October 31, 2011
By Bryce Dunhamzemberi
On Oct. 25, members of Delta Upsilon Fraternity and Democracy Matters of Boise State, in partnership with Associated Students of Boise State University, hosted a public forum and inquiry that introduced Boise mayoral and city council candidates to voters. The event allowed Boise City Council and mayoral candidates to discuss contemporary social issues with their constituents.
Candidates David Hall, Lauren McLean, Ben Quintana, Michael Cunningham and Lawrence Johnson cycled through tables in rapid succession filled with curious voters. Every seven minutes candidates were asked to move to a new table where a fresh set of voters sat.
“This platform was a great example of how the students of Boise State want to be involved in our community. Not only were we able to show that we are interested in local politics and contributing socially, but we were also able to gain important information about the candidates and their platforms,” Delta Upsilon Vice President Jesse Rosenthal said.
Hall is running against current eight-year incumbent David Bieter and fellow candidate Tom Kettwig. Hall spent some of his time criticizing Bieter for being an incumbent and not attending the forum.
“If incumbents are not participating in the way you’re asking them too, then vote for Mickey Mouse—vote them out,” Hall said.
Term limits do not exist for the mayor, making voters a fail-safe in case incumbents no longer participate in civic discourse.
McLean’s re-election is unopposed for city council member seat one. During the interviews, McLean spent some of her time discussing responses to the recession.
“We’re going to get tech companies, we’re going to build transit, we’re going to attract knowledge workers, those will give Boiseans a high quality of life we all deserve,” McLean said.
Quintana, Cunningham and Johnson are competing for city council member seat two.
Quintana and Cunningham are both Boise State alumni. Johnson did not complete his business degree from Boise State, but instead started his own construction company.
Quintana, a 2004 Boise State communication alumnus, spent some of his time explaining methods that would resolve unemployment.
“Boise can recruit ‘our kind of business’ that are innovative, recreationally focused and also high tech. I will build an economy that fits with those businesses, recruit people, help them to start and help them grow,” Quintana said.
Fixing qualities in public transit, high energy costs and education investment, could potentially make Boise City more marketable to employers, according to Quintana.
Cunningham is the current Capital High area director and a 1978 elementary education alumnus. He took his time with constituents to address their concerns.
One community member asked, “How do you justify cutting $22 million from the Boise school district without creating larger classrooms?”
“We looked at the inefficiencies, we instituted a new energy policies as far as the heat and the cooling goes. We shut some of our buildings down during the summer when certain buildings were not being used,” Cunningham responded.
Johnson is owner and president of L.W. Johnson, a construction and development company. Johnson said he intends to promote city construction as a city council member.
“If we bring formal bidding to the informal bidding process, we can not only make a more competitive market place for construction companies, but we could save hundreds of thousands of dollars as well,” Johnson said.
Direct contact between voters and candidates is intended to allow representatives to reveal their intentions and agenda.
Eberle is this year’s incumbent for City council member seat three. He also runs unopposed. Eberle spent six minutes condoning activist social justice.
“One (Occupy Wall Street movement) believes the conspiracy is in big business, the other (Tea Party movement) believes the conspiracy is big government. Both believe there is a collision between the two. And if you are not mad, you should be, get out into the streets,” Eberle said. According to their perspective websites, economic disfranchisement can be found in the Occupy Boise movement, whereas government disfranchisement can be found in the Boise Tea Party movement. Eberle has yet to publicly endorse either one.
Civic engagement almost became a lost democratic process until it was revived it in Simplot C by three Delta Upsilon Fraternity, Democracy Matters and the ASBSU. According to Nathan Eggleston, a senior majoring in French, this will not be the last Boise Votes.
Candidates for mayor:
Candidates for city council:
How to vote:
Go to cityofboise.org to find out what precinct you live in. An interactive map can be found here.
Then go to cityofboise.org’s Election Precincts page to see where you go to vote. Then, vote!
City elections will take place Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.