The late Senator Frank Church once told the GUARDIAN that basic foreign policy could be determined by most citizens. However, it takes experts to implement that policy.
Those words of wisdom from the man who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee apply to many aspects of public life. The words came to mind in light of news reports about all the “outsiders” involved in selling Boise City and Ada County elected officials a bill of goods surrounding a “Blueprint for Good Growth.”
To put it bluntly: everything is assbackwards. Instead of the Chamber of Commerce, land developers, and “consultants” controlling the fate of our community–”We The People” need to come forth with our needs, desires, and demands and THEN hire experts to implement the will of the citizens.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and many other elected officials have been co-opted by the Chamber and its business members. They are dancing with the wrong partner. You will never see those same officials devote several days of face time to the neighborhood associations and travel 160 miles to Sun Valley to waltz with ordinary citizens–most of whom cannot afford to rent resort facilities to attract local officials. The Chamber sponsored such a dance this spring.
You won’t see local government pony up hundreds of thousands of OUR tax dollars to get a “Citizens Blueprint.” However, Bieter has agreed to be president of a group of elected officials, developers, and outside sales sharks with a goal of telling us what we need. Whatever they come up with in the way of plans will not be binding. Even if adopted you can figure on an endless series of rezoning, variances, and exceptions to the rules.
Just ask the fire marshall how the department feels about stick construction of downtown multistory buildings. Ask the Depot Neighborhood folks how they like an apartment complex in their midst. Ask Fish & Game if the eagle population has increased with more houses along the river. Ask commuters on I-84 and Eagle Road how they like “planned development.” They know the rules are made to be broken and changed.
Blueprint for Growth, Ada Planning Association, COMPASS, Valley Ride, CCDC, Smart Growth, are all gimmicks aimed at creating more houses, apartments, traffic, and demands for services. No where has there been any discussion of limiting growth, following zoning laws already adopted, and protecting those citizens who love this fair city.
As long as government caters to big business interests and not the taxpayer-citizens, those who pay the taxes are in for a rough ride. The GUARDIAN
would like to see a “Neighborhood Association Association” formed to offer a strong (threatening, powerful, loud) voice the Boise Mayor and Council cannot afford to ignore.
We all have something more valuable than all the money spent for political payoffs and that is our vote…common sense and courtesy dictate that you dance with the one who brung ya!
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Jun 2, 2005, 3:21 pm
Thanks for your comments, David. I commend you for your Website. It is always great to hear another perspective. I remember you from my reporter days and you were and are just the kind of pest every city needs.
I would like to say, however, that the Blueprint for Growth, has involved at least 500 Boiseans and is open to as many who want to participate. True, there are outside consultants. I think it’s wise to hear from those who come from cities that have experienced the same growth issues we now face. They tell us what they did wrong, and what they did right. I do agree with you, however, that we have to be aware of duplication and stick to the planning we’ve already done. However, that planning must be flexible to accommodate changing conditions.
And I agree with you that there hasn’t been discussion of “limiting” growth. That’s because I don’t think we want to do that. We don’t want to prevent others who seek our way of life, at least not yet.
And I must disgree with you about neighborhood associations not having access, or having the ability to formulate their own growth plans. Many have and they have been adopted by the city.
Keep up the good work, my friend.
(Editor note: Fadness is chairman of the Boise Planning & Zoning Commission and spokesman for the State Public Utilities Commission.)
Jun 2, 2005, 4:25 pm
Your “Dancing With the Wrong Partner” (May 31, 2005) article is right on target.
For over a year the Depot Bench Neighborhood Association and the Neighborhood Preservation Committee have been stonewalled, ignored, and even ridiculed by ACHD and the City because we have the audacity to ask that the Crescent Rim infill development being ramrodded through the development process be slightly scaled-back to better fit our neighborhhood.
I don’t get it – don’t our elected officials realize that once you ruin a neighborhood it doesn’t just bounce back? Can’t they see that if the neighborhoods are against them they are a one-term government?
I voted for Bieter because Winder was a developer. Silly, silly me.
Jun 2, 2005, 10:11 pm
As one of the 500 that went to the “Blueprint meetings I can tell you that the process was very bias toward the Smart Growth move. It was by no way a balanced approached to planning or what the citizens really want Boise to be.
Jun 8, 2005, 4:04 am
After attending one of the Boise Planning & Zoning Commission meetings it was obvious. They have no respect for public imput. They will do as they dang well please. Only thing they are interested in is Tax Base.
Jun 10, 2005, 9:17 am
Maybe we should just neuter any male who has already sired two children.
Jun 10, 2005, 12:32 pm
If the city leaders (and ACHD and P&Z) think they know more than we do about what is best for our neighborhoods then it is time for new leaders. These people were elected to act on behalf of the public and represent us – – NOT create their own agenda and shove it down the thoats of the neighborhoods. If they will not represent us then we will elect new officials who will!
Aug 30, 2005, 9:43 pm
They are always like that.