Council Candidate Coverage 7

City council elections are just around the corner in November of 2009. There is a bright, young, upcoming crop of political newcomers and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce some of them to you. We work closely with city council members in Canyon and Ada Counties, so I hope you will pay attention and go vote if you live within the limits of an incorporated city.

In Boise, Lucas Baumbach, TJ Thomson and Lee Lay have been the most visible candidates. Quieter longtime participants in the city political arena include Dan Dunham and David “Pappy” Honey. Not all of these candidates have made it clear which seat they are seeking.

• TJ Thomson is the liberal’s liberal. He is currently running for the seat being vacated by ex-cop Jim Tibbs, and has been for some time now. What he plans to run for next remains to be seen, but mark my words, if he wins this time, he’ll be heading for bigger and better things sooner rather than later. The money TJ is spending on his campaign could probably end hunger in Boise if applied to that cause instead. I doubt that TJ will ever find a big government, tax-and-spend program he doesn’t support.

• Diametrically opposite TJ is Dan Dunham, the conservative’s conservative. If you want to cut and limit government, Dan is your man. Dan has years of experience in volunteer public service and has previously run for public office, including in a Republican primary in legislative district 21. Some people will consider Dan’s style a little too blunt but you’ll never have to wonder where he stands on an issue.

• Lucas Baumbach, who is taking on City Council President Maryanne Jordan, is a breath of fresh air in Boise City politics. Intelligent, well-educated, brash, and bold, Lucas could use a little professional grooming. He tends to come off in writing sounding a bit reactionary, a quality he would do well to temper. Lucas has a bright future in the political arena, but a win in Boise City could be tough, given his conservative political views.

• Lee Lay blends in better with his surroundings than does the brassier Lucas Baumbach with whom he sometimes hangs out. A little older and more experienced, Lee could have something to offer Boise residents if given a seat at the table.

• David Honey, known in some circles as “Pappy,” is a somewhat more refined version of Vern Bisterfeldt, tattoos and all. Blue collar and proud of it, dedicated, and a little chauvinistic, this moderate Democrat and long-time participant in the local political arena is a good fit for Boise City. Given the fact that Vern has been supporting Democrats exclusively lately, if he is ready to hang up his hat and enjoy his great grandchildren, perhaps he will consider endorsing David as his replacement.

In Meridian, Michael D. Roy has a bright political future. A true conservative, Michael comes across well in person, and is married to a special ed teacher. Maybe it’s time for longtime politician Keith Bird to step aside and make way for a reasonable, credible candidate like Michael to bring fresh blood and new ideas to elected public service in Meridian. Or, voters can simply choose to make it happen.

In nearby Middleton, Lenny John Riccio is a breath of fresh air. Young, bright and conservative, Lenny is the Canyon County Republican Party’s Youth Chair. Lenny’s engaging personality makes him a natural in the political arena. Although I don’t know him well yet, Lenny is likely to be active and involved in the political arena for years to come, so be sure you remember his name.

Up north, in Coeur d’Alene, Dan Gookin is the man. Dan is a funny guy who knows all about computers and information technology. Most people aren’t aware, but Dan penned the first “For Dummies” books – DOS for Dummies and PCs for Dummies. Unfortunately for Dan, it’s not possible to copyright titles, so a lot of people have stolen the concept since. Dan is a longtime public advocate who leans libertarian in his views. If the people in CDA are smart and are paying attention, they will elect Dan to serve on their city council.

There you have it… my take on some of the folks who are running for city council positions around the state.

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7 thoughts on “Council Candidate Coverage

  • Lenny

    Thank you very much for the kind words in your blog. If anyone is interested in learning more about my campaign I encourage those to check out my website,, or add me, Lenny Riccio, as a friend on Facebook. Thanks!

  • Brett Adler


    It's clear you have never actually talked with TJ Thomson, eh? Nor do you have seem to have any idea how much money he's actually raised. I suggest you get to know more about TJ before making such strong assumptions and comments.

    TJ is anything but the liberal's liberal or a tax-and-spender. He has spent many years helping the government and private business save millions of dollars, including a billion dollar savings at NASA.

    I'd like to see your plan for ending hunger in Boise that can be done that inexpensively. I repeatedly read comments from people who have never met TJ that seem to think he's some rich guy with money to burn in his fireplace on a hot summer day. As someone that knows TJ, and that knows what he's had to sell of his own possession to pay for his campaign, it's absurd to think he is swimming in money. People know about TJ because he's a hard working, grass roots organizer who dedicates his life to bettering our community…not because of any high dollar advertising campaigns. He's out there every day working hard to get people's support while also working a full time job.

    I can't speak for the other candidates you've profiled here, but I hope they aren't nearly as factually incorrect as your portrayal of TJ.

  • Sharon Ullman

    Brett ~ Thank you for sharing your thoughts on TJ. Surely he is a delightful person who means well. As a candidate, though, what I see is a rubber stamp for the current mayor's political agenda (i.e. exorbitantly costly light rail) and increased spending of public funds.

    If that agenda is what Boise City voters prefer, then great – they've got it in TJ! If, however, they want representatives who prefer a more limited government, less spending and lower taxes, they might want to look at the other candidates in the race.

    By the way, I’m also curious about a statement you made: “People know about TJ because he's a hard working, grass roots organizer who dedicates his life to bettering our community…”. What is it, exactly, that TJ has done in this community?

  • Tom Lloyd

    Not that this needs saying, as the information is out there on TJ. You, quite obviously, have just not done your research. Nevertheless, in a small response to your questions to Brett, and without knowing TJ's resume by heart or cross-checking his website, I'll give you three examples:

    1) TJ has been a longtime volunteer with various law enforcement agencies, including acting as "McGruff the Crime Dog" to help educate our youth and steer them in the right direction. I think that works to better our community.

    2) TJ has, for a very long time, participated in suicide outreach programs to help troubled teens and others who are struggling in life, contemplating taking their own lives, and reaching out for help. I think that works to better our community.

    3) Most recently, TJ volunteered some time to participate in the Bicycle Law and Safety Panel discussion that took place in mid-July, which, in the wake of the many deaths and accidents we've had in the area lately, aimed to educate the community on how motorists and cyclists must interact with each other on our local roadways. Along with the other participants, which included State Senator Elliot Werk, Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong, and two members of the Boise Policy Department, I think that works to better our community.

    Again, that's just off of the top of my head, though I'm sure there is much more. Tell me, Sharon, what have you done lately? Google seems to be not documenting your own humanitarian efforts very well. I just figure that you must have a ton of them under your belt to even feel remotely justified in questioning TJ's community involvement without having done any research on him whatsoever. Am I wrong?

  • Chryssa Rich

    Sharon, it's clear you're unfamiliar with TJ and the way his campaign is run. Your presumptive and inaccurate remarks show just how disconnected you are from Boiseans and just how uninvolved you've been with your own community.

    In addition to everything Tom Lloyd mentioned, TJ also gathered a team for Spring Clean Boise this year, and we spent most of a Saturday working to clean up a large corner yard for a 91 year-old Boise resident.

    Absolutely nothing about TJ indicates he's a "rubber stamp" with an "agenda". I'll give you an A+ for buzzword use, but an F for content.

  • Lucas

    I've never seen TJ at a City Council meeting, and I noticed that he just started a Neighborhood Watch and did Citizens Police Academy in the last year (to pad his thin resume?) I've noticed that he's awfully thin on content.
    When I met with him for coffee, I explained to TJ that all the court cases lost recently by Boise depict Boise as trending to illegal and unconstitutional policies. I tried to give him a copy of the US constitution and TJ recoiled with his hands up saying, "I don't know about that." It's pretty clear that if you like Obama, you'll love TJ. Right, Brett and Chryssa?

  • Sharon Ullman

    Tom and Chryssa ~ In the piece I wrote about potential city council candidates, I was not attempting to provide a massive investigative report. I was trying to provide a brief overview of some of the candidates and I commend TJ for whatever volunteer efforts he has made in our community.

    No, you won’t find a lot of information on the internet about the volunteer efforts I have made in our community for the past 19 years. The whole point of volunteering is to contribute to the community and make it a better place to live, not for bragging rights.