Monday marks 5 years since voters passed the so called “Foothills Levy which created a fund to to keep parts of the Boise Front open to the public. Results have been mixed.
The election was conducted in a fraudulent manner using taxpayer funds to promote passage of the levy. About $50,000 in city money was used to produce a video urging passage. It starred former Mayor Brent Coles before he was jailed.
The ballot language itself was written by those pushing for passage and not even seen by the City Council until AFTER people had begun voting. Had poll watcher Jimmy Carter seen the conduct of the election he would have been sick to his stomach.
That said–and it is all absolutely true–the measure did pass and proponents claim success, but admit to failures–”missed opportunities”– as they like to call them.
While the City has been able to “save” some land from developers, the foothills provide fertile breeding space for “growthophobes” as plans have been announced for populating as much space as possible with homes from Middleton to Lucky Peak. Greedy developers are often in the center of complicated land swap offers which ultimately would create even more land to be populated.
We find it ironic that Boise City policy is to increase housing density in most of the city while Mayor Dave Bieter and staff are advocating more development in the arid land south and east of Boise. Land that is home to rare birds, wintering big game–including resident antelope herds–is the area favored by Team Dave for thousands upon thousands of homes.
In the center of the area Team Dave wants to see developed is the home for killers, rapists, child molesters and all the other felons found in the Idaho State Correctional Institution. Not a nice neighborhood by any standard. Besides, there isn’t any sewer and water out there for housing.
It is downright silly that Boise pays for promotions and web site space to encourage increased population in the city. The city works hand in glove with the Chamber of Commerce and even has an “economic development office” to create more growth in the community. Then they spend the bulk of their time “solving growth issues!” It casts doubt in the mind of the GUARDIAN about the sincerity of conservation efforts.
A developer with plans to plop 4,000 to 5,000 homes near the Blacks Creek exit of I-84 southeast of Boise has submitted an application to Ada County for a “planned community.” No doubt Team Dave will greet this one with joy.
Other cities have recently passed “open space” measures, but not for limited areas–something Boise and the Greenies need to consider. “Conservation easements,” and other open space and habitat preservation efforts should not be limited to the froothills.
A group called the Land Trust of Treasure Valley seems the best bet for a united coalition of growthophobes who could rally to expand wildlife habitat preservation to ALL areas, It is headed by a guy named Tim Breuer.
If he–or someone like him–can extend the group’s focus beyond the Boise River and foothills, we may have a chance at saving some remaining wetland, gravel pit ponds, ditch banks, and other open space.
We haven’t checked lately, but the City has long had a non-resident volunteer ramrodding how Boise taxpayer money should be spent on parks and foothill land.
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