City Government

Take Two Sneaky Trolley Resolution

Based on the content of a Team Dave press release and the overwhelming public opposition to awarding a $90,000 contract to Dave Bieter’s campaign ad agency, it would be fair to conclude Boise City Hall is in a bit of upheaval.

Team Dave tried to sneak the bid award resolution past the council buried among a dozen other items in the “consent agenda” –the list of routine items deemed by the city clerk to be routine in nature and not worthy of public discussion.

A mere 15 minutes prior to the 6p.m. meeting this statement was was issued to all the media (except the GUARDIAN) by council president Maryanne Jordan:

“Public involvement, whether it be in regard to a major sewer project, major road project or the possibility of a streetcar system and its impact to users, is not only appropriate but our responsibility,” Council President Maryanne Jordan said. “With that in mind, it makes sense to defer this item until the council has had a chance to review the bids and gather information about the appropriate benchmarks for the public outreach effort.”


The press release included a statement from Mayor Bieter who is on vacation and was not present at the meeting but supports the council’s decision and provided the following statement:

“It is vital that the public be informed and given a chance to provide feedback on the proposed Boise Streetcar System. That is why outreach contracts such as this are common in all levels of government. The City must provide this opportunity and get it right, which is why I agree with postponing action until the council has had an opportunity to evaluate the proposal more fully.”

Again we ask: WHY WAS IT ON THE AGENDA if the mayor thought it needed more consideration?

We can only conclude SOMEONE on Team Dave tried to slip it past the council. We also note it is common for the council to table issues when there is a lot of public interest.

The first Boise Streetcar Open House was held on October 1, 2009, attracting over 300 visitors and 164 written comments. A breakdown of comments gathered at the open house indicates a positive response for a streetcar system, with 57% (95 comments) in support; 35% (58 comments) against: and 8% (11 comments) neutral.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Very interesting Guardian. Although I certainly did not speak directly to everyone who attended the open house, I guess I spoke with EVERY person opposed to the streetcar. My “exit poll” findings were 4-1 against the idea of a streetcar! HMMM……

  2. sam the sham
    Oct 6, 2009, 8:31 pm

    Good work guys, but we all know that it is not over yet. Keep your eyes and ears open… Team Dave is not going to give up his folly trolley this easily.
    Brown shirts like to have their own way!

  3. Nothing inappropriate about “public outreach.” Give folks the facts. Let them decide. What is inappropriate is the “marketing” part of this…Convince the public (at their expense). $90,000 will buy a lot of posters and cookies for public meetings.

  4. Anyone watch “The Simpsons”? This whole thing reminds me of the monorail episode…

  5. I think possibly the reason for the skewed response at the open house is that people are either too apathetic or too afraid to complain.

    I have talked to dozens of people about the streetcar. About 95% are opposed to it privately – but will not say anything publicly about how they feel.

    EDITOR NOTE– You make a good point. I have done a bunch of interviews for other media because they come up against a wall of silence from those who privately tell them they oppose the project, but are afraid to comment publicly.

    All it takes is sending an email to If you can’t even do just that – you are going to get a streetcar guaranteed.

  6. Nice work BG. People like you force transparency in government which is exactly what Boise needs with what is happening.

    It seems that over and over again things are being hidden from Boise residents and the city council for the Mayor’s Campaign friends.

    Such as the Ad campaign agency and the Bose Fire Chief. All have real close connections to Dave Bieters political Campaign. Curiously all are also having things handed to them while hiding from the people of Boise and their representatives, but more so the people of Boise.

    This is crazy.

  7. The answer to your question as to why it was on the consent agenda is EASY to answer….the mayor wanted to sneak it through!!!

    The local paper and the Guardian are doing a great job and should look in detail to EVERY consent agenda EVERY week. YOu will find other stuff in there that needs public light as well.

  8. Progressive
    Oct 7, 2009, 10:26 am

    Oh ye of like minds. Isn’t it nice , and comfy to have no-growth compatriots on this site with whom you can commiserate, and complain, endlessly, a cacophony of vitriol, of woe is me.
    Truth is, the trolley would be a boon to downtown Boise, ergo a boon to all of Boise. Downtown boasts more than 40,000 workers and more inhabitants now than no-growth proponents would ever have imagined. Add tourism (downtown Boise is a wonderful place), and ridership is assured. Business will grow, welcome, interesting construction will follow and tax coffers will rise. Then, proponents will vie for a spur – to Hyde Park – to the Depot, etc. That’s the truth.

  9. have/smoke another Progressive. even if your esimated outcome was correct, the Guardian article is calling out the sneaky attempt to secure marketing funding, not necessarily debating the value of the project. if it is as great as you proclaim, then why is all the p.r. needed? to convince us simpleminded folk???

  10. Gene Fadness
    Oct 7, 2009, 1:21 pm

    Thanks, Progressive. In city after city, where public transit is provided development occurs immediately around key stops. It not only promotes responsible (infill) development, it gets more people out of their cars and also reduces the need for surface parking.

  11. Where’s the folks from Acorn when you need a good PR campaign? I’m sure they could use the money – now that their funding seems to be drying up.

    Keep an eye out for more shenanigans in the dark of night.

  12. Against the trolley
    Oct 7, 2009, 2:48 pm

    Yo, ADR, finally went to your blog —

    It’s amazing and the most comprehensive one-stop shop I’ve seen explaining why this trolley is CRAZINESS.

    One problem: how does someone who wants to do something about it and have a private conversation with you get in touch with you??

    (Maybe you could at least post here or on yr blog some kind of email address –even if it’s not yr personal one– that you will check.)

    A few of us want to get with you ASAP.

    (I’ll check back on this boise guardian comment site here and your blog to see if you’ve got a contact email or phone posted. And suggest in yr comments on this subject from now on, you start posting a contact email. Thx!)


  13. I remain steadfast in my position that the only trolley system I will support is one that will take us to the Land of Make Believe.

  14. No-growth? Okay, “Progressive”… you got me. Guilty as charged.

    I’m also fiscally conservative (don’t like us spending money we don’t have… learned that from my good parents). I’m also transparency-in-government. And reluctantly pro-democracy. (I’m ALWAYS right… but the majority should have a voice, I s’pose. nudge-nudge, wink-wink.)

    Just put it before the voters. Let’s see if the majority are “progressive” or “luddite.”

    (An obvious question arises in this particular situation… is supporting a $60 million 19th-century transportation mode really “progressive”? My head starts hurting… but I bet that Wheelchair Guy could explain it all.)

  15. Where is the money coming from?

    To see how much your property tax has gone up go here;

    On the left of screen, go to “Property Search” and click on
    Search by address.

    On this page click “I Accept the Terms of Use” then “Submit”
    on bottom of screen.

    On this screen type in your address (example:100 W Main St)
    change year to “2008” then Click “Submit”.

    On this screen your address and parcel number should be on top
    click on the “Parcel Number” it will be an R and 10 digits or an
    S with 10 digits.

    On this screen you should see your property information and
    it may have a photograph of your house. There are 4 tabs above
    the photograph, click the middle one “Tax Districts”.

    This page will show the taxing districts and their mill rates.
    These Levy’s are what you pay in property taxes for each

    Write down your levy for your city.

    Now on the top of the page change the tax year to “2009” and
    click the tab “Change Year”.

    You are now seeing what your levy’s are for this year. You will
    see that your city levy “property tax” has increased.

    If you live in Boise your city property tax has been increased about
    14%……………………………………..over last year’s.

    EDITOR NOTE–We doubt the dollar figure has increased that much, if at all. You are correct the LEVY has increased, but the assessed VALUE has declined in most cases, leaving the total tax about the same in dollars. You are absolutely correct the LEVY has increased the tax as a percentage of value. This will no longer put Boise on the “Top 10” lists of places to do business.

    During the boom, total tax was about what it is today, but property was inflated nearly double today’s value in some cases, making Boise appear to be a wonderfully cheap place to live and do business.

  16. My 2009 assessment increased. I have the paperwork to prove it. The value of the improvement went up and land down or visa versa for a 15K net increase. I’m not the only one. Vis a vis the trolly, I have a study in front of me that says we’re looking at 60K per mile not total. That would be more like $144,000,000 total for the project as prescribed. Will we have an unfinished trolly to match the hole in the ground? If we don’t get new leadership, we will have an urban moat to match the pit.

  17. Excellent information ADR. Thank you. The question I would like answered is exactly who put this 90K expenditure on the consent agenda? A name please! I doubt some staffer would do that on their own. It would seem a council member or the mayor would have to specifically request it be put on the agenda that way. Who was it???

    EDITOR NOTE–Seems odd as well that a resolution with specific language was also drafted presumably by the legal department and apparently without council knowledge, since they are on record with concerns about public discussion and “potential conflicts of interest.”

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