In the May 4 edition of Boise Weekly, when BW reported that Lisa Edens, senior sales manager of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau, broke BCVB rules by endorsing Greater Boise Auditorium District candidates Steve Schmader and Mike Sullivan, we were incorrect. We regret the error.
We reported that Edens violated the bureau's articles of incorporation by endorsing candidates for the Tuesday, May 17, GBAD election.
As part of its 1985 Purposes, Powers and Philosophy, BCVB said it would not participate in political campaigns. However, the bureau amended its articles of incorporation in 1992 and more recently amended its operating bylaws concerning elections.
According to BCVB Board Chairman George Manning, the organization updated its bylaws to state: "No activity shall be performed by the bureau to facilitate the transaction of unrelated private business by its members or to promote civic or political interests apart from those of the bureau."
In an interview with BW, Edens said in her 21 years of working at the bureau, she had never previously sent an endorsement letter.
"But [Schmader and Sullivan] understand what we do," said Edens. "And they have a plan to get us money right away. That was my motivation."
Edens said it was easier to send out the letter via her BCVB email account, using her work and personal contacts, to forward it to approximately 50 individuals.
"I didn't think anything was wrong with it," said Edens. "I know that [Schmader and Sullivan] will turn the funding on right away, because we can't even pay the phone bill. That's really what it has come down to."
When asked for her assessment of how BCVB's working relationship with GBAD deteriorated (see accompanying story this page), Edens referred to what she called her "three Ps."
"It's personalities, power and politics," said Edens. "Honest to God, it just blows me away. Because of personalities, they can just destroy an entire organization. It's sad."
According to Edens, when the GBAD board voted 3-2 last July to cut off $1.3 million to the bureau, it wasn't a bad audit report or legal interpretation that ended the funding but rather a clash of personalities.
BCVB has not officially endorsed a candidate and Edens' letter represents personal support.
Edens said when she crafted her endorsement letter, she "took bits and pieces of other endorsements" that she had seen, promoting the same candidates. She also confirmed that other BCVB workers sent out similar endorsements, promoting Schmader and Sullivan.
Edens said that no matter the outcome of the May 17 election, she took comfort in "doing what I knew was the right thing."