Friday, March 19, 2010

Back to the County: Former Ada Commishes Want Back In

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 3:58 PM

This post has been corrected below.

Former Ada County commissioners Roger Simmons and Vern Bisterfeldt filed to run for the Ada County Commission this afternoon.

Simmons is a former reporter who sat on the commission for 10 years, ran the Idaho Lottery for former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and now works as a semi-retired lobbyist and consultant. Bisterfeldt spent his career at the Boise Police Department before serving on the Ada County Commission and is currently on the Boise City Council. They will run on the same platform against Rick Yzaguirre and Chairman Fred Tilman.

Yzaguirre beat Simmons in the 2002 GOP primary, and Simmons is itching for a rematch.

"The individual that I'll be running against is just sort of filling the chair," Simmons said of Yzaguirre, also calling him an "empty suit" and saying that he just votes with whichever commissioner screams the loudest.

Bisterfeldt will challenge Tilman in the Tuesday, May 25 GOP primary. He stressed that when he was on the commission from 1987 to 1999, there was a lot more cooperation between the county, its cities and the Ada County Highway District, and that it was a lot more fun.

"There's so many more things we can do when we work together with the smaller cities," Bisterfeldt said.

Simmons has been a critic of County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, who is not up for reelection this year. In 2001, when Simmons and UIllman served together, he actually filed a harassment complaint against her. [Corrected 4.6.2010: Roger Simmons did not file a harassment complaint against Ullman in 2001. He did defend the county employee who filed the complaint.]

Simmons said he thinks Ullman ought to endorse him, since she has also been a critic of Yzaguirre, even pushing a criminal complaint against him in 2005.

Simmons and Bisterfeldt presented a five-point plan that they say they can accomplish within two years on the three-person board:

1. Let Ada County residents vote to change the commission from a full-time, three-member panel to a five-member part time panel with a full-time county administrator.
2. Openly negotiate with the cities to lower the amount they have to pay to utilize the Ada County Courthouse.
3. Spend more money on economic development and job creation, starting by bringing horse racing back to Idaho Downs (formerly Les Bois).
4. Lowering county property values to "more realistic levels to reflect the current housing market."
5. Consolidating county EMS with fire departments countywide.

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Roger Simmons and Vern Bisterfeldt make their papers.
  • Roger Simmons and Vern Bisterfeldt make their papers.

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