First, Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman issued a letter to the city of Boise asking it to back off on its proposed bond issue member on November’s ballot for parks, open space and public safety improvements. Hoffman contended the bond includes “items that fall under the category of ‘fun,’” and wrote, “The funding for the project will come on the backs of people who may still be unemployed, may be facing unemployment or are seeing a decline in their income.”
In response, Emily Walton, a recent BSU graduate (and 2012 commencement speaker) and founder of the Idaho Civic Engagement Project, which encourages young voters to become involved in non-partisan civic issues, wrote a response entitled, “What Wayne Hoffman doesn't undserstand about Boise,” arguing passionately in favor of asking Boiseans to vote on whether they want the bond issue or not; it would take two-thirds voter approval to pass. “Perhaps it’s because he doesn’t even live in Boise, but Hoffman’s misguided plea to our Boise City Council to not put a bond on the ballot this November demonstrates a lack of understanding about Boise, Boiseans, and the history of the city that we love,” she wrote. Hoffman lives in Nampa.
Hoffman responded in an email to the Boise Weekly that his organization has its offices in Boise and many of its employees live in the city. Dustin Hurst, a contractor for the IFF whom Hoffman said “writes a couple stories a week for me,” posted a comment on Facebook saying, “Emily Walton just picked a fight with Wayne Hoffman? This will not end well for Emily. Not at all.”
Walton responded this morning with a press release demanding an apology from Hoffman. “That’s a pretty ominous threat,” she wrote. “It’s not going to end well for me? … My sister is wondering if I need to hire a bodyguard. … Part of me finds this threat laughable but the other part is appalled. Who do you think you are? Is the Idaho Freedom Foundation not aware that Idahoans have the right to disagree with them?” Click below to read her full press release.
Hoffman told Eye on Boise this morning, “Dustin is not threatening Emily. Dustin is a really nice guy. … If Emily feels that way, then I respect that feeling and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to feel as if they’re being threatened. Her opinions are valuable, they’re her opinions. … I value and respect the fact that we have differences of opinion.” He added, “It should never be personal, and I sincerely doubt that Dustin meant anything harmful by his comment. … If she feels offended and she wants an apology, she has it.” Hurst declined to comment.
For Immediate Release
Aug. 30, 2013
Contact: Emily Walton
Emily Walton Asks Idaho Freedom Foundation Director to Apologize
Emily Walton wrote Idaho Freedom Foundation director Wayne Hoffman asking for an apology after Dustin Hurst, an employee of the organization issued a threat.
In her letter to Hoffman, Walton stated: “Earlier this week I wrote a response to your request that the Boise City Council not let voters consider a bond measure this November. Nothing I said was unreasonable or personal. I pointed out that Boiseans have a strong tradition of investing in their city and that in my opinion you lack understanding when it comes to Boiseans and the kind of city we want. I also pointed out that Boise’s unemployment rate is dropping while our property values are on the rise.
In response one of your employees, Dustin Hurst, wrote this about my apparent audacity to disagree with you: “Emily Walton just picked a fight with Wayne Hoffman? This will not end well for Emily. Not at all.”
First of all, I didn’t pick a fight, I wrote a rebuttal – something that I think is still permissible in our state, even against a non profit as powerful as yours.
Second, that’s a pretty ominous threat. It’s not going to end well for me? Should I move out of Idaho? What exactly are you going to do to me? It’s not that hard to find out where I live. My sister is wondering if I need to hire a bodyguard. Part of me finds this threat laughable but the other part of me is appalled. Who do you think you are? Is the Idaho Freedom Foundation not aware that Idahoans have the right to disagree with them? I’m not going anywhere. And I’m not afraid of you. But I do think you should apologize and ask your employees to be civil towards me. My disagreements with you and your organization are valid points of view and should be debated on their merit, instead of met with threats.”
Walton also attached proof of the threat to dispel any doubt it had been issued.
(A screen shot of Hurst's Facebook post was attached to the press release sent to the news media)