Guardian Top Stories

Growing To Death Like Cancer

Growing Like Cancer

Idaho is experiencing a growth spurt unequaled since the days of homesteading, free mining claims, free cattle grazing, and water rights.

Guess what? The modern version of those government give aways come in all sorts of “economic incentives” which has local citizens PAYING corporations to move businesses to the Treasure Valley and the rest of the state.

On the face of it growth sounds good. The problem comes when businesses come here to do things they couldn’t do elsewhere. Things like pollute with dairy cattle waste that wouldn’t be allowed in California. Or pay lower wages than California, Washington, and Oregon–or about 90% of the states in the USA. They bring more workers with them which drives up the price of real estate. Nice if you want to sell, but bad if you want to buy.

Politicos love the real estate boom because it means higher tax revenues, but the increase seldom pays for the problems caused by growth.

Some IDAHO FREEBIES listed here.

Here’s a cute little deal, especially if you are tight with the Commerce Director:
Idaho Opportunity Fund
“Does your community need infrastructure improvements to attract or accommodate a new commercial or industrial facility? Funding is allotted at the discretion of the Idaho Commerce director.”

Price Pump Manufacturing Co., an 86-year-old company that has operated in Sonoma County, California for 70 years, bought 6 acres of land in the Sky Ranch Business Center for about $86,000. The area is part of Caldwell’s urban renewal district, so none of the taxes on the planned 40,000 square foot facility will go to Caldwell to pay for police, fire, sewers, etc. Caldwell citizens will have to foot the bill. Caldwell schools will have to make room for new students as well.

Price Pump purchased the land at below market value from the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency in exchange for the company’s investment and job creation opportunities. The company will also receive a property tax exemption for up to 75 percent for five years and a job creation grant of up to $200,000. A reader sent us the fallacy of “job creation” with this CRAIGS LIST post encouraging even more Californians to move to Idaho and experience the “American Dream.”

This scenario plays out weekly through Idaho and it is ruining a lifestyle, culture, and ultimately a society. As a certified GROWTHOPHOBE, the GUARDIAN has long welcomed any company or individual to our state as long as they pay their fair of taxes and don’t come for the welfare benefits. We would never PAY individuals to relocate here, grant them 75% tax exemptions, and claim it is progress to increase the population.

News reports show the median price for homes sold in Ada County during the first quarter of the year was $297,000, while the median price in Canyon County was $201,100, according to a report from the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service. In Sonoma County, the median price in March was $639,000, double the price five years ago.

The City of Meridian pays the new private for-profit Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine $50,000 a year and plans to forgive $100,000 in building fees. They created an urban renewal district out of a cornfield so Gardner Development could build the new Paylocity building which is said to attract 500 new jobs. They will get benefits similar to Price Pump. Meanwhile West Ada Schools will be forced into another expansion funded by existing residents.

While the politicos all crow about Idaho being “business friendly,” they fail to admit the problems they are creating for we citizens. Nampa residents are on the hook for more than $200 million in sewer improvements, Ada County County Highway District has ever increasing demand on the road network, and air quality frequently rivals that of the Los Angeles Basin.

The tired old refrain of “you can’t stop growth” is simply ill informed drivel. Stop paying to increase the population, stop changing zoning master plans to encourage development, and respect those of us who have lived her our entire adult lives.

We realize “things change,” but downtown Boise is looking like “Anywhere USA as the sky and foothills are replaced with bricks and glass.

“Cowboys And Indians” For Guv Race

The pre-season election game is over and now the regular season matches are scheduled for November 6.

It looks like it will be a game of “cowboys and Indians” for the guv seat with Paulette Jordan riding her Democratic pony and Brad Little on his Republican mount. The campaign TV spots should be fun to watch–sort of like the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Russ Fulcher took aim at Dave Leroy and pretty much hit a bulls eye with his mom and a shotgun for props in the Repub 1st Congressional District race.

Look for a summer filled with political maneuvers at the Ada Courthouse. Like Phoenix rising from the ashes, Sharon Ullman is back as the Repub commish candidate after wiping out Dave Case who took her out the last time around.

Repub Jim Tibbs, a Case ally, will face Dem Diana Lachiondo in the general election. He will pretty much be (dare we say it?) “out of commission” barring a miracle. Lachiondo has a war chest with $76,000 and the support of Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, her boss. If either Ullman or Lachiondo win, they are likely to get the support of Commish Rick Visser who has been a low profile member of the board, often at odds with Case and Tibbs according to insiders. On a three member board it takes only two votes to carry the day.

Some Ada Commish Candidates Rake In Cash

How much is an Ada Commish seat worth?

While political watchers have been focused on the primary races for Idaho Guv and Congress, the local yokels have been quietly maneuvering in the Ada County Commish race. The latest campaign reports provide some interesting data.

The GUARDIAN abhors the term “contribution” when it comes to payments to politicians. They are NOT charities. Despite the usual patter, who really believes those who pony up the cash really don’t expect anything in return? As an Idaho politico once told us, “when it comes to quid pro quo, there is no reason for the quo without some quid.”

Incumbent Repub Commish Jim Tibbs has tapped contractors and construction firms for some hefty payments with a total of almost $29,000. Case also has been paid by numerous contractors and businesses to the tune of $28,000 and change. He already had $15,448 in his war chest, bringing his total to just over $44,000.

Sharon Ullman is opposing Case in the Repub primary. She seems to be self finance with about $5,000.

But the real shocker is the Basque lady from Mayor Dave Bieter’s office who has taken payments totaling in excess of $76,000. Most of Demo candidate Diana Lachiondo’s cash comes from individual donors. She will challenge Tibbs if the $76,000 earns her a primary victory.

Take a look at the score cards and feel free to offer any insights:

LACHIONDO

CASE

TIBBS

ULLMAN

KENDRA KENYON

ERIK BERG

TOM MORGAN

Citizens Say Boise Sky Is “No Fly Zone”

UPDATE 5/3/18 The meeting outlined here had the same players and same issues as the one TWO WEEKS AGO. The DAILY PAPER finally attended and we offer a LINK to their coverage.
The U.S. Air Force has scheduled an additional Boise scoping meeting at the Boise Library main auditorium to ensure max participation from the community on Wednesday May 2, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The meeting covered the description of the proposed action and alternatives of a proposed establishment of air and ground training spaces in support of urban close air support proficiency for F-15 Strike Eagle aircrews.

As previously reported the missions would include 35 ground personnel and flights of 2 or 4 F-15 fighters orbiting the city for about 90 minutes per mission.

The Air Force says training in urban centers is critical to the Gunfighter mission as they provide an environment with the same tactical challenges encountered during operations in a deployed environment.

The audience of about 45 citizens were overwhelmingly opposed to using Boise air space for war games.

Alto Via Settlement Is Slippery Slope Of Muddy Facts

When the GUARDIAN heard news reports last week that Boise City officials had entered into a settlement with property owners in the Alto Via subdivision regarding costs of demolition of houses deemed uninhabitable and a danger, we took notice.

What got our attention was the refusal of city officials to reveal how they were spending the public’s money. They had agreed to keep the settlement amount secret, according to news reports. Had the City not attempted to hide their actions from the public, we would not have been alerted, nor questioned the timing of events, or dates on documents.

We filed a public records request April 26 and within an hour received a “ten day letter,” from the city claiming the records would take longer than three days to “locate, retrieve, and review.” That delaying tactic is pretty much standard response from Boise these days.

This time both KTVB-7 and KBOI-2 television stations also filed. Our request was sent on April 26 and to our surprise by April 28 (Friday afternoon) we had the documents. They are typically cumbersome legal tomes, but a close examination raised more questions than were answered.

The 12 page “RELEASE AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT” was dated April 13. Boise City is the “RELEASEE” and the property owners are the “RELEASORS,” as stated in the April 13 document. Boise agreed to pay $257,500 to the releasors. The city also agreed to pay and supervise the demolition and land restoration costs which were outlined in a separate agreement with an Emmett firm. Coincidentally that cost came out to $57,500.

Here is the kicker: The release agreement was dated April 13, but The payment was issued MARCH 15 in response to a MARCH 13 invoice. In fairness, it is POSSIBLE the month on the check is in error, but the check number and subsequent checks would also have to be in error if that is true. We will gladly post a response from the City.

Several points in the agreement defy credibility. Item 8 states “…that payment made is voluntary and is not to be considered as an admission of liability on the part of Parties released. In making this settlement, the Parties intends merely to avoid litigation, specifically avoid the cost of defending this litigation further, and buy their peace.” Sadly, while it may sound absurd to pay, but not admit liability, it may be cheaper. It also is an easy way to sweep guilt (liability) under the rug.

Item 9 has Boise officials and the plaintiffs agreeing to hide their actions from public view as much as possible. “except as otherwise required by the Idaho Public Records Act or other applicable law, this Agreement, its terms and conditions, and the fact that a release and indemnity agreement was entered into by the Releasors in favor of Releasee, are confidential and this confidentiality will, at all times, be honored.”

The DOCUMENTS:Alto Via release4

SFB 18-237 Executed Contract

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Device

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