Guardian Top Stories

Early Voting Starts Monday For Bond Election

Here is a press release from Ada County Elections regarding upcoming elections for school elections in Boise, West Ada, and Kuna Districts.

Early voting for the March 14, 2017 election starts on Monday February 27th in Ada County. Voters from any part of Ada County may vote at any of the early voting locations Ada County Elections offers. Voters not registered in advance may do so when they vote and may vote at each of these locations by bringing a photo ID and proof of residence. Details regarding the locations and hours are below.

Ada County Early Voting Standard Locations:
Boise City Hall – 150 N Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702 (M – F, 8am-5pm)
Meridian City Hall – 33 E Broadway Ave, Meridian, ID 83642 (M – F, 8am-5pm)
Ada County Elections – 400 Benjamin Ln, Suite 100, Boise, ID 83704 (M – F, 7am – 5pm)
· Saturday March 4th voting: 10am-4pm

*Early voting ends March 10th at 5PM at all locations*

Plus our mobile voting trailer will be in different locations throughout the county February 27-March 10 (weather permitting):
February 27: 10 am to 4 pm, Albertsons (Kuna)
February 28: 10 am to 4 pm, Albertsons (Eagle Rd. & State St.)
March 2: 10 am to 4 pm, Albertsons (Columbia Village)
March 3: 10 am to 4 pm, Albertsons (Kuna)
March 6: 10 am to 4 pm, Lake Hazel Library
March 7: 10 am to 4 pm, Albertsons (Eagle Rd. & State St.)
March 8: 10 am to 4 pm, Albertsons (State St. & 36th)
March 9: 10 am to 4 pm, Star Library
March 10: 10 am to 4 pm, Albertsons (Kuna)

For more information regarding voter registration, early or absentee voting, visit www.AdaCountyElections.com or call (208) 287-6860.

Schools Suffer, Taxpayers Forced To Subsidize Developers

Recent events in Ada County serve to illustrate the plight of Idaho school districts and taxpayers who are forced to subsidize developers who suck money from the community, thanks to politicos who are blinded by promises of growth and jobs. PROGRESS!

Aerial view of Eagle High School file shot. Note the bare ground in top right where developer built structures. Cost of the construction was shared by all taxpayers, but developers paid no impact fees.


West Ada Schools, like all school districts, are prohibited by law from charging “impact fees” for growth–developments. So, when the Ada County Commishes approved 1,300 new residences in the Dry Creek area a new elementary school worth an estimated $14,000,000 to take care of about 600 kids will eventually have to be built.

The only way to finance school construction is through bond financing which will be paid by every property owner in the West Ada district. The developer may donate a parcel of farm land, but he won’t have to pay for the construction at all.

Then there is the City of Meridian crowing about “attracting” a new business which will supposedly hire 500 workers to staff a new five-story building to be constructed near the Ten-mile interchange of I-84. Sounds good on the surface until you learn the building will be in a “business park” which is part of a “urban renewal district” (read that as FARM LAND).

All the taxes on the new building will go to the urban renewal agency and NONE will go the schools. Of course those 500 workers will generate kids who will have to go to a school which will be overcrowded or built anew. Taxpayers once again subsidize the developer.

But wait, there’s more! The State of Idaho Department of Commerce and Development will tender $5.9 million to the new company as a thank-you gesture for bringing the workers and their kids, there cars, and other pollutants to the area.

Growthophobes and doctors both understand that growth for the sake of growth is called CANCER and it can sometimes be deadly.

As one school official confided, “There’s no end in sight.”

“Dope Reporter” Warning During High Water

The long standing tradition of awarding the coveted GUARDIAN “Dope Reporter” status is about to re-emerge during the high water season along area rivers and streams.

The rules are simple. Any TV newsy caught needlessly standing in water will get the award. True rescues, wading to get a god camera angle, and other legitimate moves are exempt from the award. The award is intended to eliminate, well, DOPE REPORTER moves.

GUARDIAN readers are trained at spotting DOPE REPORTERS and can send nominations to through the CONTACT button. Local nominations only please, we have seen many on national news of late.

School Bond Would Add $3400 Debt To Median Value Home

DISCLAIMER: The GUARDIAN does not endorse or oppose candidates or ballot measures. We try to stimulate discussion of issues and present facts often ignored by proponents or opponents.

AMITY SCHOOL was billed as the most energy-efficient school in the country when it was built. GUARDIAN editor, Dave Frazier, wrote the story and made the photo for a TIME MAGAZINE feature. The underground structure has been a costly white elephant for years, despite the promises offered. Plans call for replacing the structure.


The March 14 bond election in the Boise School District is an important event. Entering into $171,000,000 of public debt is not to be taken lightly and all aspects of the investment should be considered.

The District sent out a brochure of “facts” to teachers, former teachers, parents, etc. The “facts” were accompanied by an application for an absentee ballot. A District spokesman told the GUARDIAN the list was comprised of “addresses readily available.” No doubt that list didn’t include any known opponents, conservative leaders, Tea Party members, or other known tight-fisted voters. We feel that mailing should have gone to all voters or not at all since it was on District letterhead and paid –apparently– with public money.

A flashier mailer also with an absent voter ballot application was sent by “Friends of Boise Public Schools.” (Great name as it implies a NO vote would be the “Enemy”) It says the $171 million will reduce overcrowding, make critical repairs, and upgrade classrooms. Neither mailer has specifics. They both sound like a Donald Trump plan to “Make America Great.”

The idea of getting to the voters before there is a lot of discussion on issues has become more common lately. The days of researching an issue or candidate and voting on election day seems a thing of the past.

Here are some facts which are gleaned from public records and official sources:

Median home value in the District is $245,000. In Ada County, there is $25.5 billion in taxable residential property value. Commercial taxable property is valued at $11.8 Billion.
That means the tax at current levy rates is $70 per $100,000 in value which amounts to about $171 per year for the median home of $245,000.

Commercial property owners have no voice at the polls. If they live in the District, they get to vote, but only once–essentially on behalf of their residence. That’s one reason for the so-called “super majority” which requires 2/3 approval. The intent is to sort of level the playing field so folks with no real estate holdings can’t impose a tax on the commercial owners who have no vote. It’s a constitutional mandate.

Given the life of the bond is 20 years, that means the average home will have a debt of $3,400 wrapped into the mortgage payment if the bond passes. If the bond FAILS, it logically should have a DECREASE in taxes of $171 per year and no $3,400 added debt.

While there is no such thing as a free lunch, proponents are claiming there will be “no increase in taxes.” That’s because a 20 year bond that was due to expire will, in essence,
be extended for another two decades. If the bond fails, the District is free to come back for repeated attempts to secure voter approval. Once it is passed, there is no second try to repeal.

To claim there is “no increase in tax rates” is like a car dealer claiming he can put you in a new car “at no additional cost” the day you make your final payment on the model you are driving. It will mean you never get out of debt and the car payments are extended. When the 1997 bond was passed, no one ever told us it was really for 40 years, not 20.

This may sound negative toward the bond, but the facts are all correct. If the bond fails it won’t be the end of the world. The District can come back with a modified proposal for voters to consider. That’s exactly what CWI is doing after their recent bond proposal failed.

We would like to see both bonds (CWI and Boise Schools) on the ballot at the same time. That way voters would have a clear picture of the cost of education and decide if they want to pony up the cash.

Click CONTINUE to see the proposed shopping list. Continue reading here…

City Staff Real Estate Developer

Realizing there are potential pitfalls in reading internet sites, we offer the following info on the guy who claims on a LINKEDIN page to be one of the driving forces behind the recent proposal for a downtown baseball stadium, six hotels, and was recruited to use $500 million in city real estate to achieve city goals. GUARDIAN readers did the research and provided the links.

It appears that Matt Brookshier is operating or has operated during his city employment the BROOKSHIER GROUP, like a wannabe Donald Trump (“Deals Start Here, It’s what deal makers do, Want to be a Deal maker…etc”). He is also an employee of Boise City where he is the “Strategic Real Estate Manager” at a salary close to $100,000 per year. According to his listing on ANGELLIST he has an impressive real estate career and educational background.

Here is his LINKEDIN info:

Principal
Company Name: The Brookshier Group (Real Estate Acquisitions & Development)
Dates Employed 2012 – Present Employment Duration 5 yrs Location Boise, Idaho Area
Creating value for commercial real estate investors through creative deal identification, underwriting, structuring, and partnership strategies. Operating throughout the western U.S.

• Led two-year effort to acquire Tamarack Ski and Golf Resort from multiple creditors. Created 10-year acquisition, repositioning and operational plan enabling client to secure $140 million in equity commitments. Dealt with complex legal, financial and operational situation, enabling client to focus on other major projects. Client was unable to secure all liens.

• Advised on potential acquisition of boutique hotel brand. Wrote tiered business plan for nationwide expansion. Provided underwriting on purchase of two existing hotels, developed brand strategy, structured equity requirements, and projected cash flows (cost, capital budget, financing options, multiple revenue streams, and P&L). Plan exceeded client’s ROI hurdles.

• Developed strategic plan for a $90 million downtown convention center and 250-room hotel. Engaged auditorium district to contribute district-owned land and tax increment funds. Project exceeded ROI hurdles but client was unable to secure equity. Another developer is currently executing with a similar deal structure.

• Advised broker client on several winery and wine-related business projects, developing business plans and investment packages to support sale of 3 different wineries.

• Led market study & entitlement process for a multifamily development client, resulting in approval for 3-phase, 600-unit multifamily project.

Strategic Real Estate Manager
Company Name: City of Boise (Head, Real Estate Department)
Dates Employed: 2014 – PresentEmployment Duration 3 yrsLocationBoise, Idaho Area
(Third largest city in Pacific Northwest. Third fastest growing metro area west of the Rockies. Top 10 ranked city nationally by Wall Street Journal and Forbes for business and quality of life.)

Recruited to build real estate department for $500 million portfolio and develop strategies for using real estate to achieve City goals. Partnering with private development, improving operations and adding value to the taxpayer by bringing business operations and private investment approach to real estate portfolio for the third largest city in Pacific Northwest. Dual reporting to Mayor and Director of Planning & Development.

• Revived languished downtown stadium plan. Worked with minor league baseball team to structure a public-private partnership that includes three public agencies and two private partners for a $190+ million mixed-use project including a multi-use stadium, a hotel, residential units, and various retail/entertainment amenities.

• Enticed 6 new hotels to start projects in downtown Boise by engaging three government agencies to overcome barriers and identifying $20+ million in public support. One is under construction, three have received project entitlements, and two are in planning.

• Completed ten acquisitions totaling $4+ million. Sourced properties, negotiated transactions, conducted due diligence, and closed purchases. Built 13-department matrix organization to improve decision making and reduce costs and risk.

We make no judgements, but having a real estate guy who does deals working for the city making deals seems like a questionable arrangement at best.

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