City Government

Masterson Meets Motorists

If you want to have a personal chat with Boise’s Police Chief all you need to do is zip past him in traffic–he has made nearly 40 “contacts” with motorists during his first year on the job–along side the road. No doubt those he meets call him “sir” and say “thank-you” when he lets them off with a warning.policebdge.jpg

While he hasn’t issued any tickets, these cop encounters of the close kind give him a chance to meet the same people the patrol officers encounter and it certainly sends a message to the cops on the beat that the boss is out there “stopping violators.”

He has been on the job a year and a Saturday STATESMAN piece by Patrick Orr reviews some of the low points–like a cop convicted of having sex with a 17-year- old girl and the inquest surrounding the shooting death of the Jones boy. High points include rearranging his patrol assets–eliminating the costly horses for instance–to improve response times to calls and put more officers in the field.

The GUARDIAN agrees that Masterson has made a pretty fair accounting of himself during the year. He has provided some leadership by joining the troops on the beat at night and he is working on a new police headquarters for the future–along with a couple of precinct facilities as well.

Our only real concern–and it is a big one–is the public has been cut out of the loop on what is really a major move that affects all of us. City Council, not the chief, has made the decision to go around the voters.

City Council taxes citizens an extra $2.5 million a year more than they need to run the city budget. The money is put into a “slush fund” with the INTENT–but no mandate –to be used for a police station. Since there is no definitive plan for a location, architectural drawings, size, etc. they can’t really tell how much will be needed. But whatever the decide upon they will have some cash.

The GUARDIAN feels that just like the library, this long term debt should go to the voters in the form of a bond election. That way, THE PEOPLE can decide the location, size, and cost of our police facilities. Boise’s mayor and council will argue that it is simply a “savings account” and they are going to pay cash. They didn’t “save” to pay the library or the Foothills debts and they shouldn’t do it with the police buildings.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I have to disagree with the Guardian on this one. I think it’s very responsible government to save money for an expense that’s not an “if”, but rather, a “when”. Eventually the police will need that building and the city will have the cash to pay for it. The citizens of Boise will not have to pay for a bond election and won’t have to pay interest on the bond (i.e. mortgage). We’ll own it out-right. We elect the council to make the decisions about the size and location of facilities. “They didn’t save to pay the library or the Foothills debts” and we’re paying the interest – Kudos for not making the same mistake a 3rd time. Debt is BAD.

  2. Gotta go with Patman. It is prudent and thrifty, i.e. “conservative” in its traditional definition, to save. I do not buy the Guardian argument that saving money for a police station is cutting the voters out of the loop. The money is identified and set aside in the city budget, which is discussed and adopted at a public meeting. No, I did not go to the meetings, I voted for the people who take care of that. It’s called representative government. The requirement for a vote when going into debt implies an incentive for governments to be thrifty and budget to save for capital expenses. As for the comments about location, size and exact cost of facilities, I think those details are best left to the elected officials. If one is interested in details like building colors and parking spaces go ahead and run for city council.

  3. I agree with the Guardian. If you the politicians won’t put it to a vote of the people there trying to pull something off. This is America!

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