Laird Fights Back

Prop 2 backers go after the city while opposition builds


With a fusillade of paperwork, Laird Maxwell is fighting back.

The proponent of Proposition 2, the anti-"takings" initiative on the November ballot, Maxwell said he's fed up with what he sees as inappropriate and possibly illegal lobbying by government entities against his measure.

"Ever since the start of this campaign, I've been telling them that if they start dinking around with government money, I was going to hold them accountable for that," Maxwell said.

Proposition 2 is ostensibly aimed at the practice of eminent domain, but its most controversial language has to do with its requirement that Idaho compensate any private property owner who perceives that a new land-use regulation negatively affects their property values.

Late last week, Maxwell and his group, This House Is My Home, began sending out a flurry of records requests to public agencies, including the City of Boise, that ask for any and all communications that might indicate that city officials have been trying to sway public opinion, or planning to do same, on the public's dime.

The 16-point request Maxwell's group made to the public agencies includes a request to see any e-mails that mention or pertain to the subject of any public employee union, or any such records that mention "petition blockers" or "truth squads." The request asks for any information about the establishment of any political action committee.

Like the rest of Maxwell's Idaho effort to get Proposition 2 on the ballot and approved by voters, the paperwork volley has been part of a nationally coordinated campaign. Virtually the entire effort to get Proposition 2 on the Idaho ballot was funded by out-of-state libertarian groups, and signatures were gathered by a private firm from Colorado

Maxwell asked the public agencies to direct their responses to an auditor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"It's part of a nationwide request," Maxwell said.

Maxwell said this latest effort is in response to the apparently growing surge of opposition to Proposition 2 in Idaho. Governor Jim Risch recently told The Lewiston Tribune he had doubts about Prop 2.

Most recently, Boise neighborhood associations have come out against the measure. John Gannon, a representative of the West Depot Bench neighborhood association, recently spent $168 to print up 50 signs that read "Can We Afford Prop 2?" and dotted them around town. On Monday, he and Ed Keener from the Collister Neighborhood Association, and several other neighborhood groups around Boise, criticized what they described as a campaign to help "out-of-state developers."

"It's been a long time since we've gotten together on an issue," Keener said. "Idahoans don't need somebody coming in from out of state and telling us how to arrange our land laws."