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Civil Discourse

The morning of Aug. 16, Boise City Council President Elaine Clegg woke up to Black Lives Matter activists on the sidewalk in front of her house, speaking into a megaphone and drawing chalk outlines of human bodies on the concrete to represent BIPOC who had been killed by police—a rebuke to her casting a budgetary vote that increased the Boise Police Department’s budget by $1.2 million.

The incident irked her: For the better part of two decades, she has established a record of supporting changes to BPD and the city at large that have made them more responsive to vulnerable Boiseans. Apparently, “that’s not enough,” she wrote on Facebook.

The demonstrators have their own frustrations. They told Boise Weekly that city leaders have scarcely given them the time of day, and showing up at Clegg’s home, however out of keeping with Boise norms of political speech, was an extreme they felt they had to go to in order to convey the urgency of their critique of policing.

In this week’s issue of BW, Tracy Bringhurst brings readers the voices of Clegg and BLM activists, as well as outside experts on civil discourse, offering a deeper look at what happened in front of Clegg’s home and the state of civil discourse. Don’t miss Tracy’s story on page 6.

Then, on page 7, outgoing BW intern Sydney Kidd gives a timely breakdown on this year’s rather pronounced fire season. In 2020, a disproportionate number of fires in Idaho have been caused by humans—likely a consequence of people escaping quarantine fever and smoky days by heading up to the mountains. Be sure to use best fire practices when in the great outdoors, folks.

Tracy returns on page 8 to tell readers about an Idaho Supreme Court decision that will have an important impact on how police intervene in cases of domestic disturbances, and make Idaho less safe for victims of domestic abuse. According to a report from Boise State University, there are practical steps and legislative measures that police, victims and victim services organizations can take to remedy the situation.

Finally, we took a tour of the Museum of Idaho to see how it keeps visitors safe while educating them about the Gem State. Take a look at Tracy’s report on page 10.

—Harrison Berry, Editor

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