Guardian Top Stories

Council Defers $100K For F-35 PR Deal

Boise’s City Council deferred action on funding a PR campaign toy get the F-35 fighter jet based in Boise.

Prior to the 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting the GUARDIAN learned the proposed resolution to spend up to $100,000 with a Washington, D.C. firm to attract the F-35 fighter to Boise had been put off until April 4.

We talked to a City Councilor who told the GUARDIAN, “We needed to get more information.” Kudos to the council for deferring the request and seeking more details.

In the interest of citizen assistance, we offer the following information from the MANTA website:
“Kiley & Associates, LLC is a privately held company in Washington, DC and is a Single Location business. Categorized under Business Management Consultants. Our records show it was established in 2009 and incorporated in District of Columbia. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $260,000 and employs a staff of approximately 1.” The same info appears on multiple websites.

The councilor was evasive when we asked about spending $100K for an ad agency. The councilor said it was not an ad agency. We said, “OK, a PR firm.” The councilor said it wasn’t a PR firm (and they needed to get more information before approving the Mayor’s request to make a $100,000 payment to Gregory Kiley who appears –at least on internet sites– to be a one man band with no “associates”).

We applaud the council for NOT approving the expenditure of $100,000 to attract the F-35. It crossed our mind that there is a major problem in one or both of the following rhetorical questions:

–Would the United States Air Force actually decide to base the F-35 in Boise using information provided by a one man ad agent-PR guy-lobbyist-consult?

–If the answer is NO, then wouldn’t it be foolish or at least suspect for the City to spend $100,000 hoping to use public relations to influence the defense of our nation?

See the Attachment-12336.

Boise City Ignores Citizens, Seeks $100,000 For F-35 Media Campaign

Ignoring the purchasing rules, Boise’s Team Dave has proposed an immediate approval of a $100,000 expenditure for a Washington, D.C. Public Relations firm to manipulate public sentiment in favor of the F-35 being based in Boise.

The resolution, to be voted upon at Tuesday’s council meeting, says in part:
“Section 2. That the Purchasing Regulations (BOM Reg. 8.04c(II)(D)(1)-(2) and Reg. 8.04d(II)(A)-(B)), limiting departmental purchasing discretion for professional service contracts to under $100,000 is hereby waived.”

Gov. Butch Otter has already taken $100,000 in citizen cash from the state coffers, now Mayor Dave Bieter wants to add another $100,000 to the pot.

According to Sven Berg at the IDAHO STATESMAN, Bieter and Otter are soon headed to Washington to make their case to have Boise be selected as the base for about 18 F-35 fighter jets.

There has been massive public opposition to the F-35 at various open houses and meetings regarding the noisy jets. The GUARDIAN has attended many of the meetings and hosted numerous comments on the blog. The general mood of those commenting is support of the Air Force, Air Guard, national defense, motherhood, and the nation. Most people seem to think the military should base the loud, fast, deadly aircraft at Mountain Home Air Force Base instead of at the busiest airport in the state amidst the most densely populated community between Salt Lake City and Seattle.

With the Mayor and Governor working hand in glove with the chamber of commerce to toss the views of taxpaying citizens under the bus, there is little chance of the voice of the masses being heard in Washington. There is little chance they will direct the “deciders” to the many posts on the GUARDIAN.

To rub salt in the wound of those opposed to the noise and air pollution, they are using the citizen’s own cash to defeat them.

Ada Taxpayers Could Take Hit In HP Deal

While it makes sense to consolidate State of Idaho offices in a single campus, Ada and Boise taxpayers will take a hit of at least $1.5 million per year in lost tax revenue currently paid by Hewlett

HP built the 92-acre HP campus at 11311 W. Chinden Boulevard beginning in 1980.

Current state code has no mechanism to charge property tax on government-owned property–even if it is used for commercial purposes. That little wrinkle was one of the factors prompting the land board to sell more than 20 rental parcels in downtown Boise, including Ten Barrel Brewing on Bannock.

The state ran out of space when St. Luke’s Regional medical center bought the old Morrison-Knudsen Plaza at Broadway and Park Blvd. where the Tax Commission was housed along with Fish and Game. Again, another hit for taxpayers because the hospital is a non-profit and pays no property taxes.

With the government, CCDC, and hospitals owning everything it won’t be long before most of the land in the city will not produce any revenue.

Not Just Noise, F-35 Health Is In The Air

By Denise Seigart
PhD, MS, RN, Wharton Fellow
Resident of East Boise

I believe the current debate regarding the placement of F35s here in Boise is focused on the wrong issue. The noise created by these jets will indeed be intolerable and damaging to physical and mental health, but I believe this is the least of the effects we in the Boise Valley will suffer. The air pollution created by F35s will be far more damaging to the health of our citizens than the noise. According to the 2012 environmental report produced for the Boise area, F-35s can annually release these additional pollutants into the Ada County air:
F-35 emissions
-1.63 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds
-161.82 tons of Carbon Monoxide
-129.50 tons of Nitrous Oxide
-13.26 tons of Sulfur Dioxide
-3.26 tons of large particulates
-3.16 tons of small particulates
-48,725 tons of carbon dioxide

This will vary of course by the number of planes actually placed in Boise and the numbers of flights, but it is likely the pollution caused will be well above what we experience now based on existing plane traffic. While the environmental impacts are often measured on a regional scale, I think we need to ask what the local effects of these pollutants pouring into the Boise Valley will be.

Given the inversions and wildfire smoke we suffer each year, and given that Idaho in general is ranked one of the States with the poorest air quality in the nation (United Health Foundation; 2015), I find it remarkable that we are being considered at all. Atlantic County, NJ was being considered for placement of F35s, but their poor air quality was partially responsible for their rejection. I believe we can make the same argument here. As noted in a Burlington Vermont report;
“Three key pollutants in jet exhaust that are widely recognized as having a major impact on health, contributing to cancer and respiratory disease, are not addressed in the DEIS: Black carbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and ultrafine particles. The UCLA Medical Center study of Santa Monica Airport and EPA study of TF Green Airport in Rhode Island demonstrate the critical significance of local measurement of these pollutants in assessing the impact of airport operations.” (Endangered Health, 2013, p.12)

Boise State recently hosted Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, PhD, as a guest speaker, who also outlined the very damaging effects of these pollutants in the air.

Air pollution complex mixture exposures…. of children and teens in natural settings are characterized by early dysregulated systemic, brain, and intrathecal inflammation; production of potent vasoconstrictors and autoantibodies to key neural proteins; and perturbations in the integrity of the neurovascular unit and the nasal, olfactory, gastrointestinal, and alveolar-capillary barriers. In highly exposed children, the accumulation of misfolded hyperphosphorylated τ, α-synuclein, and β-amyloid coincides with the anatomical distribution observed in the early stages of both Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. (Calderon-Garciduenas, Torres-Jardon, 2015)

Given the poor air quality we often have in Boise, due to the inversions and wildfires (which will likely only increase in the future), I do not believe we can accept any more pollutants into our air. The health of our population, and in particular our children, is at stake. The research connecting damaging health effects with air pollution is vast, and we need to stop sacrificing the health of our communities for financial gain. And for those of you who think only those who live near the airport will be affected, think again, it will depend on how the wind blows, how many wildfires there are, and how many inversions we have. The entire Boise area is at risk.

Say no to F35s, save our children’s lives.

Political Decisions Costly To Taxpayers

Tuesday was a costly day for Ada County taxpayers. Democracy is a neat concept, but it isn’t free.

The school bond elections were well run political campaigns and despite claims to the contrary, taxes will go up. The RATE may not increase, but the $172 million for school facilities doesn’t just appear by magic.

While the elections were wins for the schools, the manner in which they won is the focus of a bill in the Idaho house aimed at preventing any agency (including schools) from spending tax money to influence an election in which the agency will benefit.

Then there is the costly lawsuit in which Rich Wright won $1.7 million in a “whistleblower” suit against Ada Commishes Jim Tibbs and Dave Case. The commishes have also cost taxpayers nearly $200,000 in legal fees.

They fired Wright four years ago, the day they took office. Wright was the head of county Administration under the Sharon Ullman and Fred Tilman era. A 4th District jury made the award after after the Idaho Supremes sent the case back to the district court.

Wright had claimed he was fired as recrimination for dismissing a former employee who was a friend of former Commish Vern

Lest we forget, one of the factors that led to the defeat Ullman was a contract she had entered into with Dynamis in an ill-fated “trash to energy” scheme. Tibbs and Case paid off a multi million dollar claim to Dynamis soon after they took office, saying it was cheaper than a prolonged legal battle.

That may have been a good move in the Wright case as well.

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