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Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

Our favorite Citizens of the year

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We're presuming that Gary Craven has gone ahead and purchased a 2013 calendar but when Boise Weekly spoke to the so-called "prepper," the moniker for those who believe the end of the world is coming sooner than later, he was preparing for all kinds of trouble.

"Time is growing short," Craven said. "I think there's going to be a new world. We'll have a lot of trouble and a lot of people won't make it through."

Craven (BW, Citizen, "Gary Craven," July 18, 2012) was one of scores of citizens that we met in 2012: actors, heroes, scholars, Olympians--not a bore in the bunch.

Joanna Macy (BW, Citizen, "Joanna Macy," Jan. 18, 2012) has survived world wars and climate change, but she wasn't worried in the least about doomsday predictions from the Mayans. Rather, the legendary anti-nuclear activist fears what she called "fear, lust for power, greed and ignorance" that has defined the nuclear age.

But Macy had high praise for her colleagues who stood up to nuclear power and weapons production as "some of the liveliest, soulful, energetic, funny and obstinate people I know."

"I'm just a sucker for courage," she said.

We're pretty sure that Macy would have liked 64-year-old Geoff Burns (BW, Citizen, "Geoff Burns," Feb. 22, 2012), the man who decided to go camping on Oct. 15, 2011. In an act of solidarity with the then-burgeoning Occupy movement (which hadn't yet come to Boise), Burns pitched his tent -- on city property in the heart of Boise and refused to leave. He was promptly hauled off to jail. When BW spoke to Burns in February, he was still waiting for his day in court (charges were ultimately dropped in March).

"I'm very comfortable with what I did regardless of the outcome," said Burns. "One of the prosecutor's arguments was that I never asked for permission. And I thought about that. What would our country look like if someone like Rosa Parks had to ask permission?"

Burns said that when he sat in the courtroom, "I realized that it wasn't about me."

"It was about ideas, and that validates what I did," he said. "Here's the thing: There's that court, but what's really important is the court of public opinion. That's how our democracy has grown."

Byron Johnson (BW, Citizen, "Byron Johnson," May 2, 2012) held great sway in Idaho courtrooms, as well as the court of public opinion. Johnson helped create the Boise chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and always loved a good legal tussle in his decades as an attorney and then justice on the Idaho Supreme Court.

Johnson died Dec. 9 at his Boise home, which he had told Boise Weekly was the source of so much of life's joy, along with his wife Patricia, his children and grandchildren.

When much of the nation was still second-guessing the pending U.S. Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, Johnson correctly predicted in May that the high court would uphold the law. He also said he had higher expectations for President Barack Obama.

"He's a marvelous candidate," said Johnson. "I just don't know if he can govern or not. I'm still waiting."

We profiled several lawmakers as some of 2012's Citizens, many of them on their way out the door of the Idaho Statehouse. Some retired, some lost elections and others moved on to greener pastures. But with the Capitol in their rearview mirrors, each offered rare candor about his political party.

Joe Stegner (BW, Citizen, "Joe Stegner," Jan. 25, 2012) was getting settled into his new position as special assistant for state government relations for the University of Idaho when he spoke with BW in January. His new digs weren't far from the Statehouse--directly across State Street--when he looked back on his years at the Capitol, where he was often labeled the Idaho Legislature's most moderate Republican.

"I think the Legislature changed, moving to the right, making me appear to be more moderate," said Stegner.

"I was probably more moderate on social issues. In general, I find conservative views on social issues as a restriction on freedom. Why would the government be interested in limiting anyone's freedom? That's what a lot of those social issues do. I'm troubled and perplexed as to why that's a moderate position."

When BW asked Stegner about the perception that lobbyists wielded adverse influence on the Legislature, the former lawmaker said, "if lobbyists didn't exist today, we would invent them tomorrow."

"They truly fill a vital need in our government or they simply wouldn't exist," said Stegner. "Do people have influence? They absolutely do. Do those influences affect legislation? Without a doubt. I have a pretty strong confidence that people get the government that they deserve and that they want."

When former Boise legislator Brian Cronin (BW, Citizen, "Brian Cronin," March 14, 2012) told BW that he was stepping away from the Idaho Legislature, he wasn't planning on becoming a lobbyist.

"It's not my intention of getting a green tag and start lobbying," he said. "But as with my previous work, a lot of what I do has a public dimension to it, and I suspect that it's going to continue."

Shortly after the legislative session wrapped, Cronin took a job with Strategies 360 in April, and on Oct. 2 he sparred with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna in a contentious City Club debate, prior to the defeat of the so-called "Luna Laws" in the Nov. 6 general election.

Three-term Boise legislator Bill Killen (BW, Citizen, "Bill Killen," April 11, 2012) also stepped away from the Idaho Legislature this year. But his reason was entirely personal: He wasn't feeling well.

Following a bad bout of the flu and severe dehydration, Killen said he had to continually excuse himself from key hearings due to his illness.

"I can't get very far from a restroom," he said. "I also have a colostomy. I had colorectal cancer 15 years ago. I also have CLL, which is a form of leukemia, but all those things I've dealt with. Nobody can figure this thing out. I walk around my house and I have to take a rest. There's no way in hell that I could campaign the way I would need to."

In looking back on the 2012 session, Killen pointed to what he called the Legislature's "ethics problem."

"The biggest problem is that [Republicans] don't realize they have one. Right now, the GOP majority simply doesn't accept that there's a problem," said Killen, who conceded that the problem wasn't unique to Republicans. "If the Democrats were the top dogs, they would have the same kind of problem. It goes with power."

Mountain Home Republican Sen. Tim Corder (BW, Citizen, "Tim Corder," July 11, 2012) also bid adieu to the Statehouse after his May 15 loss in the GOP primary, a victim of what he said was redistricting, which placed him up against another incumbent, Rogerson Republican Sen. Bert Brackett, who emerged the victor.

When BW asked Corder if he would ever consider lobbying, he left the door open.

"For the right cause," he said. "I would only lobby for something I really believed in. I would never be a lobbyist that was for sale, a hired gun."

Corder said his own party was heading "downhill and to the right," which posed a significant threat to the future of the GOP.

"Risk to the party, to Idaho and to America," said Corder. "The idea of political parties was to get people engaged. But now, both parties in Idaho have become clubs. Look at the GOP closed primary and the caucuses. That's a club. Then they want to say who can be a member of the club. That's anti-American. That's socialism at the highest degree."

Gary Johnson (BW, Citizen, "Gary Johnson," Aug. 15, 2012) abandoned the Republican Party in 2012. After being unsuccessful in breaking through the GOP presidential primary process, the former New Mexico governor re-launched his race for the White House as the standard-bearer for the Libertarian Party.

Johnson told BW in August that there was a time that he was "in synch" with Republicans, "but I'm not a social conservative, never have been."

"I think the majority of Americans are fiscally responsible and socially accepting," said Johnson. "I don't even like to use the word 'tolerant.' I was the most outspoken governor in the country on issues like school choice and the war on drugs.

Ryan Crocker (BW, Citizen, "Ryan Crocker," Oct. 10, 2012) served a number of U.S. presidents--Republicans and Democrats--when he served as ambassador to Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"When the commander-in-chief asks you to serve in a time of war, there is only one correct answer," said Crocker. "The only thing harder than going to Afghanistan would have been trying to live with myself if I had said no."

Kellen Moore (BW, Citizen, "Kellen Moore," Aug. 8, 2012) rarely says "no." On the heels of becoming the most successful quarterback in NCAA Division I history and finishing a career at Boise State University with a 50-3 record, Moore is anxious for a new opportunity to prove himself anew after being signed to the NFL's Detroit Lions.

"There are different ways of making a career and my goal is to be one of those success stories," said Moore, who added that it wasn't overwhelming to start from scratch with a new team.

"It's not too bad. Football is football," he said. "There are only so many plays, so many schemes or styles. You revert back to some of your college days and connect to plays that were similar. Then you revise it by understanding the new verbiage that is taught here."

As for his confidence level, Moore said, "It gets better each day."

We can only hope for the same in 2013.

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