© 2021 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Reporting from McCall – here are some of the stories you wanted told.

Boise Mayoral Candidate Conversations 2019: Adriel Martinez

Courtesy Adriel Martinez

Adriel Martinez is one of six men and women challenging incumbent Dave Bieter in the race to see who should be the Mayor of Boise. Martinez isn't a stranger to politics. In 2015, he ran an unsuccessful race against Boise City Councilman Scot Ludwig. Now, Martinez has his eye on Boise's top job.

Martinez sat down with Morning Edition host George Prentice.

"I saw nothing was changing. Nobody listened, but now they're listening."

Read the full transcript below:

GEORGE PRENTICE: What can you tell us about yourself?

ADRIEL MARTINEZ: To start off, I'm a military veteran. I served four and a half years active duty in the military. I've been deployed twice in Afghanistan. That's my

PRENTICE: What branch?

MARTINEZ: I was in the Army. I was, what years 2009 to 2013. So I was deployed to Afghanistan twice. Another thing in my resume that I think it's important to know I'm a political science graduate from Boise State with an emphasis on public policy, and American government. That's a big thing. That's four years of schooling. I minored in history. Part of my resume is, I worked a lot of customer service jobs.

Currently I work at FedEx Express at the airport, I unload and load planes. I haven't had necessarily what was some would say, professional jobs. I just — that's not me. So I've applied to certain jobs and positions. I thought about doing lobbying for a while because I have connections in the city. But that's not really my forte, I'd rather just go directly into government service. It doesn't necessarily take being you know, an attorney or other positions where you can become the mayor, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're qualified. When the mayor gets elected if they've never had an elected position before or even a city council member, you know, you can't just say certain things on their resume make them better for office. That's what's wrong with, you know, the city and the state, and the country. You have too many professional people getting elected into positions.

And you know, these people aren't accounting for the rest of the population, they kind of get lost in the wayside. So I have a background to get into an elect office, I'm not a nobody. I have the experience. I have the education. I'm self educated. I know all these issues, because I've been studying them. Local politics I got into about five years ago, and I've been studying a lot of the issues. I know what I'm talking about. I've already had forums and a live debate where I knew what I was talking about. I had good talking points and I brought up good statistics and facts. So my background is more than enough to be a mayor of Boise. You know, its novice experienced, but it's still experienced,

PRENTICE: How might you best describe your politics?

MARTINEZ: My politics is very interesting. I used to be a registered Democrat for a long time, I supported President Obama. That was the first election that I actually participated in, and I volunteered a lot and I actually volunteer on the Walt Minnick campaign and helped him get elected. So I used to be a conservative Democrat. But as I've gotten older, I've become more progressive. I wouldn't say it's liberal because it's not conservative and liberal. The political spectrum is four quadrant system. So I think people get lost in that. I'm more progressive, and I have a lot of ideas of the future. I unregistered as a Democrat after the whole Bernie Sanders fiasco and the DNC thing.

PRENTICE: Is that because you supported Bernie Sanders?

MARTINEZ:: Yes, I supported Bernie Sanders. Basically, since I believe 2011 was when I first got introduced to him. I liked Bernie and I liked the fact that he was somebody that was different than the rest of the politicians, Democrat and Republican. The two party system is kind of a mess and kind of destroying our country right now. So I see Bernie Bernie Sanders as somebody that had ideas, he was, you know, unaffiliated. He was an independent that called himself a Democratic Socialist. So I got interested in him. I liked what he had to say he had a good message. And he had a track record. He wasn't a politician who had taken money from lobbyists. He was actually one of the poorest senators in the country. I think he's still might be the poorest senator. So that says something.

PRENTICE: What was the tipping point? And if you can be as specific as possible, what was the tipping point of your decision to run for mayor?

MARTINEZ: I would say about two years ago, you know, it's been the same status quo in Boise for a long time in the mayor first year terms, he did a great job, but I think he's kind of got you know, he got stuck in that position of power. He hasn't been elected by the majority of Boisians. He's been elected by a small few. I saw nothing was changing. Nobody listened, but now they're listening.

PRENTICE: Let's talk a little bit about two initiatives that are also on the ballot this November. How might you vote on the initiative requiring voter approval for a possible library project?

MARTINEZ: I support the initiatives, but I don't support the library or the stadium in its current plan. So I am going to be voting yes.

PRENTICE: On both initiatives?

MARTINEZ: Yes. A vote to vote basically, it shouldn't even have come down to this to city council should have just handled this. But they basically created even further problem that's just going to trickle down. It's going to backfire on them. I support both propositions and the organizations know that and they like me over there at Boise Working Together. These two issues, this is taxpayer dollars that should be going somewhere else. And they are great things that could happen down the road. But at this current status of Boise, what's happening with the exponential growth, with our housing, the transportation system, our aging infrastructure, our economy, that it's been a little stagnant in terms of wage increases. We can't support these in their current status and take the taxpayer dollars to spend it on especially the library. The library doesn't look like Boise. I've lived here for almost my whole life. And that library looks like it belongs in Europe somewhere.

PRENTICE: The proposed design?

MARTINEZ: Yes. And the stadium, taxpayer funded stadiums has been a problem in our whole country for so long. You know, we have stadiums in Las Vegas. They're building that new stadium in Las Vegas, they built the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Taxpayers should not have the burden of these stadiums. There's professional developers, real estate moguls, entrepreneurs that can afford to build it themselves, and they still make money, just not as much because they're going to fork over some, but you have to spend money to make money. So they will.

PRENTICE: What would you do in your first year of office that the current mayor hasn't done?

MARTINEZ: One of the first things that I would do is in the anti camping ordinance, it's costing us money. We keep suing the Federal court system over people sleeping on the streets, that's public land, where are they going to sleep in, in the subdivisions out in the woods, the Supreme Court, and I know constitutional law I've studied it, they're going to side with homeless people sleeping on public land. So that's one of the first thing I'm going to do is give her the anti camping ordinance, I'm going to get them out of the jail, stop wasting taxpayer dollars. And another thing that I'm going to do is cap the property taxes at 1% for all four years, and that's going to go into effect immediately. And the city council, I mean, if they want to fight me on it, you know, that'll be their mistake, and they'll be jumping off ship in the next election. But those two things along with another major thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to stop the closed door meetings. I'm going to have more transparency. I'm not going to be meeting with developers and attorneys behind closed doors, that's not going to happen. If they want to meet with me, they're going to schedule like everybody else.

PRENTICE: Can I bring you back to the issue of homelessness though? Do you have a proposal of housing more folks who don't have a roof over their head?

MARTINEZ: Yes, I propose that the city invest in city-run homeless shelters, and also giving a little bit of money to the Christian nonprofit organizations that run the other shelters. So we're gonna have to put money into it.

PRENTICE: Do you acknowledge that there are some folks who are shelter averse? They can't function under a roof and they choose not to be in a shelter.

MARTINEZ: Yes, there are those folks and they're not all criminals. I know that. The city has kind of started a war against homeless people with anti camping thing is, you know, it's and then the Cooper Court, they could have handled that better. They went in there like a military police state the way that they handle it. So you think that you're going to bring police with guns in there, clear out the Cooper court and then you think they're going to come back when they offer all those services. There are people that are caught, you know, people that like to live on the road, there's nothing wrong with them. You know, we have to make them feel welcome. Let them sleep in the partial, Let them sleep wherever they want. As long as they're not committing crimes, who cares where they sleep. Tt's safer for them in the community if they sleep in the downtown area. Now, we don't want it to end up like San Francisco or LA, but it won't, Boise is just not big enough. That's never going to happen. And Boise will never get that. Because eventually, it'll get too big and people will move away because we don't have the infrastructure like I've previously mentioned.

PRENTICE: What's it going to take for you to win?

MARTINEZ: It's going to take a lot of free media for one, just like President Trump.

PRENTICE: Good luck with that!

MARTINEZ: Yeah, President Trump, that's one of the reasons he won. He didn't run a good campaign. He didn't raise as much money.

PRENTICE: Quite frankly, he said a lot of outrageous things that gave him a fair amount of free media.

MARTINEZ: Yes, I am more eloquent. I am like him that I speak my mind but I am much more eloquent than him. And I'm, I think might be more educated than him. I don't know. What he did was unprofessional. What I'm doing is I'm going out there I'm making statements to people. I'm meeting people on the streets. I meet people every day. I'm a very social person. So I can be anybody. I can socialize with anybody left, right, rich, poor, it doesn't matter. You know, I've went out there I've knocked on doors and I've met people. You know, I've met people at the mall. I've met people downtown drinking, you know, the younger crowd. And so I'm doing a kind of an old school campaign because the money in campaigns that's what's ruining our country.

PRENTICE: Adriel Martinez, Thank you.

MARTINEZ: Thank you for having me.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

George Prentice has been honored for his decades-long career in broadcast and print journalism. As news editor of Boise Weekly, he won multiple awards for his investigative reporting and took home top prizes in the fields of crime/courts, environmental, health, religion and feature reporting.