Boise mayoral candidate: Let’s build a wall to keep Californians out


The LA Times published a story Sunday about the anti-California sentiment that has been brewing in Boise, Idaho. One mayoral candidate has even jokingly suggested building a wall around the state to keep Californians out:

Just consider last week’s mayoral election. It was the most competitive race in recent memory, a referendum on growth in the rapidly expanding capital of Idaho. And candidate Wayne Richey ran on a very simple platform: Stop the California invasion…

At a candidate forum in late October,he had a terse answer for the question: “If you were king or queen for the day, what one thing would you do to improve Boise?”

“A $26-billion wall,” he said, laughing, drawing out each word for maximum emphasis. As in build one. Around Idaho.

Some California transplants warn that if you move to Idaho you’d better get a replacement tag for your car and don’t even think about flying a California flag outside your house:

“If you come here and love it, everything’s fine,” [Rev. Bill] Roscoe said. “If you come here and fly that California flag in your driveway and have stickers on your car that say, ‘Santa Cruz,’ there’s going to be some hard feelings.”

The main objection to Californians isn’t politics, it’s money. The median home price in Boise has gone up nearly 20 percent in the past 18 months, because so many people from out of state are moving there. Idaho and Nevada are now the fastest growing states in the nation as people flee the high taxes, high home prices, and congestion in California.

I did a quick search on Zillow to see what home prices look like there. As a California resident, I can confirm a comparable house in Boise costs about half of what it would in Orange County. That must be pretty tempting to a lot of people who live here.

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Candidate Wayne Richey was never likely to win the election and isn’t one of the two candidates in the runoff set to take place next month. But he did give voice to a growing resentment in the region:

 “It’s really, really hard to swallow,” he said, “when somebody sells their house in California for $700,000, comes here, buys any house they want in cash and still has money in the bank.

“Their kids get to go to college,” he continued. “They drive nice cars. And they get to enjoy everything we built over the years. We don’t get to enjoy it, because we’re working 40 hours a week and doing craft shows and doing yard sales.”

Here’s a local news interview with Richey from August in which he talked about the California invasion: “I don’t care about the parks. I don’t care about the schools if my kids can’t live here,” he said.

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