BOISE, Idaho — Some Idahoans are trying to kick Mayor Lauren McLean and Boise City Council Member Lisa Sanchez to the curb.
On Wednesday, the Idaho Press reports a group of activists filed a petition to begin the process of trying to recall McLean and give voters the opportunity to remove them from office in a special election if they do not choose to resign. The petition to recall McLean was filed Wednesday morning and the petition to recall Sanchez was filed later that afternoon.
Organizers say they felt McLean was not honest with the people of Boise in her campaign, where they said she portrayed herself as a moderate, and is instead governing as a far-left progressive in a way they do not approve of.
“We just simply believe we had a few people who campaigned in one way and went a totally opposite direction once they got the trust of the voters from the city of Boise,” Karene Alton, an organizer, said Wednesday morning. “The directions these two ladies want to take the city is the wrong way.”
Alton and the other organizer Joe Filicetti, who also ran the campaign to recall former mayor Brent Coles in 2001, said they objected to McLean’s orders to close businesses during the pandemic, her “non-support of police” and a controversial transition report referred by her critics as a “manifesto.”
The group’s objections to Sanchez are centered around recent statements she made in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police and the protests and counterprotests that cropped up in Boise, statements organizers say are racist. She was elected in 2017.
In early June, Sanchez wrote a post on her Facebook page directed at the parents of 18-year-old Michael Wallace, who was arrested for firing his rifle in city limits while he was counterprotesting a Black Lives Matter rally at the Idaho State Capitol.
“Your white child and the gun-wielding white youth are described as simply exercising their 1st and 2nd Amendment rights,” Sanchez wrote in the letter. “Again, their whiteness allows this to go unchallenged, while Black and Brown people are subjected to harsh consequences and even killed for much less. Brown and Black parents would NEVER allow their children to do what your son did and these other white youth did.”
Filicetti said her statements were unacceptable.
"If you exchanged the word white for brown or black or any other color of the rainbow, that’s blatantly racist," he said. "That’s not someone I want making a decision for me, my friends or my business."
McLean’s spokesperson, Karen Boe, told KTVB on Wednesday afternoon the mayor's office doesn't have a comment at this time. Sanchez also declined to comment.
An official can be recalled in Idaho if an official petition is filed with the city clerk’s office with 20 eligible voters within city limits. After approval, supporters of the recall petition have 75 days to gather signatures of registered voters within city limits equivalent to 20% of registered voters in the locality as of the last general election. This is equivalent to 26,108 verified signatures in Boise.
If enough signatures are gathered, the recalled official has five days to step down or they will be subject to a special election. For the recall to pass, the majority of the votes in the special election must vote in favor, and the number of votes cast in favor must equal or exceed the votes cast at the last general election for that officer, according to the Idaho Secretary of State's Office.
A replacement would be appointed by the Boise City Council.
McLean has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks following her mask mandate last week, as well as the transition memo called “A More Equitable City for Everyone,” which conservatives fiercely opposed. It included suggestions from transition committee members such as making Boise a “sanctuary city,” free abortions and reproductive health care, sex education for students from pre-K through 12th grade and free internet across the city.
The transition report did not propose how the free abortions or reproductive health would be paid for if McLean chose to follow their suggestion.
These suggestions were some of 350 suggestions made by McLean’s six transition committees, which were all openly released to the public on her 100th day in office in mid-April. In response to the criticism around the report that surfaced over a month later at the end of May, McLean, during a press briefing, said they were not policy documents and many of the suggestions were things “a city just can’t do.”
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