A response to the David Carlile letter

| October 22, 2020 11:57 AM

Mr. Carlile has listed his facts accurately. The difference is my opinion of what is at stake.

Mr. Carlisle made some errors in assumptions regarding my research or that I had no clue. I served from 2000 to 2012 as a Shoshone County Commissioner during which time I had regular contact with state legislators.

Idaho, for most of its life and mine, had representation in the Legislature from each of our counties.

A county is statutorily described in our constitution as “a legal subdivision of this state.” This is a critical distinction for a democratic republic.

Democracies had been regularly created in the course of governing, only to fail when they regressed into mob rule. The republic was formed to protect the desired individual freedom for the less populated rural areas. In the course of history, large cities always dominated the rural areas and eventually controlled them with military power.

This design was vigorously debated and decided in the 1700s as necessary for a democratic republic. The original language in our State Constitution was written similarly for the same reason. The republic portion of our democratic republic was designed to protect the rights of the minority rural population. It was one of the primary cornerstones of our United States Constitution.

I believe this is a critical component of our structure of both state and federal government and that Idaho was wrong to convert our representation from 44 counties to 35 legislative districts. This action, as was feared at the time, has taken away the representation of many rural counties. As this amendment is ratified, rural counties will continue indefinitely to lose more and more as our urban population grows and rural counties cannot keep pace.

It is my belief that this HJR 4 amendment is being deceptively promoted as a protection for smaller counties to deter any further reduction in our representation.

“You should support this or it could be worse for you.”

I don’t like this threatening approach, I don’t like the quiet way it was presented to sneak it through quietly, and I believe if we vote yes, it will be buried for a long time and our rural voice will just continue to shrink.

I attended a meeting earlier this week with our representative to the Idaho House of Representatives, who was interestingly one of the few members to oppose this amendment.

She is running unopposed for reelection and she lives in our district, District 7. She lives in White Bird, Idaho. She said it was a 4 1/2-hour drive. She didn’t mention that she had to exit the district for more than 100 miles before reentering the district. Most people agree that it is the worst district geographically in the state.

I believe it has always been an illegal district and should have been challenged legally. The response I have been given is that “it is too bad, but there is really nothing we can do about it.”

Yes there is.

Idaho as a small rural state has two United States senators and two Congressmen. Both Washington and Oregon are dominated by Seattle and Portland.

We are heading in the same direction.

No one in our state Legislature would support a federal decision to combine Idaho, and Montana, and Wyoming and give this new district representation for one Federal Legislative District. We now do the same thing to fellow Idahoans.

When our country was finally formally created, Benjamin Franklin was reportedly asked by a fellow citizen, “What kind of government did we get?” To which Franklin replied “A republic, if we can keep it.“

To fight for this protection at the federal level and then to deny the same protection to our less populated rural counties is hypocritical and wrong. We should do what is right, not what is convenient. I still believe that we must DEFEAT THIS AMENDMENT NOW and begin in January to work positively with the Legislature to return Idaho to a Representative Democratic Republic.

If it passes now, we will not get the Legislature to listen to our concerns and revisit this. The explanation in the voter’s pamphlet is deceptive — deliberately I think.

I close with the same words I used last time. I am hoping I have cleared up my arguments for Mr. Carlile and that he will join us in voting NO.

It is too late to call our Legislators. It is too late to hold public meetings. Pass this information immediately to everyone you know. On the street, on the phone, on any and all forms of social media. JUST VOTE NO on Nov. 3 and then work with me in January to restore our constitution to properly represent the freedom we all proclaim.

JON CANTAMESSA

Wallace