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Boise City Club Forum: Peavey-Derr Doubles Down on Controversial Refugee Remarks

by

GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice


The good news is the City Club of Boise's candidate forum on Monday afternoon was—as promised—a civil affair between incumbent Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and challengers Judy Peavey-Derr and Seth Holden. The bad news is the proceedings included nothing new to citizens who have even casually followed the campaigns.

Bieter embraced the city's low unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, creation of library branches and parks, and what he said was a $1 billion investment in downtown Boise stemming from high-profile developments and "in the pipeline" projects.

Holden was more than a bit nervous, reading brief, prepared statements for his opening and closing arguments and sticking to vagaries when it came to policy points.

Peavey-Derr, meanwhile, repeated the talking points that have become the tent poles of her challenge to Bieter: that the mayor's priorities don't include west or south Boise, Boise seniors are overtaxed and she would do a better job of getting along with other agencies and public entities.

She also doubled down on previous controversial comments involving Boise's refugee community. When she was asked specifically about Boise refugees, Peavey-Derr immediately pivoted to the issue of homelessness.

"We currently have a homeless issue in Boise. I think we need to address that," she said when asked about her previous comments that Boise's South End was "getting blighted by a lot of refugees." 

"I don't know what coming down the pike when it comes to refugees," she added. "How many refugees are coming? What housing are they going into? How are we going to pay for it?"

Peavey-Derr's remarks were the third time in as many weeks she has pointed to refugees and what she called "issues" and "additional burdens."

Bieter quickly reminded Peavey-Derr that refugees were vetted and resettled into Boise by specific non-city agencies and "Boise will continue to accommodate those refugees and others."