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Organizers suspend drive to recall Boise mayor, council member. They cite 3 reasons

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 20:53:24-04

BOISE, Idaho — This article was originally written by Hayley Harding for the Idaho Statesman.

The effort to recall Boise Mayor Lauren McLean and City Council Member Lisa Sánchez was suspended late Friday, an organizer and a volunteer said.

Joe Filicetti, one of the group’s lead organizers, and Joe Newton, a volunteer who drove a truck with a trailer wrapped with a “Recall McLean/Sanchez” sign, confirmed to the Statesman that the effort had been suspended.

Filicetti said in a statement sent by text message that the recall drive’s board voted to suspend the effort for three reasons:

  1. It was hard to obtain signatures during the pandemic because large events, such as Boise State University football games and the Western Idaho Fair, were called off. “People are afraid to open their doors,” Filicetti wrote.
  2. The original petition, created on change.org, created confusion about whether people had signed or not.
  3. “The presidential campaign has overshadowed local politics.”

“Rather than pushing volunteers to continue, we are going to suspend the recall efforts at this time,” the statement said.

McLean could not immediately be reached for comment.

Newton said he had learned of the change while holding a sign to gather more signatures for the event.

The effort to recall McLean and Sánchez began in July. McLean, they say, ran her campaign as a moderate but has released a “radical agenda” since taking office. In a list organizers shared with the Statesman, they cite concerns over a transition team’s report to McLean that recommended Boise become a sanctuary city, offer free abortions and teach sex education in schools starting in pre-K.

None of those plans has come to fruition or even been seriously suggested beyond the transition report. McLean has said the report was not a policy document, just one of several sets of recommendations she requested from transition teams as she began her term.

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Joe Newton was one of an estimated 150 volunteers working on a campaign to recall Mayor Lauren McLean and City Council Member Lisa Sánchez. He drove a bright yellow trailer around Boise until the campaign was suspended late Friday.

Organizers also faulted McLean for COVID-19 lockdowns that closed businesses and what they called a “common-sense plan to get schools open in the fall,” even though the mayor’s office is not in charge of schools. Her business-closing and face-mask orders were later superseded by orders from Gov. Brad Little and the Central District Health Department.

Sánchez drew ire after she wrote an open letter on Facebook in June to the parents of Michael Wallace, a white man who was suspected of firing a gun at a Black Lives Matter protest outside the Idaho Statehouse.

Sánchez, the only person of color on the Boise City Council, writes to Wallace’s parents that he “won the race lottery” because he was able to be arrested and taken into custody after the incident. She signed it, “Love, Lisa Sanchez, Brown woman who chose not to have children for fear of their abuse and murder by white people.”