housing is the easiest way to provide affordability. For future affordability, options such as land trusts that remove the cost of the land allowing the savings to be passed on to the tenant, will further address affordability.

What do you think of Boise’s goal to use 100% sustainable energy by 2035?

Patrick Bageant: I am a full-throated supporter of Boise’s clean energy goals but, to be clear, Boise does not have a goal to use 100% sustainable energy by 2035 (I wish it did!). Rather, Boise’s goal is to use 100% clean electricity by 2035. One hundred percent clean energy requires a lot more than just clean electricity. A truly clean energy system addresses all sources of energy use, including buildings, transportation, heating and cooling, and agriculture. Boise’s 100% clean electricity goal is fantastic but, as the grid shifts to clean and renewable electricity, Boise should also electrify other sources of fossil fuel consumption like transportation, heating, and cooling. The fact is that residential water heating, cooking, drying, and space heating uses more natural gas than is produced by all the natural gas power plants in our state. Further, transportation – public and private – is Idaho’s largest source of energy consumption, with the vast majority of those energy sources being imported rather than home-grown. Decreasing our reliance on fossil fueled-powered vehicles, reducing vehicle miles traveled per person, and opening the market for electric vehicles fueled by local renewable energy will improve air and water quality, the health of our communities, and the strength of our economy. That is what I would like to see Boise work on next.

Karen Danley: Sustainable energy will enable us to preserve our environment and city’s cleanliness. I am a strong advocate for sustainability and preservation. The two components of sustainable energy are renewable energy and energy efficiency. With new innovations and wise decisions we have the best possible chance, more than ever, to be energy independent. An example of reducing our energy costs is at the Ada County Landfill. The landfill currently utilizes a methane-to-energy system which produces $250,000 worth of energy annually. It captures the landfill gas and turns it into energy that is used locally. I also spearheaded the STOP DYNAMIS movement in 2012-13. The movement prevented a massive incinerator that threatened our air quality due to the system not using proper emission controls specifically for mercury and dioxins. After the Dynamis debacle, I was appointed to the Ada County Solid Waste Advisory Committee and served for six year before transferring to the Open Space and Trails Board of which I am now Vice Chair. I have shown a strong history of being committed to our environment and city’s cleanliness, which I hope to continue as a member of cIty council.

Chris Moeness: I support sustainability and caring for our environment but am concerned about the cost to our community.

Ryan Peck: It’s rad. One of the biggest issues facing our existence is human caused climate changes. The goal of being sustainable is to be applauded. Ultimately, the most sustainable energy is the energy we don’t use. As such, the city should provide walkable and bikeable (and skateable) pathways throughout the City. We can also start to incorporate more true renewables such as solar and wind. Carter was chided for solar panels on White House, but it’d be rad to see solar panels on City Hall. 🙂 We should continue to do all we can to encourage residents to be more sustainable. Rewarding electric car drivers with discounted parking is a good start.

Brittney Scigliano: I fully support the City of Boise’s goal to use 100% clean energy by 2035. I applaud Boise and Idaho Power’s lead on moving towards clean energy. Additionally, we have to work towards a transit system to reduce single car trips that are contributing to greenhouse gases and raising our temperatures.

What do you think of the state of local politics? What, if anything, would you like to see change?

Patrick Bageant: I believe the state of local politics are largely intact, notwithstanding the unmitigated disaster we are seeing play out at the national level. While people from opposing parties in Congress refuse to hold meetings together, my local experiences in Boise have been positive, productive, and inspiring. We Boiseans often disagree (witness: the library) but disagreement is a good thing. People in Boise tend to vote (you can’t say that nationally), they tend to be up on the issues (not so nationally), and, when they do disagree, they tend to do so respectfully. All of this gives me a great deal of hope. If I were given a magic wand with which to make changes, I would not wave it at the “state of local politics” directly, but rather I would focus it on the foundation upon which good politics relies: an educated public and intelligent, open-minded discourse. I would fund pre-k and full-day kindergarten, and I would fully-fund public schools so that every child has a fair shot at becoming a fully-educated adult. I would enable automatic voter registration so that everyone who deserves to vote can vote, and I would encourage people to conduct their political discussions in person rather than anonymously on the internet. (Remember, I said the wand was magic.)

Karen Danley: I think the local situation is operating off a system that worked well when Boise was a much smaller city, and due to growth, should explore changes and updates to our governing structure to make the necessary changes that come with growth.

Chris Moeness: I’d like to see more focus and meaningful progress directed at our most important issues rather than an overpriced library project or publicly funded stadium.

Ryan Peck: At the City level I’d like to Boise to examine the value of true city council districts. What better way to energize your neighborhood than to see a well qualified neighbor run for office? I’d also like to see Boise work harder to engage citizen voice on the issues that impact us all.

Brittney Scigliano: I think the state of local politics is a blame game. It’s time to stop focusing on what can’t be done and start fostering relationships and working towards what CAN be done. It may mean we have to work harder and think more creatively, but it’s time to start working together!

Describe Boise in one emoji.

Patrick Bageant: 🌄

Karen Danley: 🦋

Chris Moeness: 🤙

Ryan Peck: 🎶

Brittney Scigliano: 🧭

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