Guardian Top Stories

Meridian Minority of Minority Prevails

Rebranding the Meridian School District to be called the West Ada District apparently didn’t help when it comes to bond debt votes.

Voters in the district turned down a proposed $104 million bond debt which requires a 2/3 majority, or 67% approval. The tally was 63 % in favor and 37% opposed.

Opponents of the “super majority” say bond debt is almost impossible to obtain.

In reality the super majority is a safeguard for elections like Tuesday’s where only 10% of registered voters bothered to cast ballots. Without the protection of the super majority rule, a mere 6% of registered voters would have been able to impose their will on 100% of the electorate.

Citizens of West Ada need to stand up and be counted.

BSU Coaches SWAT Exercise Video Disappears

After the Idaho Statesman’s Chadd Cripe and the GUARDIAN posted links Tuesday to a YOU TUBE video showing BSU coaches brandishing assault weapons at a Boise police SWAT training facility, the video has suddenly been removed from the YOU TUBE site “by the user.”

We talked to United Dairymen of Idaho spokesperson Cindy Miller Wednesday and she made it clear the Dairymen sponsor the “Bronco All Access” site, but have no control over the content. She said there was no issue regarding the sponsorship of the site. Coach Bryan Harsin appeared in the video saying the SWAT experience could be transferred directly to the gridiron when it came to split second decisions under pressure.

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson sent a statement to the GUARDIAN extolling the merits of the SWAT team, saying the department was “proud to host” the team building exercise.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.
Boise State Associate Athletic Director for communications at BSU sent us the following statement explaining the reason for deleting the video:

“Out of respect to the current situation in Ferguson, Mo., we have decided to remove the video from our social media sites.”

Chief Explains SWAT Class For BSU Coaches

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson provided a statement about the previous post at the request of the GUARDIAN. The department offered a SWAT training exercise for Boise State football coaches. Some readers were critical of the move which is featured on YOUTUBE.

BPD was proud to host the BSU coaches for a team building exercise. The police department operates with openness and transparency and we appreciate the opportunity to familiarize community members with how we train to keep them safe. Like the football team, where teamwork, training and preparation saves games, I am proud of the Boise Police “special teams” record of saving lives.

It’s easy to make comparisons between football and police special operations; the success of both is characterized by discipline, teamwork, and recognition that the performance of each individual is critical to the unit’s overall success. But with all deserved respect to Coach Harsin and his team, the BPD Special Operations Unit is asked to go, not onto a playing field, but into the highest risk, most life threatening emergency situations our community has faced in the last twenty five years. It’s intentional that their training and expertise has meant peaceful resolutions to dangerous, volatile situations, and kept them and countless others safe. I respect Coach Harsin and appreciate his admiration of the skill and commitment of these officers. I agree with him, they are a team whose success, measured in lives saved, is enviable and impressive. The ‘record” that our SOU team has achieved nearly three decades is measured not by wins and losses but how many lives have been saved because we have activated that team and asked them to risk their safety for the safety of others. That record is enviable and impressive.

Later this Fall, I plan on hosting a special event where members of the media are invited to attend to see a similar exercise and ask questions that can help educate our community on why this is a valuable resource for both the department and our community.

Chief Mike Masterson

BOISE SWAT COPS Train BSU Coaches

Boise PDs MRAP has been used once on a bomb call since they got it from the Army.

Boise PDs MRAP has been used once on a bomb call since they got it from the Army.


Timing is everything, especially in sports like football.

The release of a YOUTUBE video is probably not good timing for the Boise State Bronco football coaching staff in light of recent civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and national debate over the “militarization of police” throughout the the USA.

A GUARDIAN reader called our attention to the You Tube posting Tuesday, asking for comment. The opening scene shows what appear to be coaches clinging to an armored vehicle with lights flashing and siren screaming. Next scene is the usual SWAT door bashing, screaming, and flash-bang explosions.

A SWAT copper and coach Bryan Harsin make on camera comments. Harsin said the exercise was, “A lot more harder than I thought it would be.” He equated the life threatening one-on-one combat to aspects of football.

The video is technically well produced at a training facility with overhead views and includes images of coaches brandishing assault weapons wearing military-style combat helmets and body armor with “suspects” shooting blanks at them. Obviously all the participants are shooting with blank ammunition.

We have no idea when the entertaining “team building exercise” was produced. United Dairymen of Idaho sponsors the “Bronco All Access” website, but a spokesperson told the GUARDIAN Wednesday the group has no control over content and did not sponsor the specific SWAT segment content.

Idaho Dem Guv Candidate Says State Should Not Own Business

The GUARDIAN had a chance Tuesday to ask Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff about his thoughts on state ownership of businesses.
Balukoff
The State of Idaho owns and operates “Affordable Storage” at 450 South Maple Grove, competing with local businesses in a tax-exempt facility.

The businessman and Boise school board member was direct with his answer when he declared, “The state should not own and operate businesses.”

He also proposed that businesses operating in state-owned properties should either pay property tax or a fee in lieu of taxes to local governments.

“Businesses should not get a free ride on the state’s tax exemption,” said Balukoff.

The issue is of particular importance since the Governor sits on the Land Board which administers state land and endowment funds. Those funds are dedicated to education and the current board claims it is “a better investment” to sell off timber and grazing land and invest in rental property and own businesses in urban areas.

The GUARDIAN has written often about the burden placed on local governments and business when the Idaho Land Board purchases rental property–such as 10 Barrel Brewing and more than 20 other parcels in downtown Boise. Those buildings are exempt from local property taxes previously destined to the city, county, schools, and highway districts.

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