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Idaho Dispatch Ada County Candidate Questionnaire – City Elections – November 2023

By • November 3, 2023

Idaho Dispatch candidate questionnaire responses for the November 7, 2023 city elections in Ada County.

The following questions were sent to Mayoral and City Council candidates in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Garden City, Kuna, and Star. The only exceptions were candidates who did not have a contact email address or website contact form that we could find.

These questions were asked:

  1. Are you a free speech absolutist? If not, what would be the exception?
  2. Are you in favor of upzoning your city?  (Provide definition of upzoning).
  3. Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?
Responses provided by the campaigns are as follows. We made some punctuation and minor grammar corrections, but answers are otherwise as written by the candidates.
Joe Evans (Boise):

Are you a free speech absolutist?

“Yes, tell me who you are so I can (dis)associate freely and establish safe boundaries for me, mine, and others.”

If not, what would be the exception?

“Exceptions: Distribution of sexually explicit materials to minors.”

Are you in favor of upzoning your city?

“Yes, with the caveat that we had areas that could have been targeted for early development so that displacement didn’t occur before new affordable housing was in place. This also would allow a test of effectiveness before committing the whole city to the upzone.”

(Provide definition of upzoning).

“Definition: providing a change in zoning code to reflect the needs of the city and its residents in order to preserve and/or enhance the culture and/or aesthetic that the people moved to Boise (metro area) for. This includes multi use zoning so that residential, commercial, industrial, and agriculture can coexist within walking distance to support work/life/spiritual/education balance with a minimal commute.”

Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?

“#2A absolutist. I am thrilled that Boise has a near universal concealed carry and that everyone knows that anyone can, with a high probability, be armed in most situations.”

Capt. Marc Degl’innocenti (Eagle):

“I am a constitutionalist; therefore, I am a strong First Amendment advocate and user of that amendment. There are only a few exceptions to free speech that the Supreme Court has decided upon. I happen to agree with those exceptions. The most used example of criminal speech would be yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. Fighting words and physical threats of violence are other such examples. Calling in false bomb threats are also criminal offences and not considered free speech. That’s an easy-to-understand issue. Upzoning is more difficult to explain.

Upzoning is needed under certain specific circumstances. The current Eagle City Council has already approved 1400 new units for low-income housing. It’s already hard enough getting low-income housing to be affordable on expensive land. You must have high density upzoning for that type of housing if you’re ever going to get it to work. Along with that type of unique zoning comes some unique issues. Is there now enough parking and access roads for that type of zoning? Are there enough first responders to handle the increased dense population? Are taller buildings now going to block previous views? How about sun blocking or even sun magnifying in some taller buildings? I am against upzoning and high-density housing in common residential zones though. Upzoning is the exception and should never be the rule. The people of Eagle want to keep Eagle a quaint and unique city. They told me so during my nine-month long campaign, and I will respect their wishes. I will also respect their other rights.

Cities have no business restricting the Second Amendment. The new city ordinance stating that only the city itself can own a firing range is not only unconstitutional, it is also a form of communism. I promise to protect the constitutional rights of all of our citizens.”

Liz Strader (Meridian):

Are you a free speech absolutist?

“To summarize, yes, I believe most limitations on political speech and the first amendment are dangerous. I am very consistent on this. It is one of my main concerns that keeps me up at night: so many efforts to restrict speech coming out of all areas of the political spectrum. I’m worried about efforts to censor content at the library, efforts to re-write classic books or even alter research to make it more politically “acceptable”, of course, the Twitter Files are a terrible modern example of the dangers in government attempting to police free speech. Look at what’s happened in the financial system with the truckers in Canada! We must guard against that happening here.

When free speech occurs that you disagree with, it is important to speak out against it and provide your own viewpoints in the marketplace of ideas. Free of government censorship doesn’t mean free of natural consequences… If someone wants to say something offensive, I will support their right to do so. They may face consequences in their reputation from doing that, but the government should not censor them. The best ideas win, that’s what makes our country work.

If not, what would be the exception? I struggle to think of many, and the supreme court has ruled on a few, the obvious example that comes to mind is shouting “fire” in a crowded building. Cities also have an interest in narrowly tailored rules regarding protests as long as they apply regardless of content / viewpoint. But we must always guard against a slippery slope on exceptions.”

Are you in favor of upzoning your city? (Provide definition of upzoning).

“If you mean – am I in favor of wholesale changes to allow additional density within existing zoning in our city, or blanket changes that would, for example, allow accessory dwelling units all over existing residential areas, the answer is no. When people bought property, they made important decisions on where to live according to our comprehensive plan and we need to stick to that process. I believe density should be located near transportation corridors, and that we need to use priority growth areas so we don’t stretch our city services too thin. I would also note, I am the only sitting Meridian City Council member who doesn’t accept political contributions from real estate developers.”

Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?

“No, I do not.”

Mike Hon (Meridian):

Are you a free speech absolutist?


If not, what would be the exception?

“Yelling fire in a crowded movie theatre. Inciting one group of people to actual violence against another group is an issue as well.”

Are you in favor of upzoning your city? (Provide definition of upzoning).

“I am not in favor of increasing the density of a city if the infrastructure and services are not ready to accommodate the increase in population.”

Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?


Bill Chandler (Meridian):

“Freedom of Speech is ‘just that’, freedom of SPEECH. You cannot ‘pick and choose’ what speech is allowed and what is not and ‘still’ have ‘freedom of speech’ it’s one or the other.

Note: these laws/rights apply to ‘adults’. Children (on the other hand) should never be subjected to speech (written or spoken) without the consent of their parents. this has been well ‘adjudicated’ with the courts. this is ‘why’, inappropriate material is ‘censored’ and ‘restricted’ for those under 18.

On Firearm regulation, no. Cities do not have the Legal authority to negate the Constitution (federal or State) and the RIGHTS each citizen has on the day they are born. They can define ‘codes’ for use within city boundaries, but those cannot override the superior laws set forth by State or Federal constitutions. Judicial supreme court ruling would be required to see if the city code ‘does’ violate those superseding rights/laws.

When you say regulate, define that term? Meridian already has a ‘city code’ ” 6-3-10. – Firearms; dischargeable instruments” that says: “Prohibition. No person shall discharge any firearm or dischargeable instrument on public or private property within the city.”

I would propose a code change to alter that. I don’t know WHO and WHEN this code was adopted, but it far too overreaching and restrictive. if a Meridian resident can show ‘safe use’ within their personal property, why would the city restrict this?? It’s also ‘supposed’ that NO ONE can impede the rights of their neighbor in exercising ‘their’ rights on their property. So, if that is occurring, then that would be a restriction. Basically, ‘you’ have a right to do what you want, so long as you don’t infringe on the rights of anyone else.”

Todd Eberling (Meridian):

Are you a free speech absolutist?

“Yes! I absolutely believe in and will defend our free speech rights. The only exceptions I support would be the immediate danger exceptions, such as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.”

If not what would be the exception?

“See 1st question.”

Are you in favor of upzoning your city? (Provide definition of upzoning).

“Upzoning is changing lower density land use to higher density zoning. No, I’m not in favor of upzoning. I’ve watched with dismay how Upzoning has destroyed one beautiful cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.”

Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?

“No! City governments need to stay within their jurisdictional authority. Our state has very strong second amendment protections, which I support and am grateful for. City governing entities that create their own gun laws are violating state law and should not be allowed to get away with it.”

Kathy Corless (Boise):

Are you a free speech absolutist?

“I support our First amendment right to free speech, and speech that does not incite violence, danger or illegal actions.”


“I believe in smart growth for the City of Boise and for adding new zoning codes for mix use areas, multi family, accessory dwelling units and includes additional density. For the taxpayer, it is less expensive to add density to places that already have services such as sewer, trash, water and access to sidewalks in towns where access to live work and play is closer than South of Lake Hazel.”

“In regard to regulation on firearms for local jurisdictions, there would need to be additional details provided for consideration. As a hypothetical example, a city might want to regulate sales of firearms in geographic location to schools or jails, it may be work considering depending on the language.”

Robert Imhoff (Eagle):

Are you a free speech absolutist?


If not, what would be the exception?


Are you in favor of upzoning your city?

“If “upzoning” is using the recent Boise definition, no, not in favor.”

Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?


Colin Nash (Boise):

Are you a free speech absolutist?


If not, what would be the exception?

“I believe in a broad and liberal interpretation of free speech and I’ve defended these rights at the legislature. The idea of free speech absolutism has been used to justify purported constitutional protections of various immoral and illegal activities over the years, including protections for the dissemination of child pornography. I agree with a number of Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinions on the bounds of free speech including his opinion in U.S. v. Williams when the Supreme Court held that there is no First Amendment protection for requests to obtain or offers to produce child pornography. Speech restrictions are actively being imposed by state and local governments to silence doctors, teachers, activists, and employees, and I stand opposed to speech restrictions in general.”

Are you in favor of upzoning your city? (Provide a definition of upzoning).

“Upzoning is a term used to describe providing more allowable uses for private property. I support private property rights, and I support the rights of individuals to use their property for its highest and best use. I do not believe that cities should engage in exclusionary zoning practices that severely restrict individuals’ ability to exercise their private property rights. If I want to build an accessory dwelling unit on my property to increase my income or allow an aging loved one to live near me, then I should be able to do that without the city getting in my business. The expansion of private property rights is one of the best tools we have to combat our housing affordability crisis which why I supported recent updates to the zoning code.”

Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?

“I try to go on ride-alongs with the Boise Police Department to get an understanding of what’s going on in the city and the concerns of police officers. One of the concerns expressed to me on my last ride-along is the prevalence of guns in bars and clubs on weekend nights and early mornings. Guns and alcohol don’t mix, and I share their safety concerns for both officers and the public and would be supportive of measures to mitigate the prevalence of firearms in dangerous public situations.”

Joe Stear (Kuna):

“I do believe in free speech. Even on my social media posts I leave negative comments for others to see.

Only exception would be pornographic materials shared, I would delete.

Our city is upzoned as much as it needs to be. I am not in favor of increasing development when growth is not paying for itself. We have issues with overcrowding in schools as it is. There are needs for commercial growth but our future land map includes that already.

I presented and council confirmed making Kuna a second amendment city.”

Trevor Chadwick (Star):

Are you a free speech absolutist? If not, what would be the exception?

“Yes, I believe political free speech is necessary for improving our republic. Our constitution’s 1st amendment is that of free speech, which we must protect and hold near and dear to our hearts. People need to choose how they use this free speech carefully to make certain their message is heard and not lost in some of the free speech rhetoric we do hear.”

Are you in favor of upzoning your city (provide definition of upzoning)?

“No, I am not in favor of upzoning our city. IN fact, I was able to reduce the available densities in our city over the past 4 years by 40%. This is far different than many municipalities who are upzoning. Upzoning is allowing more density of housing than what was planned or adjusting the plan to allow more densities.”

Do you believe cities should be able to regulate firearms within their boundaries?

“Absolutely not. Under no circumstances should any stance be taken to weaken our amendments to the constitution. I was able to get passed a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary City resolution in July 2020, the first city in Idaho to do so. We believe in our constitution and what the 2nd amendment stands for. In today’s world it is important for citizens of our great country to be able to protect themselves in light of the world challenges we all are facing today.”


If you are an Ada County candidate for municipal office and would like to submit your answers to these questions, please send them to We will update this article with any new responses received.

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Tags: Ada County, Candidate, City, City Council, Election, Firearms, Free Speech, Gun Rights, Idaho, Mayor, Municipal, November 2023, survey, Upzoning

6 thoughts on “Idaho Dispatch Ada County Candidate Questionnaire – City Elections – November 2023

  1. The sorry part is the dumbed down voters keep reelecting the incumbents that raise taxes and steal freedoms and liberties. Our politicians and government employed are a crime gang.

    1. Nope, and I didn’t expect anything from either. You folks in Boise are voting for the classic “lesser of two evils” scenario this time.

  2. Actually, one probably CAN yell fire in a crowded theater, provided no riot results imminently results from it.

    Regrettably, we get this phrase from dictum, that is, an analogy or non-binding statement from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s opinion in the United States Supreme Court case of Schenck v. United States in 1919. That particular case involved opposition to the draft in World War I. It held that the the First Amendment did NOT protect defendant’s speech in opposition to the draft. Well, Vietnam comes along…and everything changed in the 60s.

    The Schenck case was later partially overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969. Brandenburg limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed and likely to incite IMMINENT lawless action.

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