Guardian Top Stories

State Sells Tax-Exempt Businesses, Locals Regain $300,000 Annual Lost Revenues

At a public auction Friday the Idaho Land Board sold state-owned commercial real estate holdings in the Boise area valued at $17.3 million.
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Apart from the ethical issue of competing with private enterprise in tax-exempt government own structures, The GUARDIAN was concerned about the loss of local tax revenues. At the current combined rate for schools, city, county, highways, etc. citizens were missing out on revenues of nearly $300,000 a year–in perpetuity!

The sale was the culmination of a campaign by a loose knit group known as the Tax Payers Accountability Committee–TAC. After the GUARDIAN broke the story back in 2010 that Idaho officials were running a private storage business, TAC formed with the goal of getting the state out of private business.

Officials–some still land board members–defended the practice, even going so far as claiming the Idaho Constitution “mandated” they invest in commercial real estate to get the highest return on endowment funds for education. They were either wrong then or are now violating the constitution. Doubtful if any of them will concede in either case.

Boise High Football Coach Victim of Academics

Boise High football coach Bob Clark resigned Friday “to pursue other interests,” according to the Boise School District. Clark ended his career with a 26-92 record.

The GUARDIAN spoke with a Boise fan who is also a friend of Clark’s. He defended the coach and explained, “They will never have a good team there. All those kids are interested in is academics.”

CWI Bond Try Paid Big $$$ To Local Media

College of Western Idaho Paid $370,000 to consultants and local media outlets in the campaign to pass the $180 million bond which failed to pass November 8.

The IDAHO FREEDOM FOUNDATION did a great job of tracking down the financial details which they revealed this week. The RECORDS request revealed a pattern of unseemly spending which the GUARDIAN feels violated the Public Purpose Doctrine outlined in many lawsuits over government spending to influence the outcome of an election.

Here is a link to the COMPLETE STORY at IFF.

Boise Council Knows Better Than Fed Experts

Once again Boise City Councilors have continued the policy of “we know better.” This time it is with the Government of the United States of America’s flood experts.

Seems the Feds have redrawn the flood plain map along the Boise river to include additional acres of land subject to a “100 year flood.” That term means there is a 1% chance of a flood each year. STATESMAN reporter Sven Berg has a big take on the issue in Thursday’s paper.
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At issue is flood insurance–issued by the Feds for homes along the river. They will not issue the insurance within the zone unless the structures meet certain grade requirements. Lenders will not loan money without the insurance. Of course, the big elephant in the room is developers who stand to lose out on potential huge sums of cash for construction of subdivisions. The developments would be all along the river, not just within the city of Boise.

To make their case, Boise Councilors authorized their own study not to exceed $25,000. The City is at odds with the Feds and since the expenditure is under $25,000 there is no need to get bids, hence the study contract can go to whomever the city selects along with what we suggest will be a pre-determined outcome.

One factor no one has mentioned is the giant “sponge” north of the river–mainly the foothills–that has been effectively “wrapped in plastic film” through rooftops, driveways, and street surfaces…the only place for runoff to go is the river. So despite the Lucky Peak Dam, there is a risk, however slight, of flooding in lowland areas.

Regardless of how one feels about the Feds and FEMA, it seems absurd that a $25,000 study by Boise would be scientifically more accurate than that of the U.S. Government. AND, we get to pay twice.

These political negotiations over scientific data are nothing new. Here is what we posted in the GUARDIAN 10 years ago.

Boise Council Continues Urban Sprawl Policy

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Boise City Councilors continued the policy of “urban sprawl” Tuesday night when they ignored dozens of citizen’s concerns and approved a massive 2,000 home development south of the airport.

Syringa Valley–which has no syringas or valley–will be nearly adjacent to a planned third runway at the airport which is already subject of citizen outrage due to fears of excessive noise from high performance fighter jets city officials wish to see based in Boise. Those who testified Tuesday cited issues with traffic and infrastructure.

In anticipation of the development, Boise Schools previously acquired land in the area to expand the size of the school system which will require, in part, additional funding through a massive $172,000,000 bond proposal scheduled for a 2017 election. They already are planning another school in the Harris Ranch area in the east part of the city due to development there.

While developer CBH Homes is supposed to pay for some road extensions, we have only to look at how the Harris Ranch bridge deal with the Ada County Highway District got amended and twisted to see how certain the ADVANCE road structure will be handled.

Apart from the growthophobe complaints, there is the issue of the city council unanimously thumbing its collective nose at the citizens. The attitude of “we know best,” only lends more support for the “Trump Movement.” That movement could just as easily have been a “Bernie Movement” because folks are tired of status quo at ALL levels of government–just ask the Brits who voted to exit the European Union.

Once again, former BSU football coach Dan Hawkins’ admonition applies: “Bigger isn’t better. Better is better.”

The Boise Guardian

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