Growth Triumphs Over Good

“The mayor told me that if you don’t grow you die. I got to thinking the faster you grow the sooner you die.” –Pete Seeger on Democracy Now!

Ada County’s local governments (Boise, Garden City, Star, Kuna, Meridian, Eagle, ACHD, and Ada County) have been working on a dream plan called “Blueprint For Good Growth” for several years–with few results.

Cynchia Sewell over at The Daily wrote a pretty good progress report Wednesday that probably won’t be met very enthisiastically by the local politicos, but they are at odds with each other anyway.

So far, the outside planner has run up nearly $1 million for the project, the locals have agonized over policies and there is little to show for the efforts. The Blueprint was championed by the Ada County Highway District because they have been forced to cope with the messes created by unchecked growth throughout the county.

The biggest issue for the ACHD is how to be the servant of half a dozen masters. Ustick road is a prefect example. Meridian approves a department store at Ustick and Eagle Road creating a demand for more access from Boise, but Ustick residents don’t want a racetrack in front of their houses.

The answer is something called “concurrency.” The players have to concur before things that affect the other guy are allowed to happen… Boise would be able to hold up the Kohl’s Department store in Meridian or force concessions on The Cliff Development at Hammer flats until adverse effects are dealt with.

Greed is the overriding factor in all of this. Developers want to make money, the cities want the tax base. They all claim to be working in the best interests of the citizens and meanwhile the air gets dirtier, there are more cars, more people, and the lifestyle we all enjoyed is slipping away.

The GUARDIAN sees little chance Blueprint will work because none of the other good sounding movements have worked, Ada Council of Governments (ACOG), COMPASS, Valley Transit, Comprehensive Masterplans, to name a few. With as many rifts, battles, skirmishes, wars, disagreements, contests, law suits, or whatever you want to call them, it is a wonder they even meet.

Eagle thinks Ada County planning sucks, Star sees Boise as “buttinskys,” Kuna doesn’t want to be dominated by Meridian. The developers meanwhile play the cities like cunning children manipulate divorced parents…”Dad gives me this, mom lets me do that.”

Frankly, there is no answer to the problems of growth when the players are all convinced growth is good, growth is inevitable, and you can’t stop growth. Truth is, when an economy is built almost entirely on growth, it is doomed to collapse. And any way you cut it, growth costs money.

The problems will sort themselves out, but not until all the consultants have taken their fees and the reasons for coming to the Boise area are all lost in the smog and traffic jams.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. South Dakota or bust. I’ll take one last breath of smog before I go!!

  2. i said now if only the Guardian would go with you….But I think North Dakota would be more your liking… South Dakota has Wall Drug, and Mt. Rushmore… its too big for us ex-Idaho folks! South Dakota got everything… so the saying goes.

  3. “Growth for growth’s sake is the ideology of the cancer cell”
    –Edward Abbey

  4. Funny how every time they do one of these plans, they think it will work. Actually, it does — for about five minutes. Then somebody with a bagful of bucks shows up and wants to do something that violates the plan and, voila!, the plan changes and/or disappears in a puff of (cigar?) smoke.

    Of course, I’m a newcomer to this area — only been here about 40 years, but in that 40 years I’ve seen and heard about more damned “comprhensive plans, “smart-growth” (now there’s an oxymoron for you from the morons) plans, etc., than Curtis Road has wrecks, and every one of them fizzled. Of course, that’s why they keep making new ones, cuz the old ones disintegrated. And yet they keep telling us the new one would work.

    And, as MudRat and Edward Abbey observed …
    Yep, the fastest-growing thing in the human (or other animal) body is cancer — and we all know about its effects.

    The fastest-growing thing outside said bodies is government at all levels. And the difference is difficult to discern.

  5. ahh smell the growth? I like growth as it is what we do here in America. And if we stop? –See Rome before the dark ages. But we need to be smart and clean and we are not.

  6. Our self serving public servants must remain ecstatic in their successful, headlong, rush to become the next Las Vegas or Phoenix. (At least those areas didn’t give up much farm land.)

    All this smoke screen about “Blueprint for Samrt Growth” is quite entertaining. Some folks have become mesmerized by these antics while the hand(s) we should be watching are adeptly fleecing our checkbooks.

    Guardian: Where did you come up with the old pictures with blue sky in the back ground? They must be ancient because, WHEN we CAN see that far, we view the brown SMOG over Eagle and Star every day .

  7. Inside City Hall
    Sep 7, 2006, 9:59 am

    The blueprint “public” input was all very manipulated – to get specific results. Hope no one is surprised.

    The Council will use it like they use the Comp plan – as holy writ. Yet neither have the authority of law.

    Just more ways to justify already set agendas.

  8. The Blueprint will largely be ignored except when the local goverments to banter to each other. The growthophobe talk sounds like the Democrats and Iraq. More than willing to criticize the current planning /growth without talking about how they would fix it in a realistic way.

    The only way we can hold the goverments accountable for planning decision would be to pass Prop 2 allowing property owners to seek recourse for poor planning decisions. This could be very dangerous and costly for taxpayers as a whole.

    What a wicked web we weave.

  9. Remember “BUY IDAHO”?

    It worked, they (the folks from out side of Idaho) have been doing so as fast as they can.
    Where is the state I was born in, where is my Idaho?

  10. The old Idaho is not COMPLETELY dead yet. She still lives on in small, isolated pockets, infrequent polite interactions, and in the hearts of her native sons and daughters. She has not quite rasped her last pollution choked breath just yet. BUT, she IS very, very ill from the effects of legal and illegal immigration, smart, dumb, malignant, subsidized, controlled, uncontrolled, growth and the government sponsored rape of her lands.

    Growthaholics are wetting themselves with glee but scared witless that they may not be able to maintain the insane, self-immolating, pace of this growth. At our expense we have allowed them to turn our economy into a house of cards built on a spit of sand in the windblown flood plane.

    Because we are so far down the commode on our way to becoming northern California, the Mud Lake solution would probably be frowned upon. . . Since the “growth” has propagated far beyond simple surgery, I suggest the following much needed radiation and chemotherapy to improve Idaho’s prognosis and perhaps foment remission,
    Support/Force immigration law enforcement to remove and prevent more Illegal Aliens–Prosecute everyone who hires illegals–Raise the prime interest rate even more–Shop selectively and support real Idahoan’s endeavors– Abolish our tax funded pimp agencies–Elect responsible candidates who want to conserve what we have left– Force elected officials and their appointed commissions to conduct their bribery and collusion with developers and industry in public venues– Stop ALL subsidies and tax breaks for new business and developments–Establish realistic impact fees for ALL new construction—Tax business, utilities, and manufacturing endeavors at the same rate as residential property owners–Enact and Enforce California style environmental laws for livestock and manufacturing entities.

    I remember the taillights of thousands of U-haul trailers headed south and west during the remission of the seventies. What a beautiful sight!

  11. Hey, dh, those tail lights were not them leaving Idaho, they were just going back to tell more friends to come to idaho.

  12. If Edward Abbey were alive today I think he would agree that fastest growing thing is fat cells. There are more fat people than people with cancer and the death is slower. Death from fat manifests itself in many more ways than cancer.

    Here in Idaho you can add stupid too. Somewhere I saw a sign that said “Stupid kills”.

  13. I think you guys are very quick to forget what has kept our economy afloat the last few years. It certainly wasn’t the Albertsons or Microns. Most of you, unlike myself, are probably transplants to Idaho. It always makes me laugh to see people move here, get settled in (by get settled in I mean change their license plate over), then say “yeah, we don’t want anymore growth, keep em’ out.”

    You also may forget the 80’s when interest rates were pushing 20% and our economy was stagnant. You want new jobs with higher wages, but no growth. You want more parks and recreation areas, but no growth. You want community colleges and better police, fire, and health coverage, but no growth. You may also want better schools, roads, and oh yeah lower taxes, but no growth. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but guess what? In order to get these things we need, yep that terrible word, GROWTH!

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