BOISE — A fifth candidate has joined the race for mayor of Idaho’s largest city with the hopes of stemming in-migration.
Wayne Richey, 58, is a lifelong resident of the Treasure Valley, and said he is fed up with the explosive population growth in Boise, as people from California and other high cost areas are moving to the City of Trees. While other candidates are discussing ways to ease growing pains, Richey wants to do everything he can to discourage Californians from coming to Boise.
“Why spend our tax dollars make all of this wonderful if it’s just going to be for Californians?” he said. “I hate to say this, but we need to trash the place.”
He said people are relocating to Boise after seeing the city ranked high on lists that tout the low cost of living, low crime rates and public amenities, so in order to stem the flow of migration the city should get rid of some of the things that make it most desirable.
“Everybody is like, ‘Why would you want to trash the city you live in?’ but I want to take it back,” he said. “I want to take the city back. (We need to) quit spending money on parks, quit spending money on the things we need, because it’s not for our kids anymore. Now it’s for Californians.”
Richey graduated from Boise State University where he studied car maintenance; he has worked in the industry since his early 20s. Although he has no political experience, he said his big claim to fame is he’s “the moose guy,” because of several plywood moose decorating his yard off of Cole Road. He also drives for Lyft, where he said he has heard countless stories from locals who are unable to afford living in Boise.
Richey said the city’s Grow Our Housing plan, which aims to increase density and slow rapidly increasing housing prices, does not address the root of the problem.
“It’s completely a Band-Aid and if they do come up with affordable housing, the Californians’ kids are going to buy them,” he said. “As long as we have that many people moving into the city, and the valley just can’t absorb that many people, they’re never going to accomplish that.”
He pushed back on the city’s recent moves to try to add more public transit.
“Here in the valley if you watch, nobody rides the bus,” he said. “They just don’t. If there’s going to be any kind of public transportation, something going between Nampa and Caldwell would be the answer. I just don’t see people using public transportation at all.”
The proposed main library project has been a political flash point this election season. The project is on pause due to rising costs and legal questions surrounding how the public could vote on the project. Richey would want to scrap it and the library system entirely.
“When is the last time you were in a library?” he said. “We don’t need a library. I really think the big $100 million library is somebody’s trophy. I don’t think people use libraries anymore. I just don’t. Literally you can Google anything you want and it’s there.”