Eye On Boise

Bouma, Obama, either way, offices didn't like idea of political rally...

Gresham Bouma, a Moscow GOP legislative candidate, was incorrectly told he needed to move a campaign rally this week because state regulations banned it, the Lewiston Tribune reports; Bouma was asked to move his rally, which his campaign was filming, from in front of a building housing the state unemployment office and a Health & Welfare office in Moscow. Bouma moved to the parking lot of a local business instead; state Health & Welfare officials expressed concern about their clients' privacy. Click below for an AP report on the incident. But here's a sign Bouma wasn't targeted for his views: The Lewiston Tribune's full article today also included this tidbit: "The office manager initially reported that supporters of President Barack Obama were assembling, apparently misreading Bouma's name on a sign."

Official: Law allows politicking at state offices

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho Senate candidate appears to have gotten some bad advice when he was told to move his news conference from the sidewalk in front of a set of state offices in Moscow.

Republican candidate Gresham Bouma planned to hold the news conference Monday in front of a building leased by the Idaho Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Welfare. Bouma is seeking a Senate seat in northern Idaho's District 5, and he chose the spot because it fit with his plans to talk about job creation and the economy.

But before the event began, the building's owner Rick Beebe told Bouma and a handful of supporters to find another location, the Lewiston Tribune reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/PjE1gW).

Beebe said a Health and Welfare employee contacted him as Bouma supporters were setting up and suggested state rules ban politically themed events on the property.

But Idaho Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst said he's "not aware of anything in state law that prohibits" such events.

"We have rallies on the Capitol steps all the time," Hurst said. He added legal precedent says the state can limit political activity to designated areas on property it owns or leases, but it can't prohibit such activity outright.

After being informed of the rules, Beebe stuck by his decision and said he would have told Bouma and his entourage to leave anyway out of respect for the privacy of the clients served by the two state offices, the newspaper reported.

"I think it's rude," Beebe said, noting the Bouma campaign was filming the event and that members of the media were invited.

"The clients are two separate entities: people who are unemployed and people on welfare," Beebe said. "I've never been either one of those, but I don't think I'd want people taking pictures of me. I just don't think that's very nice."

In a statement, Bouma spokesman Judd Wilson said the campaign filmed only those who were involved with the news conference, and gave advance notice of the event to the Department of Labor office and a small business on the same property.

"They made no objections," Wilson said.

Tom Shanahan, a spokesman for the Health and Welfare Department in Boise, said the manager of the Moscow office asked Beebe to remove the group because of privacy concerns.

"But the main concern of our office manager was the privacy and confidentiality of people who come there for services," Shanahan said, adding the office also serves people with mental health issues. "We're just trying to be sensitive to their privacy."

___

Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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