District 10 House candidate Travis Manning issued two news releases about the Caldwell billboard that paired President Obama and James Holmes, who is charged with 12 counts of murder in the Colorado theater shooting.
The electronic billboard near the College of Idaho dropped the message after substantial national attention, but not any sooner than normal. The billboard changed on Thursday. The message typically stays about one week.
Last week, Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas asked the custodians of the message board to change the message. Said Nancolas in a written statement: “It’s a private sign on private property and protected by the First Amendment, but this message crosses the line by politicizing the killing of innocent civilians in a movie theater. These are families that have had their lives shattered in an atrocious horrific way. It crosses over every moral value that I possess.”
Manning, who faces GOP nominee Brandon Hixon for an open seat, issued two news releases on the topic last week. I only received them on Sunday. I have a call into Hixon and will update this posting with any comment he provides.
Both releases follow:
CALDWELL'S SMEED BILLBOARD BRANDS IDAHO AS CLOSE MINDED AND HARMS ECONOMIC GROWTH
CALDWELL, ID, July 31, 2012 -- It is troubling that the Canyon County Republican Party, and my opponent for the Idaho House, Brandon Hixon, have not publicly spoken against the distasteful billboard that has put Caldwell, Idaho, on the map for all the wrong reasons.
I strongly support the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech, but the Smeed Foundation board did a disservice to the City of Caldwell, the Treasure Valley, and to the state of Idaho. The rest of the nation sees Idaho, once again, as closed minded and unintelligent.
The Smeed billboard exploits a national tragedy for political gain and brands Caldwell and Idaho in a negative, insensitive way. The consequences of tarnishing our image are costly. Ask any college recruiter if this image makes it easier to bring new students to school. Ask any mayor if this makes it easier to lure prospective businesses. Ask any existing business if this makes it easier to recruit workers who are needed for highly competitive specialized fields.
The billboard is also disrespectful to the institution of the presidency. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have spanned three presidential terms, and will continue well into a fourth. Nobody wants our troops in harm’s way. But to hijack a national tragedy in the wake of the Colorado movie theater shootings, and compare the perpetrator of mass murder to the president of the United States, is over the top.
Caldwell and the state of Idaho deserve better.
CALDWELL MAYOR GARRET NANCOLAS SHOULD BE COMMENDED;
SECRET IDENTITIES OF SMEED FOUNDATION BOARD NEED FURTHER LIGHT
CALDWELL, ID, August 2, 2012 -- The Manning for Idaho campaign commends Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas for standing up to the Smeed Foundation and their ridiculous billboard.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, a part of the Bill of Rights, allows for freedom of speech and the press; however, this seminal right and privilege must not be misused by extremists in the name of political expediency.
The billboard comparing our U.S. President to the Colorado movie theater shooter was devised in poor taste and meant to sensationalize an entirely separate issue of public policy, that of war overseas.
In his fourth term, Mayor Nancolas truly had the citizens of Caldwell and its businesses in mind when he called out the Smeed Foundation Tuesday for their distasteful billboard posted last week. Unlike Mayor Nancolas and his efforts to maintain a positive reputation for the city of Caldwell, the Smeed Foundation board chose not to use common sense and public decorum in their expression of political speech.
All four of the Smeed Foundation directors responsible for the billboard owe it to the citizens of Caldwell, Idaho, to reveal their clandestine identities and apologize. Further light needs to be shed on the secrecy of this organization. Political speech—presented in a very public way, from unknown individuals, in the dark of night—is a cowardly act.