Of the three races for Boise City Council seats in this year's election, the bid for seat 4 between David Litster and TJ Thomson has arguably gained the most attention, especially among Boise Weekly readers.
As Nov. 3 nears, BW asked each candidate what they want voters to think about—other than their pasts—as they go to the polls.
Thomson focused on what he said are the top three issues facing Boise: transportation, economic development and quality of life, all of which are interconnected.
"Three primary areas of quality of life:
Sustainability. Eighty-five greenhouse gas recommendations were put forward by the City Council. We need a cost-benefit analysis to figure out which ones give the best bang for our buck.
Air quality is going to involve working closely with the ACHD, finding public transportation alternatives, facility improvements.
Water quality. A huge item on the agenda is upgrading the waste water treatment plant. The Boise River is the lifeblood of the valley."
Thomson also mentioned business, saying, "We need a hyperfocus on small business. Streamlining the permit process. We don't know what businesses we have and what businesses we don't."
Litster's focus is on a strong push for cutting unnecessary spending, transportation issues and attracting business.
"First is spending," said Litster. "The city is faced with a $7-$9 million dollar budget shortfall.* We need to be careful with spending. Public safety first, fire and police. We need to look at everything else. Some things have been added during better economic times. We can't just keep raising taxes."
Litster's transportation push includes, "HOV lanes and working closer with Canyon County. We need to do surveys of who is taking the bus, where they need to go. We need to increase the bus frequency and number of routes to get more cars off the roads."
And issue number three Litster would like to focus on is business.
"We need to make Boise easy to do business with. I've been speaking with small business owners, and they say that it's so much easier to start a business in Nampa or Caldwell. A business roundtable is needed to ask 'What're the hurdles facing small business?'"
Both men are new to the political arena, and their pasts have garnered considerable public interest in recent weeks. Litster's personal bankruptcy went public in Boise Weekly and in the online comments to that story, a commenter forced Thomson to explain that more than a decade ago, he'd given up parental rights to a child. Both candidates have expressed disappointment that so much attention has been focused on their personal pasts.
Got questions based on those issues? Ask the candidates more pointed questions at electionland.boiseweekly.com.
*Editor's Note: A correction has been made in the above copy to correct a typo. The original copy read: "The city is faced with a $79 million dollar budget shortfall."