City Government

Voters Say “NO” to Library Scheme

The Boise library bond failed for only one reason–not enough people voted for it!

As a cobbled together proposal with plenty of meddling by the Boise mayor and council, it was doomed from the beginning. And the timing couldn’t have been worse with taxpayers outraged at government in general and a bigger school bond looming in about a month.

Using a city employe on a leave of absence from the mayor’s office and twisting the arms of businesses to donate 95% of the campaign costs didn’t set well with voters either.

There will be cries to change the law and require only a simple majority, but that would just give even more REPRESENTATION WITHOUT TAXATION. That’s right, read on. In the old days only property owners of record could vote–outlawed by the courts years ago.

Since only those who own property pay for the increase in taxes, the two-thirds majority protects those who own property, but cannot vote–like businesses and anyone who lives outside the city. With nearly HALF the valuation of all property in Boise not represented at the polls, the super majority makes sense.

The GUARDIAN would suggest Boise City Councilors wipe the slate clean and let the citizens have a significant role in the next proposal–don’t limit participation to only “friends of the library” which implies those who voted NO are not friends.

Here are the simple steps toward new branch libraries:

–Reduce the bond amount and the scope of the proposals. Offer them up one at a time. We simply don’t trust the city to budget four years out.

–Forget about the current land parcels that were acquired by a developer from another developer who got a commission for his secret negotiations on behalf of the previous administration. Federal Way near the Post Office would seem a wiser choice than Bown Crossing at the end of Park Center if you really want to serve the public.

–Coordinate with Boise schools. They are talking about a recreation center within a stone’s throw of the Ustick-Cole location which also touted plans for a rec center.

–Explore converting a school that is set to be closed into a library.

–Be specific about a “police presence” in the proposed libraries. We know from experience all those “mini-cop shops” at Albertson’s and in the Vista neighborhood faded from glory and are now a dim reminder of past plans.

There was one good thing that came out of the entire process. The City officials need a pat on the back for allowing us to vote. It would have been a travesty to spend the money through devious means knowing the voters wouldn’t OK the process at the polls.

County Commishes should have done that on their “justice center.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. For the 57% of the voters that are so upset this morning about your loss… not to worry! One of your city council gals was just on the radio and basically said that they would figure out a way to get it done… maybe one at a time, maybe remodel what they have. Put it in the budget ( another way of saying they are going to hide it).

    And for us us that voted against it… not to worry. Our taxes will go up one way or the other!

    Anyone want to bet that they will be trying to do away with the super majority?

  2. –Anyone want to bet that they will be trying to do away with the super majority?—

    Count on the Statesman having a editorial in the next few days decrying the super majority and how it’s so unfair that municipalities can’t raise taxes easier.

  3. Maybe the Statesman should donate $38 Million to pay for the libraries – rather than just telling us the super majority is unfair.

    The ideas that the Guardian has suggested are the correct actions – too bad all our elected officials have agendas that don’t allow them to think beyond their own ideas.

    At least we got to vote this time – let’s see if they take that away too.

  4. If the school bond fails the Statesman will be leading the charge against the super majority. Gee maybe we should go back to where only property owners vote! Seems fair to me!

  5. The Guardian’s explanation of the logic behind the super-majority is great! Thanks. (Memorize it, folks. Especially you concerned taxpayers.)

    I predicted the library bond would lose, and I’ll predict that the school bond will lose. The folks I talk to are generally bewildered by the notion of tearing down functional schools (that in many cases they attended, or their kids or grandkids attend) and building new ones. And hearing that Boise district enrollment is dropping, yet $90 million is needed for new buildings. (I’m sure that a week or two before, we’ll start getting all the color-glossy brochures that explain everything.)

    (My daughter is a student at South Jr. High. She is in favor of a bond that will raise enough to tear down the existing school… but not enough to rebuild!)

    This is probably a dumb question… but has anybody considered having the library bond election, the school bond election, and maybe even the primary election, on the same day? Seems they could save a FEW taxpayer dollars by doing something like that. Maybe us rustics are just too dense to absorb all those issues in one sitting. (When I voted yesterday, I made DARN SURE that the chad got punched!)

  6. What is the Mayor Thinking??
    Feb 9, 2006, 12:34 pm

    After reading the mayor’s comments in the Daily Rag this am it sounds like he thought the neighborhoods would just roll-over and support his half-baked library scheme.

    After ramming row houses, increased traffic and massive condo projects down our throats and destroying our historic neighborhoods how does he think we would feel?

    As usual his assumptions of what the voters think is HIGHLY flawed….that is our city leaderships’ whole problem.

  7. Does anyone realize we are now in the 21st century! You know, paper-less and hence book-less and consequently library-less. Even Simplot, through his involvement with Micron realizes most of the knowledge of mankind can be stored digitally on just a few DVDs or in Data bases and can be accessed instantly, remotely, effectively, easily, with a funky computer and broadband or WiFi. Boise is so 19Th century to entertain the notion of building sand castles at low tide. New paradigm, you don’t have to go somewhere to look through musty books and torn magazines. Hello! the only place we need a “paper trail” is at the ballot box.

  8. Help me to understand the city’s logic or lack there-of– The city couldn’t put up for election the Ten Commandments issue because city elections cost in excess of $50,000. But it is OK to have separate elections for bonds within a month of each other, when they want to raise taxes for their pet projects. Wouldn’t it make more sense and save taxpayers money if all matters were put on just one or two elections a year?

    ED NOTE–
    Kate is mixing issues and jurisdictions, but her point is valid when to comes to holding a single bond election annually with a shopping list of projects. Boise School District covers a different area than Boise City, so it would be nearly impossible to combine city and school elections.

  9. So did anyone else see the news last night that showed Mayor Dave Bieter handing out Fahrenheit 451 books to a gathering at City Hall? I am wondering what they are trying to say?

  10. One last word about the Library bond. Why libraries? There are many other worthy projects that need funding around here.

    My pet projects are the proposed WhiteWater park and Esther Simplot park. Projected costs; only $5 million for the two, that’s far less than the $37.8 million library bond.

    No-one can argue that reading isn’t important, but as a previous poster implied, libraries are obsolete and the internet is a far more efficient source of learning and research now.

    Each of the three libraries would have had an impact at best only in the immediate surrounding area. The WhiteWater park and ES park will have a much greater regional impact than any library ever will. I’ll even wager they will have a super-regional impact, drawing in people (tourists with money to spend) from dozens and even hundreds of miles. Do a google search for Reno River Festival and read and learn. Now try researching the same info down at the Library!

    As far as I know, very little is being done to get those parks off the drawing board. So—Mayor Bieter and City Councilors—why not a bond for construction of the WhiteWater Park???

    My admission of bias; I own two residential properties within a mile of the WW and ES parks. However, I stand by my statement that these parks will have a beneficial impact to all of metro Boise, the State of Idaho and beyond.

  11. The projects Boisecvnic described are important and things are happening! We, the citizens, will be responsible for raising the money to make the Esther Simplot happen. It isn’t etched in stone what it will be like, but the whitewater park is pretty much ready to get going. See the Boise River Park site for more info. The river is already a great boating venue and all we are planning is to extend the opportunity to more areas, more people, and provide the resources to enhance the river in the process. Come down to Idaho River Sports on April 1st and help us make it happen.

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