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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: City of Boise

Judge blocks portions of Boise panhandling ordinance on 1st Amendment grounds

Boise’s anti-panhandling ordinance, which was to take effect today, has been blocked in part by a federal judge. KBOI2 News reports that U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge cited the First Amendment in his 17-page ruling today. “Freedom of speech may be the most important right to protect in order to maintain our republic,” he wrote. “The Court is mindful that citizens asking or even begging other citizens for money can make the person being asked feel uncomfortable and imposed upon. But in public places, all citizens must tolerate speech they don't agree with, find to be a nuisance, insulting or outrageous.”

He also wrote, “Certainly, the First Amendment can lead to public inconvenience and annoyance, but such is a minor price to pay when the non-aggressive solicitations at issue can easily be ignored or avoided. The public's interest in restricting a person from asking for money in a non-aggressive manner does not outweigh a person's right to make a request for a charitable contribution.”

You can see KBOI2’s full report here. It includes a response from the city of Boise; city officials said they were pleased that the court didn’t strike down portions of the ordinance banning aggressive solicitation and solicitation in the roadway.

Lawsuit targets Boise’s new anti-panhandling ordinance

Boise's new ordinance against aggressive panhandling doesn't take effect until January, but today it was challenged in federal court on grounds it violates the First Amendment rights to free speech and expression and that it places an unfair burden on people struggling to make ends meet, AP reporter Todd Dvorak reports. The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court by the Idaho ACLU and two Boise homeless men, a 58-year-old street musician who suffers from psoriatic arthritis, and a 38-year-old who said he lives in a truck and seeks handouts to buy gasoline so he can commute from one temporary job to another; click below for Dvorak's full report. The City Council approved the ordinance in September with support of downtown merchants.

Boise looks to ratchet up parking rates, enforcement hours at downtown meters

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The city of Boise is getting about 200 new parking meters designed to prevent people from parking on someone else's dime. The Idaho Statesman ( reports the city is installing about 200 new meters designed to prevent people from refilling meters or using up paid time left by a previous parker. The meters have sensors that can tell when a car enters or exits the space, and zero out the time when a car pulls away. City officials say the change isn't about increasing revenue, but rather about increasing the turnover of prime downtown parking spaces and encouraging long-term parkers to use garages.

Boise installed its first downtown parking meters in 1940, which pulled in more than $22,000 by the end of the year. Today, more than 1,200 meters collecting $1 an hour bring in about $620,000 annually. IPS Group Materials, the manufacturer of the new meters, says that resetting the meter when a car leaves general results in increased revenue of 20 to 40 percent. The first batch of new meters will be installed around the State Capitol, City Hall and other popular downtown spots. The city plans to replace 811 meters over the next four years. A fee increase may also be in the works: The City Council will hold a public hearing this week on whether the parking fee should increase to $1.50 for the first hour and $3 for the second hour, with a two-hour maximum.

Meanwhile, KBOI2 News reports that the city also is looking at enforcing metered parking downtown on Saturdays, which is now free, and extending hours for meter enforcement from the current 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., both weekdays and Saturdays. You can read their report here.

Read the City Council memo here on the proposals; it calls for a pilot project for the new evening and weekend enforcement hours to run for six months or a year in the area bounded by Myrtle, Jefferson, 10th and 5th streets, basically the heart of downtown Boise. 

City’s tab for homeless shelter lawsuit could triple

The city of Boise could see its tab for losing a lawsuit over housing for the homeless climb from $1 million to nearly $3 million once attorneys' fees and costs are added, the AP reports. A federal jury ordered the city to pay $1 million to Community House in September, after finding that the city discriminated against homeless women and children and retaliated against the organization when board members complained. Now the attorneys that represented Community House in the lawsuit are asking that their client be compensated for fees and costs — which they say total nearly $1.9 million. Attorneys for the city, meanwhile, are seeking to set aside the judgment or get a new trial. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

City of Boise ordered to pay $1 million in Community House lawsuit

A federal jury has ordered the city of Boise to pay $1 million to an organization that helps homeless people, for discriminating against women and children and retaliating against the organization when board members complained, reports AP reporter Rebecca Boone. The verdict was handed down Wednesday evening in U.S. District Court in the lawsuit brought by Community House Inc. “The city respectfully disagrees with the jury's decision and will be reviewing all its options to reverse this verdict,” Boise city spokesman Adam Park said in a prepared statement released this morning; click below for Boone's full report.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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