LATEST NEWS

NENA Member Vote Goes to Court

Here is the Press Release from North End Neighborhood Association (NENA) members who have just filed a petition seeking a Court Order that would lead to a new election for the NENA Board of Directors. 

There has been a nearly year long controversy embroiling the neighborhood in the wake of a contested October 2020 Board election. Following procedures in NENA Bylaws and the Idaho Non-profit law, NENA members took steps necessary to hold a special membership meeting to vote on Removal of five Board Directors.

Nearly 800 neighborhood residents participated, and all five Board members were Removed by a democratic vote.  Four of the five were Removed by a 90% vote. They have refused to vacate their Board seats.

The petition asks the court to declare that the membership vote was valid, order the Recalled (or “Holdover”) Board Directors to vacate their board seats, and that a new Board election be held so NENA can have a functioning Board.

250+ Petitions Delivered – How You Can Help Now

PETITION DELIVERED: On Wednesday, May 19, copies of the petition to hold a 15-seat NENA Board Election with over 250 verified neighbor signatures were delivered to NENA’s attorney, Brit Kreimeyer, at her office, and to removed Vice President/Acting President Sarah Foregger. 

Ms. Kreimeyer refused to accept the petition signed by over 250 NENA members. Her copy was left at her office despite her refusal. Sarah Foregger did not answer her door, so the petition was left on her doorstep and was not picked up for days. 

An electronic copy of the signatures was also delivered via email to all removed directors and to Ms. Kreimeyer, so there is no question about delivery and receipt. 

WHAT’S NEXT: It appears that the R5 will continue their previous method of “dealing” with the 700 North Enders who voted for their removal by ignoring us and hoping we go away. Although we have made efforts to reach out and engage with the R5 to hold a special election for the 15 open board seats, including having pro bono legal counsel reach out to Ms. Kreimeyer on behalf of the membership, all avenues so far have been dead ends. 

We hope that the R5 will honor the petition to hold a special election. Unfortunately, if they refuse, this means that the next step may be to ask a court to order the election. While this is an admittedly slow process, your support is more important than ever. 

We will continue to provide updates as information is available to share, and questions are always welcome!

HOW YOU CAN HELP: The agenda for the May monthly meeting is now posted on the NENA website. It was posted after the petition requesting a special election signed by over 250 neighbors was hand-delivered to Sarah Foregger and electronically to all the removed directors. Yet, consistent with the R5’s pattern of ignoring neighbors’ voices and concerns, the agenda fails to include any item to discuss – or even acknowledge – the petition. Don’t let your voices go unheard yet again.

Significantly, the agenda also reflects Sarah Foregger presenting the Treasurer’s Report, so she is essentially acting as President, Vice President, and Treasurer of NENA, and her brother, Daniel Foregger, holds the only remaining office of Secretary. 

Please email board@northendboise.org (and cc nena.members@gmail.com) and demand that the R5 acknowledge they received the petition and that the petition be added as an agenda item, or email them with any specific concerns you may have regarding NENA.  

Thank you for your continued support!

Legal and Petition Processes Continue

We have been engaged through legal counsel with Brit Kreimeyer, the attorney representing the NENA board. In the interest of working together on an election, we asked the Removed Five (R5) to halt their plan to appoint new board members during the board meeting held on April 27, 2021, and the R5 did not appoint new directors at this meeting.  We appreciate this change as an expression of good faith by the R5. 

We hope that the R5 will schedule a special election to elect all of the NENA board members, as we have requested. In support of our request, we have collected over 200 signatures from neighbors on a petition requesting a special meeting to hold an election of all board members. Those NENA members elected in a special meeting vote will have the legitimate support of the majority of the membership, including any of the R5 if they choose to run for an open seat. 

We further hope that the R5 will announce their intention to work collaboratively with NENA members to plan and set a date for a special election for all 15 open Board seats.  

We are still collecting signatures for the petition for a 15-seat election. If you still have not signed the petition and would like to do so, you have two options to sign:

(1)   IN-PERSON: The petition is available to sign in-person at:

  • Franklin House Backyard, located at 1502 Franklin Street (on the corner of 15th and Franklin Street), Wednesday through Saturday between 5 and 10 pm.  https://www.franklinhouseboise.com 
  • Jill Giese & Associates, located at 1606 Hays Street (at the end of Harrison), Monday through Friday between 11 am and 6 pm. https://www.jillgiese.com

(2)   ELECTRONICALLY: Please mailto:nena.members@gmail.com and state you would like to sign via DocuSign, and we will email you the petition to sign. 

We look forward to sending an update soon, with a firm election date, procedures for becoming a candidate, and candidate details to inform your vote. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please let us know.

The Rebuilding of NENA Begins – Please Join In!

After an overwhelming positive response to the latest email update and call to action, a new petition is being launched – to call a special meeting, elect a new board, and rebuild NENA together! A table was set up at Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park, on April 22, 2021 and a steady stream of neighbors stopped in to sign the petition.

You can still sign the petition and help put NENA back on the rails:

  1. ELECTRONIC: mailto:nena.members@gmail.com and say you would like to sign electronically. Someone will send you the petition via DocuSign.
  2. IN-PERSONstop by anytime from 10 am to 4 pm TODAY (4/23) at Jill Giese & Associates, 1606 W. Hays, to sign the petition on paper. Call or text 208.327.2127 to make sure someone is there

Look Ma’ – No Board!

And then there were none. Tonight’s NENA meeting ran nearly four hours, in part because the people running it decided to make over 120 neighbors sit (muted) through two hours of rudderless procedural theater, before allowing them to comment on THE central issue: the matter of the member vote that effectively recalled five sitting directors.

Ninety percent of almost 800 verified members voted to remove them, but based on their agenda of minor issues, they yet hadn’t gotten the message. By the end of the meeting, they’d lost two more important votes, as board veteran Anne Hausrath and newly elected director Chrystal Allen both resigned their seats. Others resigned from key committees, like recruitment and historic preservation.

Eventually, comments and questions went on for almost two hours, with most neighbors asking the same basic question, each in their own way: “When so many have voted against you, stepped back from working with you, and asked you to leave… why do you insist on staying?” Mostly, the answers given seemed to look back and blame someone else, especially past board members and volunteers.

Some commenters implored the recalled five directors to step aside. Others drew distinctions between what’s technically allowed and what’s necessary to be good neighbors. There was talk about looking forward, the backlog of important work and issues piling up, and provisions in the bylaws for emergency situations, like when there are suddenly no credible board members remaining.

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Probably the biggest eyebrow raiser of the night was Sarah Foregger trying to explain why it was okay that she personally fronted some of the money for the legal “expert” the board has relied on to invalidate the member petition and vote. Call it “a donation to NENA” she says, of her generously fronting some of the money for the out-of-town lawyer who says she can keep her board seat. (Uh… thanks, but no thanks?) And, why does his vote count (and cost!) more than hundreds of member neighbors?

The full video should be posted in a day or two on the NENA website, and linked here.

Member Vote Results – Vast Majority of Large Turnout Supports Recall of Five NENA Board Members

Press release, 3/22. Click to view/download.

This post reports everything you need to know about the voting results from the NENA Member Vote last Thursday (3/18). See previous posts (scroll down) and the main Member Vote page for more about why the vote was needed and how the vote was conducted, secured, counted and fully documented in objective, tamper-proof tools like Google forms and Zoom recording.

A complete review of the online verification process was conducted Friday night (3/19), confirming that every vote was cast by a unique, verified NENA member. Then the entire process of unsealing and counting paper ballots was fully documented on live Zoom video, with dozens of neighbors signing on to watch the process. See below for online validation counts. Click here to watch almost 3 hours of counting and filming each individual paper ballot.

Now What?

On Monday morning (3/22), the results of the vote were delivered to NENA’s newly-hired attorney, whose work serves all NENA members, asking her to advise the board of the vote’s implications. Click here to read that letter.

NENA’s bylaws (Article V, ¶ 4) require, “Actions taken by the Board should represent the majority sentiments of the general membership of NENA.” NENA’s two remaining directors now have a responsibility to members to remove the recalled directors from NENA board business and recover any NENA property and accounts access they might have. The removed directors can no longer claim the trust or support of a majority of members and must now step aside.

Who Voted in Thursday’s Member Vote vs. the October Election?

How many voted to recall five NENA board members?

More about Attendance, Verified Members, and Valid Ballot Counts

See the posts below for more about the legal validity of this process and other aspects of how it was organized and conducted…

Watch the Counting LIVE – Saturday 3/20 at 9am (until it’s done)

On Saturday morning, Member Vote organizers will unseal the ballot box, count the paper ballots, and tally the votes for recall of five sitting NENA board members. Monitor this process live, if you want, via Zoom video.

Click here to join Zoom and monitor the unsealing and counting of paper ballots – COMPLETED

Watch the recording of whole counting process, witnessed live by dozens of people.

Simultaneously, other volunteers will be reviewing the online registration video, double-checking names and addresses against those submitted with online ballots. We hope to be able to announce the combined vote counts by the end of the day.

NENA Members Vote in Crowd – Masked, Distanced at Sun Ray Cafe and Online via Zoom

Hundreds of NENA members cast ballots yesterday (3/18), online and in person, on the recall of five current NENA board members. Vote organizers, like many other neighbors, are looking after jobs and kids and other things today. All the paper ballots are still sealed in the ballot box. The online ballots are secured by Google. The necessary steps to properly unseal, tally and document the results are being taken, with an abundance of care. We expect results will be reported at some point this weekend. Interim updates will be posted here, as they become available. Thank you for your patience!

Here’s what we have seen and learned so far:

A Legal Vote

The vote was organized by dozens of NENA members and volunteers, who submitted to the NENA board, in early January, a petition with at least 134 verified member signatures, requesting a vote on the recall. That request was eventually and improperly dismissed by the current board. In such a situation, Idaho non-profit law and NENA’s bylaws allow for members to organize a meeting and hold the vote.

Proper Notice

The meeting called on March 18th for the purpose of voting on the removal of five board members was properly noticed. Written notice was delivered to 5200 North End residences and businesses, 10+ days before the vote. It was noticed in the Idaho Statesman, social media channels, this website, emails and on posters all over the neighborhood.

Online and In-person Crowds

Hundreds of North End neighbors turned out, between 4pm and 8pm on March 18th, and cast thousands of individual votes on the five separate removal questions (one for each of the five board members being considered). Via Zoom and on the patio at Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park, neighbors turned out and patiently waited their turn to sign in and vote. There was a steady stream of neighbors at both locations, for the full four hours. Thanks to Boise PD for monitoring, since nobody knew what to expect.

Quorum Established and Maintained

A quorum of 25 members was established and maintained, to meet requirements in the bylaws. The quorum was established across the two meeting sites, which were linked by Zoom video, before any votes were recorded. Throughout the four hours, online participants numbered 50-70 participants. A steady crowd of in-person voters streamed through the Sun Ray site. Also worth noting, a few voters had to be turned away when they couldn’t wait until the quorum was established, showed up right after we’d adjourned, or tried to vote the day after by email.

Verified and Documented Eligible Voters

Every voter’s eligibility was established by a combination of measures. Pursuant to the requirements in NENA’s bylaws, neighbors were required to show ID and/or other proof of address, and in some cases sign an affidavit attesting to their address (as is done in government elections), in order to meet the boundary and age requirements in the bylaws. Online, every voter showed their face on live video, spoke their name and address, and showed their ID on camera (up close so we could verify addresses). The online ballot contained an affidavit where voters declared, under penalty of perjury, that they were providing accurate information and understood that to do otherwise is a felony. Every voter gave written consent and asked to be included as an eligible voting member of NENA, to meet the requirements of Idaho law and NENA’s bylaws.

Data Security and Documentation

The entire voting process has been secured and documented. Online, the entire Zoom session was recorded. That video of people and IDs will not be made public, but it’s available for review by authorities, if needed. Once signed in, online voters proceeded to a Google form ballot, similar to the October election, where their information, attestation, and specific votes were submitted directly to Google, where the History function clearly shows no changes have been made to that data. At Sun Ray, all paper ballots went into a sealed ballot box, monitored by a member of the Idaho State Bar, and those handling paper ballots will be signing, under penalty of perjury, that they have conducted that counting properly.

Counting the Votes

The online votes have been given a first review. A small number of obvious duplicate votes have been set aside (without altering the original voting data spreadsheet). A few addresses need to be verified (property owners vs. residents, in most cases). The video of IDs needs to be reviewed and checked against the timestamped votes, to confirm everyone’s votes. This process is more rigorous than what was done in October’s board election.

For the in-person, paper ballots, the sealed ballot box will be unsealed, the ballots counted, and the votes tallied on recorded video. Members of the current board have been invited to attend that video session, so they can secure the counting for themselves. The paper counting process can only happen as quickly as the organizers and the current board can schedule that session. For now the box remains sealed, as shown at the end of the Zoom video recording. The unsealing and counting will be shown live and recorded on Zoom.

An Abundance of Care

We have seen an unprecedented turnout, from all across the neighborhood. Obviously many many neighbors really care about what is happening. The organizers of this vote have deep experience in the neighborhood and as NENA volunteers over many years, and are taking every possible step to conduct things as carefully, securely, transparently as possible, documenting the process, even though that makes it take longer. Meanwhile, they are also out cleaning up the neighborhood, taking down the Vote posters – and taking care of jobs, kids, and the rest of life. Updates will be posted here as soon as possible, sometime over the weekend.

NENA MEMBER VOTE TO RECALL FIVE BOARD MEMBERS
TODAY – THURSDAY MARCH 18th – 4pm to 8pm

Learn more about why this is happening: Read all about NENA Member Recall Vote and the NENA board response

Vote online via Zoomeveryone will be required to show up on live video to provide their name, address and ID. THEN you will proceed to the online ballot form. You can Zoom/Vote by phone if you like, but NOT by dialing in audio only.

Click here to join the Zoom session and get the online ballot
ADJOURNED 8:15pm

Vote in-person at Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park – masks and social distancing will be required. Remember to bring your ID.

Other questions or need help voting? Send an email to nena-member-vote@northendalliance.org or call 208.590.7447.

NENA Punts at Historic Preservation Meeting

NENA Board Member Carlos Coto missed a chance to stand up for NENA’s members and for historic preservation in the North End at yesterday’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting. Meeting video here, Coto at 1:13.

In his testimony on behalf of NENA, Coto said: “We agree with the staff report. The report says that the house is a non-contributing structure. It doesn’t matter how much we like it, it’s a non-contributing structure….We believe….the homeowner has every right to alter it. The homeowner has gone above and beyond, moving the canal…the neighbor has gone above and beyond and should not be penalized….”

BUT… The “non-contributing” status is based on a survey from 1978, before historic guidelines were in place. This homeowner had 10 trees removed to accommodate a new structure, with no permit. A nearby neighbor testified that the house is not “dilapidated” as stipulated by the owner.

It’s not clear if or how Coto engaged neighbors before this meeting or how their views were incorporated in his testimony. Long-time observers had expressed concerns in social media. Others were talking afterward.

Coto’s support for owner rights was surprising based on his own vocal opposition to owner rights in the recent TRICA and Franklin House questions. TRICA happens to be across the street from his own home.

Trees cleared without a permit. Canal shift proposed.

Read the Plan: A History of Self-Organization!

The first draft of the North End Neighborhood Plan is out now for your review and survey commenting until March 19. It’ll help drive the things you’ll celebrate or complain about for years to come..

This story from its 30-page history section is a timely testament to what we’re showcasing here at northendalliance.org: self-organization!

…Under the headline, “Park Proposal is Laid Before the Council,” the newspaper in May 1914 reported that 57 property owners had asked the city council “to secure for a park a two-block tract of land” situated in Elm Grove addition. They pointed out that three-fourths of the property “is covered with elm trees at the present time.”

A year before, the city had rejected an offer to buy the park for $10,000, but since then land sales and prices had been falling, so now might be a better time. Walter Pierce, whose syndicate had platted the subdivision, evidently intended these two blocks for a park, as he had provided toilets, swings, benches, and fencing–and planted the trees. The city council put the matter away to study, but the price must not have been sweet enough.

Nevertheless, a few weeks later, a social note in the paper said that the Ladies Aid of Emmanuel Methodist church were having their picnic “in Elm Grove” on Wednesday afternoon. It was a park. Another women’s group, the Women’s Relief Corps of the GAR, formally opened the park with a picnic in July 1915. The city purchased the land in 1920 and then annexed the two blocks into the city limits in 1922.

It is a good place for picnics. And so it went. A tradition of neighbors acting together was by no means restricted to the city’s north additions, and the practice of organizing neighbors to get something accomplished persisted into the next two centuries.