Guardian Top Stories

The Marines Have Landed–Repeatedly

If you are one of the many Boise area residents who have heard the repeated noise of military fighter jets, we have learned from a reader the jets are 10 Marine Corps F-18 Hornets, the same aircraft used by the Blue Angels.

The GUARDIAN received several calls from readers commenting on the excess noise from the fighters, so we called the Idaho Air National Guard command post to see if they could provide any info.

The duty sergeant told us, “I am in the basement with no windows. I can certainly hear them, but they are not using our facilities and I don’t know who they are.”

GUARDIAN reader Katie Fite got a reply from Lt Col Chris Borders, the ANG spokesman and he told her this:

“The sounds you’re hearing are the result of 10 USMC F-18 Hornets from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. They are not here to train with the IDANG, nor are they utilizing any of our facilities, ramps or services.

They are staying on the BOI (airport) side, receiving services from a commercial facility (Jackson Aviation) there. From what I can tell, they plan to be here through October 30th.

I don’t believe they are here for a “named” exercise (as in a major regional or larger exercise). They are utilizing/training in the Mountain Home Range Complex.”


Developer Exceeds Campaign Limits

Two Ada County Highway District Candidates and a State legislator are refunding political payments to a local developer after a GUARDIAN reader found the payments exceeded the legal limit.

Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane and the Secretary of State’s office have notified ACHD candidates Rebecca Arnold and Kara Veit and Cecil Grow that campaign contributions from assorted companies owned or controlled by developer James Conger exceeded the $1,000 legal limit.

The GUARDIAN resident volunteer research guru, Clancy Anderson, provided the info to McGrane who consulted with the Idaho Secretary of State about the assorted LLC companies listed as sources for money for the candidates.

The election officials agreed with Anderson and notified the candidates who said they were unaware for the violations and agreed to return the amounts exceeding the $1,000 limit.

In what is nothing unusual in Idaho politics, it is not really clear who is the violator. Is it the candidate who accepted the payments or the developer who made the payment? Also, it would appear nearly impossible for candidates to check the ownership and control for all the companies making political campaign contributions.

UPDATE: Since this story was posted, other violations have come to light and election officials will likely notify candidates to return funds to donors.

Here is the applicable Idaho Code:

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, aggregate contributions for a primary election or a general election made by a corporation, political committee, other recognized legal entity or an individual shall be subject to the limitations of this subsection; provided, however, this subsection shall not apply to a candidate contributing or loaning money to his own campaign account.
(a) Aggregate contributions by a corporation, political committee, other recognized legal entity, or an individual to a candidate for the state legislature, judicial office, or local government office, and political committees organized on the candidate’s behalf, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the primary election and an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the general election.

(6) For the purposes of contribution limits, the following apply:
a) A contribution by a political committee with funds that have all been contributed by one (1) person who exercises exclusive control over the distribution of the funds of the political committee is a contribution by the controlling person.
(b) All contributions made by a person or political committee whose contribution or expenditure activity is financed, maintained or controlled by a trade association, labor union or collective bargaining organization shall be considered a contribution from such trade association, labor union or collective bargaining organization.
(c) Two (2) or more entities are treated as a single entity if the entities:
(i) Share the majority of members on their board of directors;
(ii) Share two (2) or more officers;
(iii) Are owned or controlled by the same majority shareholder or shareholders or persons;
(iv) Are in a parent-subsidiary relationship; or
(v) Have bylaws so stating.

Former Commish Raps Jail Finance Plan

By former Ada County Commissioner
Rick Visser

The end run by Commissioners Lachiondo and Kenyon to fund the construction of a new jail pod is a blatant affront to Ada County property tax payers.

In the interest of transparency and accountability of a commissioner to her constituents, I ask Commissioner Lachiondo to tell us why she (and Com. Kenyon) chose to use a lease with annual certificates of participation instead of a constitutional mandated taxpayer-approved bond.

–Why do two commissioners get to indebt county taxpayers?
–What is the difference between annual lease payments and annual bond payments?

When this method was presented to the Board in 2019 I was a commissioner and I was appalled by it. It may not be called a bond, but such a maneuver is nothing more than a deceptive end run by two commissioners. Their route to more debt may be legal, but that does not make it right.

The intent of the framers of the Idaho constitution was to require voter approval for major indebtedness by a county commission. Certificates of participation did not even exist in August of 1889.

One reason that I did not in 2019 nor today support expansion of the jail is because of Sheriff Bartlett’s habit of secretive conversations with Commissioners Case and also with Commissioner Lachiondo. How can I or you trust someone who intentionally flaunts transparency? These non accountability habits have led to more spending of tax dollars.

Sheriff Bartlett has also never shown a regard for bring fiscally responsible to Ada County taxpayers. The expensive route for a jail expansion was approved. Alternative ideas at less cost or even the need for a new pod were swept aside.

This funding method is more than a lack of accountability, it is a sad display of taxation without representation.

(Bartlett has told the GUARDIAN he was not involved in the financing plan. He merely presented the need for jail space to the commishes).

City Car Displayed Anti-Trump Sticker

A GUARDIAN reader sent us this photo over the weekend of an anti-Trump sticker displayed on the dashboard of a city vehicle. STICKER SHOCK? The photo is circulating on conservative social media and has outraged some folks.

We sent it to the office of Mayor Lauren McLean. The mayor confirmed early Monday they had already received a complaint and were working on correcting the situation. Here is their statement:

“…we do not allow employees to place their own stickers on City-owned vehicles, including police or parking vehicles.

This sticker is a violation of employee policy and the standards of conduct for staff.

Our employees are advised upon their hiring of all the guidelines that govern the use of company-owned vehicles. Each employee is responsible for the company-owned vehicle they check out. I have notified Code Compliance and Community Resources Mgr. Tyler Johnson about this situation. He is currently working with the appropriate supervisor of the involved employee. He will be reminding staff that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated. I am also working with the team to have refresher training throughout the year to ensure this will not happen again.”

FAA Responds To GUARDIAN After 4 Years

Friday’s mail brought a nice padded manila envelope from
FAA Northwest Mountain Regional Office
DesMoines, WA

Inside we found a CD and a two page letter from ANGELA R. McCullough, Vice President Mission Support Services.

The subject of the letter was a Freedom of Information request made by the GUARDIAN — almost FOUR YEARS AGO! It was in regards to the “non-response” of air traffic controllers at the Boise airport control tower Nov. 19, 2016.

Coppers and firefighters in a panic responded to the tower at 3 a.m. after aircraft pilots were ignored during attempted landings.

In the letter dated October 2, 2020 which discussed the 2016 incident, the FAA redacted 56 of 313 email message between investigators and supervisors. They claimed, “if this material were released, it would likely stifle honest and frank communication between agency personnel.”

Much of the redacted content was obviously over concerns of employee unions, attorneys, and how to obtain police reports. Our conclusion was the incident caused a lot of angst at the Fed agency and provided jobs for at least a dozen bureaucrats.


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