Guardian Top Stories

Boise Seeks To Make Public Land Available To Speculator

In an effort to feed the growth machine and urban sprawl, the City of Boise is proposing to make public land intended for the future Murgoitio Park available to real estate speculators.

About 160 acres of public land south of Victory between S. Cole and S. Maple Grove owned by Boise City are targeted for a land swap, which would rob SW Boise of its promised open space to add more acres for the North End Foothills crowd. Not only will SW Boise lose public open space, it will increase demand for city services in the area south of Victory between S. Cole and S. Maple Grove. The City claims they do not have the money necessary to green up the park space, even though they have collected park impact fees from residents of SW Boise and the Area of Impact for years, and while the City is actively building and remodeling new parks in downtown and along the river.

Boise would annex the land and enter into a trade deal that will benefit a developer. Land swaps are used to get around the Idaho Code legal requirements of declaring property to be “surplus” and selling it at public auction to the highest bidder. Land swaps get around the law and allow the City to determine who will get the public land. In this case the City has already met with the developer and worked out a back door deal out of sight of the public. When asked by the Neighborhood Association who the developer was, the City refused to identify them.

First step in converting the open space to rooftops is a virtual Zoom meeting June 17 between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Information can be found HERE

The GUARDIAN has been a long time advocate of OPEN SPACE and conservation easements for all areas of the city–not just the foothills. As a GROWTHOPHOBE, we feel the idea of swapping land, increasing population, assisting a developer, and increasing demand for services to be repugnant.

Criminals & Gangs Abound In Valley

In little more than “Ten Days In May,” agents of the United States Government with assistance from local coppers bagged 91 gangsters and assorted criminals in the treasure Valley.

U.S. Marshal Brent Bunn issued a press release Friday detailing the arrests and declaring the mass action of coppers, “insures all of our communities will be a safe place for our families to live.”

Here is the PRESS RELEASE:

Beginning 05/17/2021, through 05/28/2021, the U.S. Marshals Service partnered with numerous Treasure Valley law enforcement entities to conduct Operation Washout, a U.S. Marshals Service national initiative focused on the investigation and arrest of violent fugitives and gang members. Operation Washout brought together state, local, and federal law enforcement officers to focus on specific areas impacted by gang violence and target those gang members for investigation and arrest.

During the operation, law enforcement officers arrested 91 fugitives, of those, 43 were gang members. Subsequent to the arrests, officers seized 9 firearms, ammunition, illegal drugs and currency. Officers disrupted the criminal activity of several Treasure Valley gangs by arresting members of the Aryan Knights (AK), a gang formed in the mid-1990s in the Idaho prison system, the Severely Violent Criminals (SVC), a gang formed in the early 2000s in the Idaho prison system, the Surenos and the Nortenos, both Hispanic street gangs.

U.S. Marshal Brent Bunn commended the officers supporting Operation Washout by stating, “This is the first time Operation Washout has been performed in the State of Idaho. The number of arrested gang members and other violent offenders indicates a problem all law enforcement is trying to address. The tremendous cooperation between law enforcement agencies in the Treasure Valley insures all of our communities will be a safe place for our families to live.”

“I commend the U.S. Marshals for conducting and leading this operation. It is obvious the collaborative efforts produced a force multiplier in addressing the violent crime and gang activity in our communities,” added Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue.

Operation Washout participating agencies included: Ada & Canyon County Sheriffs’ Offices, Boise, Garden City, Nampa & Caldwell Police Departments, Idaho Department of Correction, U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Deputy U.S. Marshals from across the U.S.

Shelter Move Put On Hold

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean issued a statement Thursday which is bound to be received with some degree of hope by NW Boise residents who opposed a homeless shelter on State Street.

She joined with the police chief and Jodi Peterson, Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary in a decision to put the proposed (and opposed) move of the homeless shelter from 16th Street to State Street.

Here is the statement:

In recent months, I was joined by Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee and Our Path Home partners at several neighborhood discussions on homelessness. Rather than focus on the work of the partnership and the challenges before us, the attention was on the proposed location of Interfaith Sanctuary. The tone and tenor of the conversations don’t sit right with me, Our Path Home partners, or our residents, including those in crisis.

This morning, Jodi Peterson, Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary, and I met and came to the decision to put the proposed project on hold. We know that shelter will remain a critical component of Boise’s response to homelessness, and that we can and will do shelter better.

Our next step is to quickly convene a task force to conduct a shelter needs analysis to evaluate locations for the new shelter, the State Street location will be included in this analysis. As we move through the process of ultimately identifying the right location for a new emergency shelter, I ask that we center conversations around our values of compassion, community and service.

Ada Sheriff Unpins His Badge

Ada County sheriff’s deputies were caught by surprise Monday when they learned Sheriff Steve Bartlett called it quits with no prior notice.

Ada County Commish chairman Rod Beck was unaware of the move until he heard from someone who directed him to the KTVB website.

Beck said the county Republican Central Committee will provide three names and the commishes will select one to serve until the next general election. Bartlett was just elected in November 2020 to a four year term.

Deputies were informed via e-mail and at briefing time with a short message: “I have to attend to a couple personal items and scheduling in my life and am looking forward to that very much,” he wrote in his email. “Stay safe and enjoy the journey.”

Bartlett named chief Deputy Scott Johnson as acting sheriff until a new sheriff is appointed.

Growth Still Raises Its Ugly Head

More than 15 years ago the GUARDIAN coined the term “growthophobe” in an attempt to wake up folks about the cancer spreading throughout the valley.

As the property assessments which are used as the basis for our taxes are being prepared and the Assessor is warning of “sticker shock” we offer a rerun of an early post which could have been written today.

The CBS Sunday Morning show featured Boise’s outrageous real estate market May 23. One owner was paid $65,000 more than the asking price for a Boise home. A newly arrived Californian dismissively noted “locals” say they can’t afford to live here anymore.

Growing Numbers of Growthophobes
April 26, 2006

We are noticing more and more people coming to their senses and opposing insane growth which manifests itself in flood threats, infill arguments, annexation hassles, inflated housing prices, traffic, and a host of other offensive habits.

Latest growthophobe to go public is Sarah Wiltz, president of the Sunset neighborhood association. She sees growth as a threat to the character of the neighborhood west of 30th and north of State St. Wiltz has cause to worry.
Farm sale sign.jpg

Wednesday we saw a number of signs at dairy farms proclaiming DEVELOPMENT POTENTIAL and they didn’t mean agriculture.

We talked to a farmer prepping a field of the nicest soil you would ever want to drop a seed into. He shook his head sadly and said, “It’s all over for us. We’re done here.”

His plan is to sell out to the developers, take the money and build a new farm life across the Snake River in Oregon where there is less pressure to build houses–at least for now.

There are currently plans afoot to populate the Foothills all the way from Middleton to Lucky Peak. All tolled there are probably 15 developments either in the works or soon to be filed. Some will eat up as much as 30,000 acres.

“Team Dave” leader Dave Bieter is pushing to populate the south hills with another round of development. We see little hope of preserving any semblance of what “Boise used to be” without a united effort like the one Wiltz is pushing. She wants a moratorium on building in the foothills. It is not likely to happen, but if you love your kids, breathable air, and a view of something other than neighbors, better wake up.

Growthophobia is a contagious disease characterized by an intense longing for life as it used to be, should be, and CAN be if we unite to fight the insurgents who are ruining a great state full of mostly fine people.

2021 Note: Nampa and Caldwell have recently considered or put temporary halts on new construction, Avimor has approval for expansion into Boise County, taxes are increasing, traffic is toxic, and local governments are STILL offering “incentives” for new businesses and developments. Meanwhile, Boise officials have been convinced the secret to success is to jam as many people and residential units as possible into city spaces.

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