Boise Mayor Lauren McLean is defending a radical document produced by her transition team, saying that it will inform her administration but can’t be automatically translated into policies.
McLean, in her first term as mayor, told journalists that her transition team’s final report, “A More Equitable City for Everyone,” is a set of resident-generated ideas on how she should guide the city, and nothing more.
“These are not policy documents – they are reports to my administration,” McLean said, as reported by BoiseDev. “There were 350 recommendations across those six reports. I wanted the public to see what I had seen and the diversity of thought and opinion in our community.”
McLean’s official website lists six resident-generated reports that touch a broad range of topics, including clean energy, housing, transportation, workforce development, and government-regulated diversity.
The Boise Guardian, a longtime government watchdog, highlighted the report, “A More Equitable City for Everyone, on Friday, and called the document “worthy of discussion.”
The document features some audacious goals that would enlarge Boise city government to a size heretofore unseen. Among the goals outlined by the report:
- Create a network of multi-racial, multicultural community liaisons to provide ongoing leadership to the city
- Ongoing equity and inclusion efforts, including but not limited to racial equity, white fragility and implicit bias training or book readings, especially for city personnel who do not identify being from communities impacted by marginalization. Engage in an ongoing assessment of impact of these efforts, e.g. were personnel policies reviewed and updated, etc.
- Announce the creation of the City of Boise Human Rights Commission which integrates restorative justice practices and processes that honor our Indigenous cultural ways of governance and processes for addressing harm
- End coordination and collaboration of localities (police, all city government) with ICE and end local practices of inquiring about immigration status, collect immigration data or share immigration data with any person.
- Provide free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings to members of our communities impacted by marginalization.
- Increase minimum wage to a livable wage that aligns with the local housing market
- A 30 percent increase in women in leadership positions and an 30 percent increase in leadership of people from communities impacted by marginalization.
- Integrate Universal Design as the standard for all city-owned facilities, including retroactively remodeling current city-owned structures to comply with universal design standards.
- Provide city-wide free Internet
- A cultural center with studios for people from diverse backgrounds and creative practices, performance spaces, rehearsal spaces all supported by city and public/private sources.
- Free contraception as defined by the CDC, abortion and reproductive health care.
- Collaborate with the Boise School District to establish sex education at pre-k level – 12th.
McLean told KTVB-TV that the city can’t do some of the things it mentioned. For example, she said, though the report calls for the city to set a livable wage “that aligns with the local housing market,” Idaho state law prohibits local governments from enacting their own minimum wage rules.
The mayor, supported in her election bid by the Idaho Conservation League Action Fund and Planned Parenthood, also took a shot at the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
“I think the challenge is that people have taken one or two lines from a fringe group and then believed that the rest is true,” McLean said, as reported by KTVB-TV. “When you single report out of context you lose what 72 people put into recommendations.”
It’s unclear what’s untrue about what IFF said, as it copied lines straight from the report and pasted them into the first story on the issue.
Regardless, McLean has said she will use the reports to inform her administration.
The mayor also told reporters that skeptical residents can see her administration’s priorities in her yearly budgets.
If that’s the case, Boiseans are in for bigger, more expensive government.
McLean and the council recently discussed this year’s property tax hike and budget, which could come in at 2%. According to the Idaho Press, next year’s budget, which the council should finalize in the summer, cuts spending in some areas. It also has lots of new spending, including $100,000 for a marketing campaign to persuade Boiseans to drive less, $100,000 to plan a daycare for city government employees, and $100,000 to update the city’s strategic plan.