Who does it serve to make it harder to get citizens initiative on the ballot in Idaho? | Opinion
Idaho Sen. Doug Okuniewicz has proposed a constitutional amendment that would make it difficult if not impossible for Idaho citizens to put initiatives on the ballot. I have one question: Who does this serve? Does it serve the citizens of Idaho, who will be denied the right to participate in their state government? Will it serve us as our legislature fails to provide the support for health care, education and equity that we hired them to help us with? I think not. It serves a very small number of lawmakers who seek to increase their unilateral power and stroke their egos. It takes away the power of citizens to have a voice in a government that acts on our behalf and not on behalf of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. This is wrong, and my hope is that Idaho lets Sen. Okuniewicz know it.
Georgia Boatman, Boise
I was disappointed with the quality and bias of your reporting in the story, “Citing safety concerns, Caldwell puts off hearing on gender identity policy for schools.” The story was poorly written and more critically it was misleading.
Calling off the next meeting because of “safety concerns” silences the voice of dissent. It is because of safety concerns that so many parents showed up to protect children from this policy. The large crowd was remarkably restrained for such a contentious issue.
When listing some of the policy, you failed to mention other critical parts of the policy. For instance it states “When contacting the parent/guardian of a transgender student, school personnel should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun..” Apparently the policy is to hide an identity issue from parents.
The real story in Caldwell is that a lot of parents are upset about a dangerous policy that fails to protect all children, circumvents parents rights and teaches values that are contrary to their values. A better headline would have been “Caldwell school board hides from upset parents attempting to protect the children.”
Jack Givens, Middleton
The Idaho state constitution requires a uniform free public education for all students. Highly qualified and certified teachers, support staff and special education personnel are available in all of our public schools, unlike many parochial and private schools. Research has frequently shown that teacher-student ratios are significantly tied to performance. Idaho schools have been underfunded for many years and rank near the bottom for per-pupil expenditure. The requirement for “uniform public education” has not occurred, resulting in many bond levies. When bonds are not passed in school districts, students suffer the consequences. If funds are diverted from public education to fund vouchers/education savings accounts, our public schools will suffer even more. Please join me in contacting your state representatives and senators to advocate for funding public education adequately and finding ways to ensure that all districts have safe, secure, functional buildings and certified personnel to educate our students.
Leah Whiteman, Star
In 2020, the Republican-dominated legislature passed H. 413 under the guise of allowing all constituents to be represented in large city governments. Councilwoman Sánchez’s unintentional vacating of her seat after her lease was abruptly terminated demonstrates that the new law does the opposite and highlights the necessity of representation for renters in local policymaking.
During her time on City Council, Lisa Sánchez has made strides to level the playing field and give all perspectives room at the table. In 2019, Sánchez spearheaded a landmark ordinance to protect Boiseans seeking housing from excessive rental application fees. She has consistently stood up for equity and access to government, even in the face of far-right intimidation. Currently, Sánchez is working on an ordinance to limit rental late payment fees which corporate landlords sometimes use to exploit tenants.
Boise’s North End, Highlands, Sunset and Collister districts elected Lisa Sánchez by a 20-point margin to represent us in city government. Now it’s up to Mayor McLean to uphold the will of Boise voters and reappoint Sánchez to City Council so she can continue her imperative work building a livable city for everyone. I encourage readers to call McLean and ask her to do this immediately.
Shiva Rajbhandari, Boise
In Michael Deeds’ “Idaho’s 10 most embarrassing news stories of 2022” Michael exposed his full extreme liberal worldview. He included the yanking of the “Drag Kids” event at the Boise Pride Festival for safety reasons. Tens of thousands of Idahoans are disgusted with such outright displays and celebrations of the sin of homosexuality paraded down our state Capitol’s street. All of this done in the full view of a Holy God who sees homosexuality as a grievous and wicked sin. But the homosexual crowd of Boise and their shocking number of supporters declaring their dedication and “pride” to the activity of homosexuality in itself should be among the most embarrassing news stories of 2022.
To have children participating in this celebration in any form is even more wicked and foolhardy.
The homosexuals have a right in America to commit their sins of homosexuality in private but where many of us Idahoans balk is to have that wickedness trumpeted and regaled before the eyes of people that truly give a rip about God’s laws and will for humanity.
Doug Sweaney, Caldwell
Kudos to legislation proposed to clarify acceptable medical abortion, so doctors do not have to wait until a woman is at death’s door to perform medically necessary terminations of pregnancy. Thankfully, the proposal that rape and incest be removed as reasons for abortion was not supported. Instead, new ways of punishing cities that do not investigate suspected abortions are in the works. Imagine how much more humane it would be to extend contraceptive availability and support paid maternity leave, and keep expanded Medicaid in place.
Education is a primary concern. We need a way to fund the building of new schools that does not rely on property taxes. We need to raise the salaries of school personnel so that we are not competing with the fast-food franchises. We do not need to entertain how to siphon public school money to private schools. Would they not then become public schools and have to adhere to the same rules public schools do? It seems to me that there would be less school choice if that happens. Please leave Boise State and its diversity program alone. Every time it is questioned only confirms why it is desperately needed.
Lori Poublon Ramirez, Meridian