Guardian Top Stories

Horseless Racing Stumbles

What has been called, “historical racing, instant racing, and video parimutuel” is being questioned by lawmakers and investigators who claim it is nothing more than slot machines.

Police in Post Falls and the Ada County Sheriff are investigating whether or not the machines are legal. The GUARDIAN has looked at the machines which sport cherries, melons, lemons and bars.

We say the devices are thinly disguised slots and slots are banned by the Idaho Constitution. Sheriff Gary Raney has been investigating the operation at Les Bois Park and is concerned enough to seek a judicial ruling about the legality of the machines. It looks like the Ada Prosecutor will being heading to court at Raney’s behest.

Ada County leases Les Bois to a private operator and if the slots are declared illegal, the operators will be in breach of contract. The 2013 legislature approved historic racing, but legislators now say what they approved is not what they got.

As we see it, the real issue is not gambling. The real issue is defending the Idaho Constitution. It will be interesting to see if Guv Butch is up for the same vigor he has displayed defending the constitution when it dealt with gay marriage.

Finally, there is a big risk in allowing a single group to have a monopoly on slots.

Click on CONTINUE READING for links to several previous posts.

Would YOU Pay To Hear A Mayor Speak?

President Obama is headed for Boise in the next few days. His speech — a follow up to the “state of the union” — will be free, even if it doesn’t include the infamous “rubber chicken” or snacks.

Imagine the uproar if the Governor or the President delivered a “state of the state” or “state of the union” address as a fund-raiser and charged for seating. That’s the plan for Treasure Valley mayors in coming weeks.

Seems the mayors of Treasure Valley have simply forgotten their roots–with the exception of Garret Nancolas of Caldwell. They are planning to address the citizens about public issues, talk about spending public money, and charge the citizens to hear them at an inconvenient time for the average worker. Nancolas’ speech is free.

Bob Henry of Nampa, Tammy de Weerd of Meridian, and Eagle’s Jim Reynolds all have scheduled “State of The City” speeches and they expect citizens to PAY to hear them expound on their goals and accomplishments. Sure, if you want to be a cheapskate or simply can’t afford lunch you can sit in the corner for free.

The GUARDIAN has bitched about the practice and the fund raiser nature for years, especially in Boise where 1,000 businessmen, contractors, and other beneficiaries gather for a breakfast where it costs $40 a plate–yielding a gross of $40,000 for the special interest business lobbying group called the Chamber of Commerce. (The only reason there is free seating at all is due to prior GUARDIAN posts).

If the message these politicos offer is of ANY value — other than making the evening news — they should deliver their sermons at a regularly scheduled city council meeting, not at a time when working men and women can’t attend. How many “businessmen and leaders” would attend a free council meeting along with the great unwashed to hear a speech?

Here’s the current schedule from today’s STATESMAN:

Nampa Mayor Bob Henry Wednesday, Nampa Civic Center, 311 3rd St. S. Lunch 11:30 a.m., presentation 12:15 p.m. Lunch tickets $20; free seating no lunch. RSVP required: 466-4642.
Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas Feb. 3, Jewett Auditorium, 2112 Cleveland Blvd., 4 to 5:30 p.m. Free. RSVP required: 459-7493.
Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd Feb. 4, Meridian Middle School, 1507 West 8th St. 3:59 p.m. Tickets $10 and include Taste of Meridian reception. RSVP required: 489-0529.

DRAFTED! Shameless Literary Pandering

BOOK SIGNING Saturday Jan. 17 at Aero Cafe, 201 N. Orchard (1 blk N of tracks)
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy good coffee, conversation, and a good book.

It has taken 45 years, but GUARDIAN editor David R. Frazier has finally published a book about the lighter side of the Vietnam War. The book is entitled “DRAFTED! Vietnam at War and at Peace.”

Readers may recall some brief posts about return visits to Vietnam over the years. DRAFTED! recalls numerous vignettes and anecdotes about Dave Frazier’s Army service in Vietnam. It’s a good read for all ages with some little known insights and lots of pictures made during the war and on recent post war visits.

As a young man Frazier had up close and personal encounters with former presidential candidate Gov. George Romney, Gen. William Westmoreland, and U.S. Army Major Al Thomas who armed and trained Ho Chi Minh in 1945 to fight Japan. Those yarns make for interesting reading.

I couldn’t put the book down. It is a great read! I’m about ten years before your “induction” into the service, but your description of the basic training as a draftee exactly described my experiences as a draftee, ten years earlier. The remainder of the book is a wonderful mix of humor and pathos, and I could not stop reading. You have the gift of knowing how much to say and how to say it that pulls the reader into the moment. I observed Viet Nam as a civilian, and there is no question that it was the tragedy and national mistake you experienced.

On a lighter note, you obviously mastered the art of “wheeling and dealing,” which I have always admired and envied. Congratulations on a great achievement.

You can get DRAFTED! at RIDENBAUGH PRESS for $15.95 or on AMAZON

BOOK SIGNING Saturday Jan. 17 at Aero Cafe, 201 N. Orchard (1 blk N of tracks)
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy good coffee, conversation, and a good book.

Ada Taxpayers Spent $138,241 To Defend Commishes

Ada County officials answered a GUARDIAN request and disclosed it cost $138,241 to defend former Ada County director of administrative services Rich Wright’s
lawsuit against current Commishes Dave Case and Jim Tibbs.

It was dismissed in Fourth District Court by Judge George Carey in the form of a summary judgement filed by the county’s attorney earlier this month.

Wright sued the county for unlawful termination claiming the county violated the “whistle blower act,” Federal Family Leave Act, and inflicted emotional distress. He was fired when Tibbs and Case took office.

He was seeking in “excess of $25,000″ in damages (the amount was higher, but that threshold was cited by Judge Carey). The court dismissed the case “with prejudice” which means it cannot be refiled.

Listening For 10 Years, Chief Leaves Peaceful Legacy

Serving the citizens of Boise and changing the culture of the Boise Police has been a goal of retiring Chief Mike Masterson.
When he took command of the local coppers, shootings by coppers and other critical incidents were out of control. Masterson’s management style has included big doses of LISTENING. He has been a frequent contributor to the GUARDIAN and readers have recently been able to get direct answers to questions.

Perhaps his proudest accomplishment is working with veterans suffering from PTSD. A shootout between officers and an Idaho National Guardsman — in which no rounds hit any humans — prompted creation of a special court and related mental health treatment. Mental health awareness and training have highlighted the last half of Masterson’s tenure.

We have noticed policy changes which include prohibiting coppers from shooting at moving vehicles, elimination of loaning city motorcycles to off duty coppers working out of the county, a series of rules regarding leaving squad cars running unattended, a controversial stand against guns on campus, rules against texting while driving (no exempting for coppers under state law).

The following chart details the number of police union grievances, labor disputes that went to hearing, and ombudsman investigations during the “Masterson Era.”
masterson chart

The Boise Guardian

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