Voters in the Treasure Valley cities of Garden City, Nampa and Caldwell all have mayoral elections on their ballots on Tuesday.
The Idaho Statesman editorial board interviewed several candidates to get their positions on various issues, from growth and affordable housing to property taxes and their visions for their cities.
Based on those interviews, the editorial board endorsed candidates in each of these races.
Garden City mayor
Hannah Ball brings an energy and a brand of exuberance to the Garden City mayoral race.
She’s challenging incumbent Mayor John Evans, who’s been in that position for four terms, since 2006.
Evans is decidedly more stolid in how he’d approach his next term as mayor, listing his priorities as “maintaining the city’s fiscal and operational integrity,” addressing the floodplain issue and upgrading the city’s utility system.
Ball expresses her enthusiasm for, as she puts it, “outside-the-box solutions,” and doing things differently to promote affordable housing, increase transparency in city government and improve public safety. She presents a bold vision for Garden City as a “mecca” for small startups, and craft food and beverage makers.
Whoever wins the race for Caldwell mayor will replace longtime Mayor Garret Nancolas, who has led the city over the last 24 years, leading significant growth and a revitalization of the city’s business community.
Jarom Wagoner is a Caldwell City Council member, former state legislator and a city planner who wants to simplify city code, modernize the city’s employment systems, improve employee morale and attract further business development to the city.
Chris Trakel is a retired Marine whose top priorities are property tax relief, addressing growth, promoting accountability and transparency in city government.
Nicole Hyland’s top priorities are improving police and fire services, making sure Caldwell has sustainable growth and being pro-community.
Candidate Jorge Arancivia did not respond to an invitation to interview with the editorial board.
Candidate John McGee declined an invitation to interview with the editorial board.
It has been about a decade since John McGee’s car theft, DUI and disturbing the peace (a charge stemming from an incident of sexual harassment) convictions, for which he served jail time. We are not beyond forgiving past transgressions — if a person shows genuine remorse and can demonstrate that they have changed. At the very least, someone with such a past must show some commitment to transparency. McGee did not even attempt to do this. Despite invitations from the editorial board to answer questions, about both his vision for Caldwell and his checkered past, McGee refused to participate. He has left us with no means to judge whether he is a changed man, or if electing him would pose a risk to those who are in a subordinate position to him. We do know he has abused such a position before.
First-term Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling is seeking reelection. She faces challenger Jerrold Smith, who did not show up for a scheduled interview with the editorial board.
Kling has accomplished a great deal for the city. Crime has fallen sharply in recent years. The city has worked over its zoning code to allow strategic denser development while preserving green space. And Nampa has raised impact fees to ensure that new growth pays for the additional infrastructure and demand on services that it creates.
Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. Board members are opinion editor Scott McIntosh, opinion writer Bryan Clark, editor Chadd Cripe, newsroom editors Dana Oland and Jim Keyser and community members J.J. Saldaña and Christy Perry.