Days after her surprise upset by political unknown Steven Kimball, Ada County Commissioner Judy Peavey-Derr is still looking for answers. Not that Peavey-Derr is a stranger to controversy; she and Ada County's other two commissioners, Rick Yzaguirre and Fred Tilman, remain convinced that spending nearly $18,000 of public money to defend their ability to hold closed-door meetings is worth the expense, to clarify a confusing statute. The case is now on appeal before the Idaho Supreme Court. Peavey-Derr will be on the commission until January, when the winner of the November general election--Independent Sharon Ullman and Democrat Paul Woods are also running against Kimball--will take her place.
BW: So what happened?
Peavey-Derr: I don't know what happened. I have a whole bunch of theories.
Do you know much about Steven Kimball?
No, except he's a nice guy. He's lived here in this area all his life. He's a roofing contractor. Has a very nice wife. I think he's got a genuine interest in the community, which he'll show in the next couple of months.
He's going to have to, given that he's got two opponents for the November election. Have you talked with him much?
He asked me if I'd help him and I said, 'Any way I can.' He's got some issues he's got to come up to speed on. The Blueprint for Good Growth, he wasn't real firm on his facts with that. Communities in Motion, he didn't have much understanding. Obviously the open meetings law, which has either been our crucifix or albatross. That issue will get resolved in the Supreme Court. Steve needs to understand that there are certain times when you need to conduct the public's business in executive session in order to serve the public well, such as the purchase of real estate and personnel actions. I mean, nobody wants their personnel matters to be discussed in public.
He said he would never go into executive session and he's got to be careful there.
Can you think of other reasons people might have wanted to vote you out?
I toss this out as a suggestion, and it's anybody's guess. I've asked if (Sharon Ullman) got any votes, and I don't know whether she did or not. Let's say she didn't get any votes. Where did those independents go? (State Rep. Bill Sali) won by huge margins. If Sali is representative of conservatives, which Sharon claims to be, did those folks cross over? That would save Sharon from having me to run against. I don't know. That was one theory presented to me, because I got an e-mail from a someone saying it wasn't Democrats who crossed over because, they said, 'I'm a Democrat and I crossed over to vote for you.' I thought, oh, that's good news.
I started getting feelings about this when I looked at the sunshine reports and I found that (Boise City Councilor) Vern Bisterfeldt had given Paul Woods $1,000. Vern has been a very big supporter of mine in the past and we served together as commissioners in '87 and '91. So that was a shock and a disappointment.
So I got the feeling that something was going on here, there was a movement in the air. Because nobody was writing in on the open meetings law, except one. So we felt as if we were communicating the need to get clarification on the subject. And that's why people were understanding of it. Well, maybe they weren't understanding, they just weren't interested in writing in a letter, they just said, the heck with it, you guys are making a mistake.
But there are a lot of heady issues we're dealing with. We're dealing with landfills, the open meetings law, we're dealing with indigent matters, we're dealing with illegal immigration that are affecting our costs in indigent services. There's so many things, it could have been any one of them or it could have been a combination of them all.