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Updates from Teri

What are the Odds?

June 10, 2020

Last October, I filed my papers appointing a campaign treasurer. After a lot of hard work, on June 2nd the results were in: I lost the election despite raising money, having great endorsements, and a savvy, dedicated team. That was a huge surprise to most of us.
 
To be fair, we did have to run in a pandemic – it was a campaign like no other - but as my friend Justin said, we had all the right stuff but were beaten in the ground game.
 
Ugh.
 
So when fellow candidate Mary McFarland asked me the other day if I had seen my total votes, I hadn’t. I hadn’t even checked.
 
“You haven’t?” she exclaimed. “You got 7,777!”
 
Holy smokes! What are the odds that out of 47,417 votes, I would garner exactly 7,777 of them?
 
What can it mean? Is it some sort of cosmic coincidence or is there a greater significance?
 
I have no idea, but I would like to know what are the odds? If you are a math whiz, please calculate it for me because I’m really curious.
 
Maybe I should have bought a lottery ticket or gone to Vegas, but instead, I searched the Internet – that infallible source of all knowledge (ha!) - and this is what I read.
 
“…it’s a message from your angels that you’re on the right path and doing well” and “due to your positive attitude, positive efforts and hard work you have earned your rewards…”
“… it stands for confidence, determination, and industriousness…”
“…it has a good vibration of energy to give to your mind. It signifies spirituality and wisdom, as well as your inner self. The number seven itself represents some wisdom…
And then a random outlier,
“…good luck and romance is coming to you soon…”
 
Sorry, Professor!
 
One of them, despite the fact that I am not a devotee of numerology, stood out because when I started this year I chose a theme to guide me: my word for 2020, chosen last January, was wisdom.
 
Cue music from the Twilight Zone.
 
But before you get all mystical on me, I also looked up the number 7777 in Hebrew. That brought me right back to earth.
 
The number H7777 stands for Shuw’al, or jackal. So there’s that too.
 
Wise woman or jackal, it won’t hurt me to listen to all of you who asked me not to give up on public service. Who urged me to keep looking for that place where I’m uniquely suited to serve.
 
So, ok, I will. After all, what are the odds of getting exactly 7,777 votes?

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America Under Siege, Idaho too, Saturday, May 30, 2020

This week and tonight, I'm saddened by the actions that led to the death of a reportedly good man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis. I mourn with his community, his friends, and family. What was done to him was horribly wrong, was torturous to endure, and was painful to witness. It was wrong.

I know of no one in law enforcement shielding the officer for his behavior, least of all our Ada County Sheriff Steve Bartlett who called the officer's actions (and the three officers that stood by and did nothing)  "unconscionable and criminal". I agree.

And as horrible as it was, the offending officers didn't just kill Mr. Floyd. They struck a blow at the already fragile heart of this nation and wounded their own in the process. It couldn't have come at a worse time as nerves are already ragged from the pandemic, the shutdown, and its economic impacts.

We are to be one nation under God (though we haven't been for some time). Somehow, those on the left AND right must put aside their vitriol and come together for the good of the people and country we love. For our children. The fabric of our republic must be repaired with new threads, stronger threads. We must insist.

We can't just point at places where angry protesters are spilling onto city streets. We're wrong to think the dangerous spirit of anarchy is confined to Minneapolis, LA, Washington, D.C. It's not. It's here too. If anyone can stop it, it must be each of us individually and then all of us. Let's come together now for the good of all.

Tonight I pray for justice for Mr. Floyd and for his family, friends, and community. I pray for communities that feel frightened and unheard, disrespected and abused.

I pray for those in authority, that they will govern wisely, and that we the people wield our right to protest without resorting to violence.

I pray for the men and women in law enforcement charged with these significant and terrible responsibilities. May they be wise, stand up against evil, and demonstrate compassion to those they serve.

I pray for a voluntary awakening in our hearts to treat each other with respect and compassion. I pray for peace.

And finally, I pray for our children who are watching and learning from our actions. Let them not fear. May we bless and instruct them well so there's a union left to inherit.

Murrison Responds to Mayor McLean’s Transition Report Recommendations

I’ve just finished reviewing Mayor McLean’s controversial Transition Report with its extensive (and expensive) punch list of recommended actions proposed by citizen transition teams. They obviously put a lot of work into it and I think it’s admirable to invite citizen-led efforts, but there are a whole lot of missing perspectives in the Report.

While many of the recommendations might fly in San Francisco or Seattle, some of them should have a snowball’s chance, even in Boise. It’s too bad because there are some thoughtful recommendations - on transportation (Movement for Everyone) and housing (A Home for Everyone), for example - but they may not get heard in the uproar over the more controversial content sprinkled liberally throughout.

The recommendations in the Report are out of step with Mayor McLean’s suggestion to the Council last month that tax assessment in Boise be held to 2% this year and nowhere near what I’m hearing from folks on the campaign trail.

This is what I hear – even in Boise:

Our taxes are TOO HIGH!
Growth is out of control and our infrastructure is lagging.
Ada County’s streets should stay the safest in the nation.

Because of COVID-19’s impacts on the economy, for the next few years at least, no local, state, or federal government will have enough money for the current level of services, let alone add to them exponentially. The county, cities, and ACHD need to be working together, not at cross purposes. Let’s focus on the things we agree on and avoid the things that don’t.

Many of the troubling recommendations in the Transition Report directly oppose mainstream values. Mayor McLean’s Report has ignited a firestorm that’s likely to result in a backlash in upcoming elections.

If you are alarmed, be respectful, but get vocal. Watch City Council agendas. Submit public testimony. Show up at City Council meetings. Talk to other Council Members and make sure they know how you feel. And next election, vote.

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Commemorating International Fallen Firefighters Day, May 4, 2020

Today ..."we thank them and honor them. Because of their deaths, some will live. No home, no town, no forest is worth your lives. I say that as a local government official. Be safe. Come back...."

Their communities, friends and families, and fellow firefighters owe them a debt that is only partially repaid in lessons learned. We miss them.

We Remember
Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial Day 2009
Speech given by Supervisor Teri Murrison

Thank you, Chief Barrows, for allowing me to take part in this special day of remembrance for our fallen firefighters.

First, a word of thanks to the brave fire fighters who are here today from fire districts like Tuolumne, Twain Harte, MiWuk Village, and elsewhere, to firefighters for the City of Sonora, the USFS, CalFire, and Tuolumne County – thank you. We are indebted. You are professionals, dedicated to protecting our homes, communities, and forests from ruin.

Words cannot express this county’s gratitude for what you do.

Today we honor them – your fallen brothers and sisters, we honor what they did for us, and we remember. We note sadly, that though we miss them, life goes on. But their lives are meaningful, for ordinary and extraordinary reasons. Reasons I think you well understand. Let me explain.

18 years ago I gave birth to our daughter. The night before, I felt no inkling or physical symptoms that her beginning – her life with us – was about to begin. And yet, the next day. There she was.

So comes life often times. And so comes death. Unexpected.

Our fallen firefighters may have had similar thoughts. You know that what you do is dangerous. So did they. But did they go to bed the night before they died with an inkling that the very next day would be different? Maybe, but more than likely not.

We never know what the next day will bring or we might do things differently.

So how do we make sense of their deaths? How do we turn tragedy into sober advantage for the next firefighter? I found a website called Wildfire Lessons Learned. There I read many tragic stories, but on that website and elsewhere, I’m sure, those tragedies are turned to wisdom for your sake and ours.

A firefighter called Paul Chamberlin coined the term “fire safety portal” in 2006. He noted that career firefighters can pass through a “safety awareness portal” where new perspectives are achieved and their reality is meaningfully altered. He went on to say that transiting the portal is often related to traumatic events and likened the transiting of the portal to a wake-up call and that resulting well-conceived fire safety initiatives can assist others who face a similar portal so that they do not experience the same personal trauma.

In other words, what happened to them changed your realities. Your agencies made safety changes. Your crews acted differently. Their deaths, in a strange and uncomfortable sense, benefited you and future firefighters.

We lost Eva in 2004, James Eakin in 1982. Lori Quinones lost her husband Arnie in the Station Fire in August. Their deaths and those of many other fallen firefighters over the years – in cities, counties, and wild lands– have yielded important information to change your perspectives and alter reality.

For that especially, we thank them and honor them. Because of their deaths, some will live. No home, no town, no forest is worth your lives. I say that as a local government official. Be safe. Come back.

Before you every day – before you on every fire – is life and possibly death. When you go to bed at night, tomorrow may look just like another day when in fact it will be different.

Arnie and Lori Quinones’ first and last daughter Sophia was born two weeks ago. Had he known how his day on the Station Fire would turn out, he might still have given his life. At the very least, he would be thankful for any lessons learned and lives saved.

Life does go on. Arnie has a daughter though Lori lost her husband. Eva is no longer with us. But the firefighter next to you is. Maybe someday someone will live because of James Eakin and John Greeno.

With each passing day, we get further away from that last time we saw them - from them. But today we once again draw near to remember, to thank them.

WE WILL NOT FORGET . . .

CDF TUOLUMNE CALAVERAS UNIT

EVA MARIE SCHICKE
September 12, 2004

LARRY HAMILTON
October 8, 1995

ROGER STARK
June 19, 1992

RICHARD M. BOYD
June 29, 1986

ROBERT LIND
July 27, 1982

DON CAMPBELL
July 18, 1970

CDF CALAVERAS RANGER UNIT

JAMES P. EAKIN
July 27, 1982

RICHARD ROGERS
August 25, 1973

LYN R. DOUGLAS
August 25, 1973

JOHN CARTER
July 18, 1970

FOSTER VERNON
July 6, 1954

CDF TUOLUMNE RANGER UNIT

JAMES CARLISLE
July 2, 1964

USFS, STANISLAUS NAT’L FOREST
PILOT JOHN M. GREENO

 

Mama Always Said if I Couldn’t Say Anything Nice…, April 8, 2020

Though I haven’t always, today I choose to abide by some sage advice from my Mama. She thought that nice things need to be said and negative things are best left alone. I tend to agree. Today I’m staying quiet on a number of things. Fortunately, the email attached to which I refer leaves me nice things to say.

You’ll remember from an Idaho Press article that Ada GOP Chairman Ryan Davidson convened a Republican Central Committee meeting during the COVID-19 crisis to vote on three names to send to the Governor for an appointment to the vacated District 2 seat. You'll also remember that mine was not one of the three names chosen and that I knew it wouldn’t be before I attended the meeting.

Well, an explosive email (attached with comments in margins and highlighted sections as added by ID Freedom - right click on them and choose "view image") written by Ryan Davidson to his trusted Central Committee loyalists was posted on Facebook last night. It appeared on a page (ID Freedom) that says it’s dedicated to preserving the Conservative values of Idaho. They don’t identify themselves, but as I understand it, their endgame is ousting Mr. Davidson.

Davidson’s email outlines his plan for liberty loyalists to stack the deck with three friendly names in a letter to the Governor. One of those named in the letter, Patrick Malloy, was appointed yesterday to fill the remainder of the retired Commissioner’s term.

Let me say some nice things.

  • I really appreciate being given the opportunity to get my qualifications, experience, and platform out there. Folks are going to read Davidson’s email, my response, and judge for themselves.
  • All but two of the candidates are defined by his email, although I am the only one identified as needing to be kept out of the letter. That means they see me as the one to beat. Nice!
  • My experience and the recognition of some key, exemplary public figures is equated with being a member of the so-called “establishment”. If trying to serve my constituents to the best of my ability is somehow considered wrong, so be it.
    • I’ve been a state agency administrator for 9 years, 4 years a county commissioner, 5 yrs. On Ada County’s Planning and & Zoning Commission, 2 years on Eagle’s Transportation Committee, 8 years at a regional transportation planning agency as a public information and administrative officer, a Certified ID public manager, and with MA in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. These have prepared me to deal with the COVID-19 crisis now and after we get back to normal, with my efforts to rein in property taxes, promote responsible growth, support a strong public safety system, and being a champion for fair and honest government, conducted with transparency.
    • I have treasured endorsements from people who understand what it takes to safeguard public resources and serve the public well. Though none are aligned with the liberty faction, each does, I believe, consider themselves conservative: among them, Sheriff Steve Bartlett, Prosecutor Jan Bennetts, retired Meridian Mayor Tammy DeWeerd, Garden City Mayor John Evans, Tommy Ahlquist (who has just stepped forward to lead a group of public and private citizens and organizations to Crush the COVID-19 Curve in Idaho), and Freda Cenarrusa, the widow of Idaho sheepman, revered former Speaker of the Idaho House, and the longest serving Secretary of State, Pete Cenarrusa.
  • My former constituents and colleagues in Tuolumne County will have a good laugh when they learn that I am not considered conservative by Davidson. Times are tough there now with COVID-19. They’ll appreciate a little levity.
  • And finally, this tempest in a teapot will have legs and should help with fundraising.

It will take many small and large donations and volunteers to put me on the Ada County Commission. I believe that good, honest people will rise up and vote and rise up and donate with contributions as a statement of their support to restore integrity and principle.

Writing negative sound bites is not my way. I choose instead to flood this campaign with positive, affirming campaign messages about who I am and what I’ll do for you. And then, after I’m elected, I’ll get down to business and serve you.

Beyond that, I’ll just say nothing. I think Mama would be proud.

Teri

Campaign Update, April 7, 2020 Teri's response to the appointment today of Patrick Malloy to fill the remainder of retired commissioner Rick Visser's term.

Dear Friends,

We have received some great news; Gov. Little has appointed Patrick Malloy, to take retired Commissioner Visser’s seat. Malloy will serve as the ONLY Republican on Ada County Commission until January and is not running in the upcoming primary. That means my race for this seat is more important than ever. We must pivot and focus on everything we can do to win during this unprecedented time.

Tuesday, May 19th is the deadline to request an Absentee Ballot for the primary and it is fast approaching. We have a lot to do! Plus, we have a limited amount of time to get the word out to lots of Republican voters about voting by absentee ballot, my experience, qualifications and plans. The first batch of ballots go out this week!

Due to health concerns related to COVID-19, the election will be conducted by Absentee Ballot only with no in-person voting. Everyone must make sure to request an Absentee Ballot (click here if you need to do so). The online form requires only your drivers’ license number (or other permissible means of identification), and a few minutes of your time. Once you have one, you have to Friday June 2nd to return it to Ada County Elections.

In the meantime, since we’re unable to do any traditional events or door-to-door campaigning, we ask that you donate this week so that we may reach as many people as we can—$5 or whatever you can afford—and up until the ballot deadline to reach Ada County Republican voters.

We realize this is a difficult time for everyone. Many of you may be reeling from the impact of the Coronavirus on our lives and businesses. We are sensitive to your situations. If you are able though, it’s more important than ever that we work together to secure a future that prioritizes our health and safety.

Stay healthy,

Teri

 

 

 

Not Giving Up, Doubling Down, March 29, 2020

In the wake of the Ada County GOP’s recent recommendation of three names recommended to the Governor for an appointment to the vacant District 2 seat, I’ve been on the phone a lot with folks who are outraged with the way it went down, about the tactics that named Rod Beck, Patrick Malloy, and Kim Wickstrum and that rejected Mary McFarland, Representative Holtzclaw, and me.

I get that folks are angry and disappointed. I vented a bit myself, but now I’m moving on. I got an email the day before yesterday from the retiring Commissioner asking me to withdraw to which I didn't respond. People are asking me, PLEASE, don't withdraw. This is my answer.

I’m not giving up, I’m doubling down. Politics is a rough business, but I'm keeping my head up. Being consumed with resentment only hurts me. When a sucker punch gets thrown, I can stay in darkness or I can get back to winning.

Thank you. I’d rather win. There's too much at stake.

We can ill-afford to put an inexperienced person on the Commission for any amount of time.

Whether you think COVID-19 is a hoax or are terrified, just drive down the streets. You know that people and businesses are already negatively impacted. Spending has been disrupted. Government services are being scaled back as we speak, presenting both opportunity and challenge. The opportunity is a chance to examine spending and scale it back. The challenge is that cuts must go past fat and muscle into bone.

Last year, Ada County’s budget was over $250 million dollars – over half of that came from property taxes. The economy was booming and revenues were coming in. This year will be different. Tax revenue in general and property tax revenue will drop sharply. People have lost jobs (the number of unemployed jumped 1,200% according to the Department of Labor), businesses will go under. Tax revenue will fall. People will protest property tax assessments this summer that are based on before COVID-19 values. Businesses will contest their tax assessments. Many of those appeals should and will be upheld. County revenues will be down.

As a result, the county will cut spending significantly. Maybe you think they should and in cases, I agree. But so you understand the magnitude of the decisions awaiting the Board of Commissioners, scroll through the list. It’s not just fat or muscle. There’s a lot of bone there. Some departments are funded by property taxes. Some of them are mandated, but not all. If you look at the list and don’t want to read completely through it, instead notice how long it takes you to scroll past it to get to my main point below.

Ada County covers 1,060 square miles and six cities.  It has a population approaching half a million people. Where to cut? Commissioners won’t know for sure until budget hearings wrap up this summer. Does the county need more room in the jail or building inspectors and planning staff? More space in the court house or another ambulance? Can it get by on reducing hours and furloughs? Will whole programs disappear?

It will be a difficult, time-consuming process of study, thoughtful and respectful deliberation, and negotiation with other Board members. There will be little room for grandstanding, bloviating, posturing, or partisan glory. Every one of these departments has sincere supporters who believe with all their hearts that their services are the most important. They will show up at budget hearings and some will cry. A Commissioners’ job is to say no, say yes, and make the right decisions because there’s a lot riding on it. The budget has to be balanced. One time monies should not be spent on ongoing expenses. There will be consequences to many people as a result of their actions.

Here’s the list of departments and services the county provides:

  • Public Safety
    • Sheriff – at over 740 employees in patrol and jail divisions, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for law enforcement in unincorporated Ada County, and the cities of Eagle, Kuna, and Star. It staffs the 1,224 bed jail (which is typically at capacity and also provides transition housing for state prisoners between sentencing and state incarceration), runs 911, serves civil process from the courts and other notices under statute, and provides mutual aid to cities not served. It issues drivers licenses, concealed weapons permits, patrols county waterways.
    • Paramedics – showing up in medical emergencies, providing information and training to help avoid medical emergencies, ambulance services.
    • Prosecutor – seeking justice in criminal and civil cases (homicide, property crimes, domestic violence, victim witness representation, providing legal counsel to the county, and more).
    • Emergency Management – working collaboratively with the Department of Emergency Services and other local, state, and federal agencies to plan for and manage emergencies and ensure Ada County is a safe place to live, work, and play.
    • Coroner- responsible for certifying the cause and manner of death in Ada County (includes investigations, forensics, and administration).
    • Public Defender – serving people who have no or limited means to access the justice system on out of custody and in custody representation, child protection matters, alternative sentencing, pre-trail services, and more.
    • Fourth District Court – Judges, Magistrate Court, Civil Court, Criminal Court, Juvenile Court and other programs (probation, detention, counseling, victim services, etc.), and their administration.
    • Guardianship Monitoring Program – ensures the well-being of protected persons, over 2,300 of them.
    • FACES – the county’s one-stop triage and support center for victims of abuse (children, spouse, elder, etc.)
    • Code Red – the county’s emergency notification system for situations and community alerts (evacuations, bio-terrorism, boil water, missing children, etc.)
  • Development Services – permitting, building inspection, community and strategic planning, and engineering and surveying.
  • Elections
    • Voter registration, candidate sunshine reports, balloting.
  • Emergency Management – for families, businesses, and animals - prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery (the county leads a multi-jurisdictional planning and response group.
  • Expo Idaho
    • Ada County owns the property and buildings, but the following are not funded with property taxes. They are self-funded from the receipts from the Western Idaho Fair (250,000 people attend annually), trade shows, company gatherings, auctions, sporting events, livestock shows (over 750,000 a year attend), the Boise Hawks stadium and an RV Park.
  • Administrative Services – include Human Resources for over 1,900 employees countywide, Information Technology for all departments (customer support, infrastructure, project management, and development – client/server/web/GIS), Operations, Procurement, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (invasive species identification, structure mapping – i.e. landfill planning and management, and 3-D modeling for land use, and to support Pest, Development.)
  • Historic Preservation - identifying and documenting historic structures and sites, reviewing development applications, education, and outreach.
  • Indigent Services – providing temporary assistance to people without means and options for medical expenses, cremation, some utilities, and rent. Reimbursement is required under Idaho Code from those who have assets (real and/or personal property).
  • Parks and Waterways – the county owns parks, open space and trails, waterway attractions like floating the Boise River, and operates diverse education and event centers like Barber Park, portions of the Greenbelt, and more for recreation and other outdoor activities.
  • Solid Waste – the Ada County Landfill is a major responsibility of the county. Not only does it process various types of waste (household, construction, vegetation, etc.), but it accepts Hazardous Waste, as well. This department has contractual oversight of waste haulers (pick up, recycling, rates), general recycling, and educational outreach to reduce waste generation in light of finite landfill space. It also leads the countywide Solid Waste Advisory Committee (with cities).
  • Weed, Pest, and Mosquito Abatement – these three departments are consolidated and each provides an important service to residents. The county’s general fund supports noxious weed elimination, but not all services (special levies cover mosquito abatement and pest control).

Again, some of these have required spending levels. Some of them have other funding sources that aren’t taxes. Some of these are discretionary – meaning the Board can decide whether or not to fund them. It’s complicated and it’s important.

MY MAIN POINT

So this is why I’m doubling down. This is why I’m focused on winning, and not on political intrigue. The candidates or potential appointees on or off the list – despite their experience in the Legislature, on a city council, or in the Republican Party – don’t know what they don’t know yet. They’re still talking about “taking the fight to the Democrats” when what we need now is experience.

Getting up to speed (and having the wisdom and experience necessary to do the job) will take much longer than nine months or the next two years. We can’t afford on the job training. Not now.

This immediate crisis and its worrisome impacts will eventually recede, but not before a lot of hard decisions are made. Those start now. Eventually, COVID-19 worries will give way to the issues we were concerned about before - reining in property taxes and spending, growing responsibly, and protecting public safety – and we can take those back up. But not now.

So me? Look at my experience at About Teri. I’m focused on the race. I’m not wasting any more time on what happened this week. I have experience, I have key support and resources, and I can win the Primary and the General. I’m doubling down.

Are you with me?


Paid for: Murrison for Ada County Commissioner Cheryl Miller, Treasurer
PO Box 605, Boise, ID 83701
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