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Posted 27 Aug 2001   For week ended August 17, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 22Aug01

By Mark Wright

LDS Boise Mayor Facing Election Threat After Puzzling Behavior

BOISE, IDAHO -- Prior to last week and by most accounts, Boise Mayor Brent Coles appeared to be a shoo-in to win his third consecutive term in the upcoming November municipal elections. Coles has been serving as Mayor of Boise and the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a prestigious position that has brought recognition to both Coles and Boise. In addition, Coles has had a high approval from his constituents based on his ability to set policy and win consensus for his programs.

So why is Coles suddenly looking over his shoulder? What potential opponent could be closing in on Coles and threatening his re-election? The answer, while obvious, is also somewhat surprising. As is sometimes the case with successful politicians, Coles has turned out to be his own worst enemy. One early morning last week, Coles was spotted in front of someone else's home in a parked car at 4:30 in the morning. While this is certainly no crime, Coles' response to the sheriff's sergeant who investigated the incident was about as bad as they come.

At first, Coles claimed he was merely helping his son deliver newspapers but quickly recanted this explanation and changed his story, saying he was an insomniac and was driving around because he couldn't sleep. That's not the worst part. Apparently, Coles car was parked in front of Suzanne Burton's home. While that's not a crime either, apparently, Burton is Coles' official spokeswoman and the coincidence is a little hard to ignore. So, Coles' political opponents have started asking the obvious questions. Was Coles lying about anything else? Why was Coles lying? Is he trying to cover something up? While no one's answering but Coles, you can bet inquiring minds want to know.

Now, with the election just a few months away, Coles has potential opponents coming out of the proverbial woodwork. A local endocrinologist has declared for the race and a half dozen other candidates are preparing the papers to enter the fray. While the emergence of all of these opponents may be problematic, retired Chief of Police and novice political analyst Vern Bisterfeldt thinks the increase in the number of candidates actually helps Coles. Bisterfeldt maintains that if the field is crowded with choices, Coles will win. "A one-on-one race with a credible candidate could really damage him, but if you get more than two people, he's got it because he's got a base that's gonna stick with him."

As for Coles, his comments on the incident are less than forthcoming. "I know where I'm at, of course I do, and the officer pulls up, and I make up an excuse," he said. "I know immediately that some people are going to have fun with where I am and what I'm doing. And they've had fun." Now matter how this incident finally gets resolved, it's seems to be another indication that some politicians still don't get the message.

While Coles is described in the source article as being a "Latter-day Saint," most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would have more than a little trouble reconciling his reported behavior with the teachings of the LDS Church.


Mayor's nocturnal fib complicates re-election bid
Boise Idaho Statesman 12Aug01 T2
By Dan Popkey

Coles completes journey as head of national group
Boise ID Statesman 26Jun01 T2
By Wayne Hoffman: The Idaho Statesman
1-year term ends; Boise mayor says it was worthwhile

Coles admits lying to sheriff's deputy
Boise ID Statesman 20Jun01 T2
By Wayne Hoffman: The Idaho Statesman
Mayor found outside aide's home at 4:21 a.m.


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