Judge says city can't put Ten
Commandments initiative on ballot
Coalition will appeal to Idaho Supreme Court
Fourth District Judge Ronald Wilper ruled Wednesday the city of Boise
cannot hold an election on the Ten Commandments monument voter initiative.
"This is a very important issue when close to 19,000 citizens of Boise
signed the petition (to hold an election on the initiative)," coalition
spokeswoman Brandi Swindell said.
Leaders of the Keep the Commandments Coalition, a group formed in support
of putting the monument on public property, said they will appeal the
decision to the Idaho Supreme Court.
The coalition collected nearly
11,000 valid signatures this summer from registered Boise voters who
supported holding the election. Before the group even had the required
number of signatures, Mayor Dave Bieter said he would follow city legal
advice that the initiative was invalid.
City attorneys said city code limits initiatives to creating ordinances or
laws. Putting a monument in a park is an administrative decision that is
not up to voters.
The judge agreed.
"The placement of monuments in city parks is controlled by a
well-established administrative process," Wilper wrote in his decision.
"Therefore, the city is not only not required to place the initiative on
the ballot but they are not authorized to do so."
Councilman Alan Shealy said Wilper confirmed the city's position. "As far
as I'm concerned it's over, and we can get back to the business of running
the city," Shealy said.
Bieter said he was pleased. "I thought it was a well-reasoned decision."
But coalition leaders said the monument struggle is far from over. They
said they will continue to fight until a Ten Commandments monument is in
Julia Davis Park, even if the Supreme Court upholds Wilper's decision. The
City Council voted Jan. 20 to remove the previous monument, which was
donated to the city in 1965. The council hoped to avoid a lawsuit from an
anti-gay group from Kansas that had threatened to use the monument as a
precedent to erect its own monument against homosexuals.
The city returned the monument to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, which
then donated it to St. Michael's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Boise. It
now rests in front of the cathedral, across State Street from the Idaho
Swindell said the group promises to remember that council vote in 2007,
when Bieter and three council members are up for re-election. Patrick
Mahoney, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Christian Defense
Coalition, said his group would run their own slate
of candidates to challenge incumbents who voted against the monument.
"This is not over," he said.
Swindell and Mahoney also suggested they might try other voter initiatives
that would pass legal muster. They didn't have specifics on those plans.
Patrick Mahoney, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Christian
Defense Coalition, said his group would run their
own slate of candidates to challenge incumbents who voted against the
"This is not over," he said.
If you live or know people in the Boise area, now is the time to start
planning and working on a campaign to "replace" these elected officials.
Some information to help get started is listed below. Obviously the City
"Leaders [sic]" believe that the referendum would pass. So if they are not
representing the people, who are they representing?
If they do recognize that our rights and laws are derived from God,
then who do they really serve?
Yep, time to retire them from public office.
Contact info: Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition,
202-547-1735 or 540-538-4741 (cell)
Council Member Alan Shealy, Council Member Elaine Clegg, Council
Member David Eberle, Council Member Vern Bisterfeldt
Front Council President Jerome Mapp, Mayor David Bieter,
Council Pro Tem Maryanne Jordan
David H. Bieter, Mayor
Vernon Bisterfeldt, Council Member
Jerome Mapp, Council President
Elaine Clegg, Council Member
Maryanne Jordan, Council Pro Tem
David Eberle, Council Member
Alan Shealy, Council Member