Democracy is the bedrock of our values and ideals across our communities and as a community, we must honor those ideals by respecting the democratic process.
On Oct. 27, the North End Neighborhood Association (NENA), the association that represents the largest neighborhood in Boise, held its annual board meeting. On the agenda: board elections. Five new board members were elected by the residents of the North End. Strangely, instead of installing those who were fairly and justly elected in their posts, the board delayed and instead chose to push ratifying the results of the election off until the November board meeting.
Based on an online petition and comments on social media, it appears it is the intention of the board to not ratify the results of the election at the upcoming meeting on Nov. 24. While this may seem trivial to most living outside of the North End, it is the fundamental practice of respecting fair election results at every level that should concern every one of us. North End or elsewhere, it is critical that we know that when we engage in a civic process, we know that our participation will not be in vain.
The actions of the NENA board of directors has shaken the faith in that process and disincentivizes new members of our community in getting involved at any level. We feel that refusing to accept the results of a legitimate, democratic process, regardless at what level, sets a dangerous precedent for future generations.
For years, NENA’s board of directors has given their time and efforts to serving the North End. Diversifying the board and the opinions on issues affecting the residents of the North End is not a demonstration of disrespect of that service — it’s democracy. Providing an alternative approach or a different opinion is not an insurgency, as characterized by members of the NENA Board. Members of the association want to see a peaceful resolution and look forward to working with the continuing board members to find solutions that work for everyone.
Erosions to our democracy start small and at the local — even neighborhood — level. We can stop dangerous standards being set right here in Boise by honoring fair and transparent elections. We urge neighbors and friends in the North End to thank outgoing board members for their hard work and insist the NENA board of directors rightfully ratify the results of last month’s election. The old board has the ability to protect the integrity and trust of the North End by accepting the vote and working together peacefully.