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Boise Mayoral Candidate Denounces City Action In Homelessness Case

Lauren McLean

Boise Mayoral Candidate Lauren McLean has come out against the city’s efforts to take a camping ordinance case to the Supreme Court, putting her at odds with incumbent mayor Dave Bieter.

Bieter champions the decade-old case and the camping ordinance. That ordinance originally criminalized all sleeping in public places in Boise, but later changed to only criminalize the practice if there’s room at shelters. 

Bieter has said it’s a tool to keep unsafe homeless camps from forming, but McLean argues it's not helpful to cite people for sleeping when they’re already in a difficult situation.

“Saying that we need to criminalise people that are experiencing hardship and the act of being on the streets, just to me isn’t a solution to getting people off the street," she said.

McLean had been part of the city council's decision to appeal the camping ordinance case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but she said she didn't know that there wasn't unanimous support from shelters for the appeal.

Robert West, Bieter's campaign manager, said in a statement that McLean should have done more reserach before making her decision.

"The fact is, Council President McLean supported the appeal of the 9th Circuit’s ruling a month before she decided to run for mayor and has now flip-flopped on that decision with less than five weeks before an election," he said.

There will be another mayoral debate on Oct. 17 at Boise High School. Click here for more details. 

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