Chamber Creates Growth Problems

Growthophobes are losing the battle daily as local governments and outside business interests continue to “pave Paradise and put up parking lots.”

The Saturday edition of the Daily Paper makes the GUARDIAN want to pull out his three remaining hairs and scream at the inane remarks. On the business page a headline problems “Mayor says GROWTH spurt will hit Caldwell”. Below that is another story headlined, “Chamber chairman sees GROWTH in area entering new phase.”

There are so few of us left to try to stop or control growth these days. Local officials do everything they can to promote growth, manage growth, facilitate growth, deal with growth, etc.

Both Nampa and Caldwell are flooding new interchanges on I-84 with business development that will most certainly slow traffic and kill even more people in traffic jams.

Meanwhile no one sees anything sad or compelling when Nampa Mayor Tom Dale notes the population of Nampa has doubled in 10 years and proclaims, “Those people don’t have the connection to Canyon County. The emotions of the previously charged issues don’t exist today. The challenge is to provide information and opportunities for input.”

Does Dale really mean, “People don’t care anymore because they are all newcomers and it is hard to generate support from folks who have no interest.”

In the other story, Boise Metro Chamber Chair George Iliff will use his influence with government to push for increased vehicle registration fees, gas tax, local sales taxes and more businesses and employees to pay for all the growth problems they previously created. The Chamber recently launched a $5 million campaign to encourage even MORE GROWTH!

The Chamber makes payments to members of the legislature and local government. Mayor Dave Bieter even does a fund raiser for the Chamber each year that grosses over $30,000 which gets recycled back to politicians.

As long as Team Dave, the Idaho Legislature, and Treasure Valley local governments continue to be dominated and paid by the Chamber and big business, we will continue to have more residents who don’t have “history and connection” to the area.

Those of us with a memory are destined to be outspent and bowled over by the growthophiles. But we can make them work for their ill gotten goods.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. The Guardian probably came closest to hitting the proverbial nail regarding the desire to stop growth when it says “it is hard to generate support from folks who have no interest.” Those folks came here because they actually like what they saw, and it’s not hard to figure out they aren’t going to engage themselves in changing things back to the way they used to be (because they don’t know or understand or care how it used to be). They also, unfortunately, don’t understand how it’s going to become — or that there’s little that can be done to somehow halt the momentum. Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t recall how exactly the Guardian and other phobes propose actually halting and/or controlling growth in a state that vehemently advocates free enterprise and limited control on development. No argument that “promoting growth” without facing up to the consequences is a contributor to the increase in infrastructure problems, but if someone (government?) isn’t at least trying to deal with the issues of managing growth, facilitating growth, dealing with growth, etc., are we actually going to be better off? Or does the Guardian and its readers think they’ll be able to do it instead — and better at that?

  2. How do you comment on an issue that the mass media Talking heads describe with their logo ” everythings wonderful” and their brothers in raping the taxpayer, the politicians, refuse to confront.” Uncontrolled growth ” is the problem and as long as the developers contribute enough money to keep their favorite politicians in office it will get more and more out of control.

    The average citizen is so overwhelmed with their financial problems that very few of them have the time to understand what their dealing with. Big Business and it’s unlimited money run our local, county and State politico’s and bureaucrats. Big business wants to grow bigger and charge John Q. Public for their uncontrolled growth. Downtown Boise resembles a moving parking lot with a lot of brand new developments that are close to 100% vacant.

    Look at the apt. complex next to the Multi-million dollar County courthouse-all vacant. Look at the average retail store in Bo-Do-usually very few customers. Look at the ” Hole In The Ground” at 8’th and Main. It’s been there how many years? There is only one solution -and you have to work to make it succeed.

    Get involved in local and state politics.. vote… know who your so-called representatives are… let them know how you feel about an issue such as the above… form political action groups with neighbors to protect your beautiful City from unscrupulous developers and politicians. The City you save might be Boise, “The City of trees,” not new retail,office and housing construction nightmares.

  3. I agree with joe Moran, but we have to remember that 10,000 votes mean less to these folks than $10,000 from those who control them.

    What amazes me is that so many of the folks who move here immediately want to turn it into a clone of the place they left.

    If I wanted to live in Los Angeles or Chicago or somesuch, I would move there, but they leave those places, come here, and seem to think it’s great that maybe another 100,000 or 10 million people will follow, so they can have the traffic, smog, crime, etc. that they’re used to.

    Yes, I’m a transplant, too. I moved here from Tucson, Arizona, about 40 years ago to take a job that was vacated by someone who moved to Tucson to take a job. I bought a house that was vacated by someone who moved out of the area. In other words, a straight swap — neither increasing nor decreasing the population in either place.

    But most of the people moving in now seem to want brand new houses. While thousands of formerly owner-occupied homes sit empty, awaiting buyers, the builders are tossing up particle-board-and-staples McMansions as fast as they can for the newcomers who apparently are just too good or too important to live in a “used” house — especially if it’s smaller than 6,000 square feet.

    What’s the answer? Unfortunately, I have no idea. We can change councilors, commishes, legislatorites etc. all we want, and still keep getting ones who win because the folks with the big bucks dump thousands of dollars into their campaigns — and, of course, expect “nothing” in return (except to be able to control their votes and get whatever they want in laws, zoning, etc.).

  4. Gee, so glad Joe F. and his gang had Brent Coles run out of town on a rail.

    How ironic. Brent was the conservative mayor – with the progressive agenda. More money for art, smart measured growth – an aggressive anti-drug campaign, a thriving downtown, neighborhood investment, parks, foothills preservation… the list goes on.

    Then there’s the supposedly liberal Dave Bieter who is beholden to business and special interests. He’s done jack sh– to build a legacy, and I can’t seem to find anything positive he’s done for the CoT.

    Brent had bad people around him – it’s sad. But at least he had a positive vision for this city; one that managed growth, instead of getting streamrolled.

  5. “Take all the trees and put them in a tree museum and charge all the people a dollar and a half just to see them. Don’t you know it always goes that you don’t know what you’ve lost til its gone, pave paradise and put up a parking lot.”

    I remember that song from when I spent a few years in California. It cost actual money to go to see the redwoods. Being from Idaho I thought that was just ridiculous – these are trees for God’s sake – and being charged to stay overnight at a camping site even more ridiculous. It has all happened in Idaho anyway.

    A short few years ago I could take my out-of-state relatives to spend a few days in McCall. That town as well as most of Valley County now belongs to outsiders and I expect it will be out of range in cost before long. That happened a long time ago with Sun Valley.

    This is the result of the income spread in this country. The rich get richer and the poor have to stay home – can’t even afford to go camping. Well, just keep voting for the Repubs, folks, and soon you won’t be able to put food on your table. But, hey, the rich folks will not have to rub elbows with us working people. Except at opposing sides at the food service level, maybe.

    It just makes me sick. Why do Idahoan vote for Repubs? Do they like being exploited?

  6. Over the last few months, it seems the recurring theme in this blog is “anti-growth”. It has been said, to me as a matter of fact, that “living here for 33 years does not a native make”. Being a native of ANYTHING is purely a coincidence of birth. In choosing to move here to take advantage of the lifestyle, the climate, the people, and the tremendous atmosphere for raising a family, simply put, makes those who have chosen more of a “visionary” than a bunch of Johnny-come-lately’s”.

    In my opinion, there isn’t a nickle’s worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats. Neither group should be looked upon as “saviors”. As the population grows in major urban areas, there is a natural desire to find a better climate to live out your life. That is what makes Idaho so attractive. So why don’t we push hard to get managed, logical growth efforts rather than trying to build a great big fence around us.

    The Guardian is right on with the comment about the Chamber’s efforts. To continue to promote growth here at this time is really dumb! That is the place where we should put our efforts to control an “out of control” situation.

    EDITOR NOTE–Cyclops, thanks for your comments. We have often said we would welcome ANYONE who chooses to live here with open arms as long as they play by the rules, pay their way like the rest of us, and come to be PART OF THE COMMUNITY and not just buy up land on speculation and ruin the place before they head for the next green pasture to pave. We absolutely DO NOT need to attract people with advertising and promises of “good business climate.”

  7. Some quick comments on some of the comments from above:

    “Good business climate” is code for low wages and no benefits.

    Uncontrolled growth is not the problem, growth is the problem.

    Have you seen all the houses being built by the interstate —- in Mountain Home, of all places?

  8. OK, we know uncontrolled development is a huge problem. But as Stephen asked, what are our ideas for changing the situation? Most of the comments here do not offer any suggestions, other than Joe rightly recommending more involvement in local politics. But then as others point out, there are financial and political obstacles in the path of full civic participation.

    So, here are some suggestions that address the process by which we elect our representatives and make decisions. This isn’t directly about development, but how we get people elected that are not beholden to business and development over existing neighborhoods and community needs.

    First there must be radical campaign finance reform. The budgets for federal races are skyrocketing and dragging state and local races into the stratosphere as well. Under the current system, ideas and vision come second to fundraising. Large donations from PACS and corporations dwarf and dilute the contributions and influence of individual citizens. Publicly financed campaigns have been successful in several states and is at least one way to move away from the candidate with the most money almost always winning.

    Second, instant run-off voting would help eliminate the chances for divisive elections with more than two candidates where the victor ends up with less than a majority of support. I think this would encourage more folks to run, perhaps form coalitions, and avoids the more costly approach of a runoff after the fact. Voters would rank their choices, and the candidate with the most overall support would win. Republicans in particular ought to be thinking about this after Bill Sali became the party candidate with only 26% in the primary.

    As long as the current system is in place, it will be very difficult to overcome the entrenched pro-development folks in our State and local government. (We’d better be keeping a close eye on the Land Board, now all Republican and very pro-development, along with “Auction It Off Otter” in the Statehouse and and “Resort Development Dirk” as Sec. of Interior). Short of that we must all, as Joe said, vote. But that is not enough. Citizens have to be involved at every level, attend hearing, lobby, testify, and be prepared to support decent candidates with our time, and our money. If we as “ordinary” people choose not to participate financially, then candidates are forced into a position where they become beholden to other monied interests. We must take ownership of the system, and that requires a commitment of both time and money.

    Also, we need to address the way we make decisions, and move away from an adversarial approach, be less attached to our own positions, and find ways to support public dialogue that is oriented towards problem solving and inclusion, rather than partisan posturing and exclusion.

    As I said, this doesn’t directly address issues of growth, but offers opportunities to dilute the influence of big money developers and bring new leadership in to positions of authority.

    Lastly, we all need to continue to educate ourselves about the process and the functions of the different entities involved. I want to learn more about the business of the County and City in regards to how development is regulated (or not). Legally, what tools exist for these entities to control growth?

    Our radical individualist society has elevated personal desire and wealth accumulation above any sense of community or vision for long term sustainability. We have come to equate and economic system, capitalism, with our political system, representative democracy. Not everything should be run as a business. Unless we actively and aggressively fight back against thoughtless development, we’ll all end up living in a congested, generically corporate, and decidedly unpleasant world.

  9. Idagreen’s statements “Most of the comments here do not offer any suggestions” and “and move away from an adversarial approach, be less attached to our own positions, and find ways to support public dialogue that is oriented towards problem solving and inclusion” are right on target.

    I have said this before elsewhere at the Guardian. The pessimistic attitudes and the animosity shown toward the development community and local governments is not helping any cause. It only serves to make sure your voice is not being heard as clearly as it should.

  10. All right, idagreen — something beyond just a complaint! Until there’s success in moving away from the status quo through logic and an understanding of what it means, we’re not going to see anything change. (Before the election I talked to someone very unhappy with Sali but still intending to vote for him because according to the Idaho thought process “he may be a turd but at least he’s a Republican turd.” Huh? And this leads to good government?

  11. So let’s assume for a minute that I am a growthophobe that wants to effect change in the way development occurs. I have several options of how to be involved.

    Typically, I will show up to a public hearing and rant about how this particular development will ruin my quality of life, increase congestion, destroy my children’s education and so on…..then one of those dirty rotten politicians will just ignore me and approve the development anyway. Of course the only reason they approved the development is that the developer had already “bought” the votes needed.

    Probably didn’t have anything to do with the fact that the application complied with the currently adopted version of the development ordinances (zoning and subdivision) that guarantee landowners certain entitlements. City and County leaders don’t get to make this stuff up as they go. If you truly want to change the way that development is regulated in Idaho, change the regulations, not the politicians. Different politicians applying the same law will produce the same results. Propose responsible changes to the city and county law, take the time to see your changes through the public process until it is adopted. Of course, when some whacko property rights guy stands up and tells you how stupid your idea is and that you must be “bought off” by some special interest to want to be involved in the process, don’t be offended by it.

    After the public process is complete, your idea will either prove itself worthy or it won’t. If it does, congrats…if it doesn’t you can still blame all the bought off politicians for the failures of the world. My point being is that we are a land of laws. Some of our laws are good, some bad. They can all be changed. Quit crucifying our elected officials, respect your neighbors vote, and focus your energy somewhere effective.

  12. We can all talk about changing the system till the cows(probably from California) come home. It seems to me that the real “controllers” of our collective destiny are the County Commissioners, the Mayor and the City Council.

    If there were 100 people that showed up at EVERY meeting and held these folks feet to the fire, those 100 people would own the local governments. Politicians listen to those that threaten them politically, and when 2-3 people show up at the council or county commish meetings, they think they can do what they @#$%$@# well please. If we want to limit the loss of “the good old days in Idaho” then we have to take it back from the local politicos. It is our community. If we want it back, we have to take it back!

  13. To the A Team 88–

    You talk a good game and some of your points are, well LOGICAL.

    However when the Chamber can get most of the Treasure Valley politicos to leave town and listen to speakers selected by them to plan growth in the manner most beneficial to the Chamber it leaves little hope for people like Cyclops to get their point across to local politicos.

    Combine that with special laws that exempt the legislature from any ethical conflicts when they take gifts from the Chamber to tour various parts of the state and the average Idahoan is simply without any voice.

    I have to hand it to the GUARDIAN for having the temerity to call it like it is. Logically I should offer an alternative, but I don’t have the war chest to do it. Some of the politicos don’t even understand they have been co-opted. The G accurately points out Mayor Dave does a fund raiser for the Chamber with his “state of the city gig.”

    When the Idaho Business Review picked up on that fact the publisher got a nasty gram from the Chamber. When the Statesman reported on BOTH the success AND failures of Team Dave, the brass received calls from the Mayor’s Office–intimidating to some reporters when you have to dodge bullets from City Hall.

  14. Couple of comments –

    1. To Clancy – many of the attitudes shared in this blog are the result of dealing with officials (and developers) who simply think they know it all and do not care for public input. The simple fact is that virtually all those who comment here have had personal experiences with city council members, ACHD members and others who simply have no interest in others views and think they know it all.

    To say that the blog rubs these officials and developers the wrong way and is not helping the “cause” really doesn’t matter because they don’t care anyway – nothing is going to help other than removing them and shutting them down.

    2. Cyclops – even if there are 100 people at every public hearing (and many of us have been to many with well over 100) – they still don’t care. They have their agenda and they justify it in very illogical ways and do what they want anyway – even when 350 people show up – they still don’t care.

    3. It is VERY worrisome to see a Chamber of Commerce now in the business of PROMOTING bigger GOVERNMENT and MORE TAXES!!! I thought the chamber was the voice of business and the free market – not the marketing arm of the City Council! I am going to cancel my membership if they keep this up and others should too.

    4. Over the last 3-4 years (especially since Team Dave and the Alan, Elaine and Jerome show) individuals and neighborhoods and others have pleaded with the GROWTH ADDICTS to slow down and look at alternatives and solutions. Virtually all have been ignored. It is all about tax revenue, density, massive condos, skinny row houses, overloaded streets, mass urbanization of neighborhoods, and on and on and on….and that is the way they like it. Their actions speak for themselves.

  15. Dreaming- Did you forget to read the daily on Saturday? I don’t know M3’s intentions but they have “donated” more land to Eagle’s regional park in the works. Here is an excerpt from the North Ada County Foothill Assoc. newletter posted on their website:

    “We’re very happy that M3 has decided to donate an additional 800 acres of open space on either side of Willow Creek Road, just south of Little Gulch. People, this is a direct result—the first of many, I believe—of the strong presence and testimony by many of you at the M3 hearing on November 13. This is concrete, dramatic proof of the power of the neighborhoods to affect these development proposals in real, significant ways.
    Thank…citizens helping to create a sustainable vision for the future of Ada County’s Northern Foothills… you again, enthusiastically and sincerely, to all those who attended the hearing and to those who testified. When we act together and with one voice, we’re a force to contend with.”

    Good results can happen for all stakeholders when positive interaction and collaboration take place. Is it easy?, probably not. Is it frustrating? probably yes. Is it worth it? YES.

    Guardian- Sorry to hijack your posting. I don’t see the Chamber as the root cause to growth so I cannot address it. As you can see, anytime the word GROWTH is mentioned it creates excitement.

    Clancy–Glad to provide the forum for thoughtful discussion. EDITOR.

  16. Talking about all this Treasure Valley growth makes me cranky. It’s like talking about cancer. Perhaps we need chemo or radiation therapy for urban growth. Can’t we talk about poop again?

  17. Relevant meeting for those of us in NW Boise.

    A meeting of the Collister Neighborhood Association will be held on Wednesday, November 29 at 7 PM at the Collister United Methodist Church, 4444 Taft St.

    Agenda includes (among other items):

    Update of the Infill Task Force by Julie Klocke

    A discussion about how we can protect our neighborhoods as the foothills get developed with presentations by:
    Paul Woods ADA Co. Commissioner elect.
    Paul Werner President of the Boise Central Foothills Neighborhood
    Sarah Wiltz President of the Sunset Neighborhood
    Joanne Pence From the Dry Creek Rural Neighborhood
    Bruce Eggelston Boise City Planner

  18. If you want a good example of what growth has done take a close look at Nancy Merril’s “Rodeo Drive” concept in Eagle. As we know, she lives in Island Woods and pressured the ITD to get a stoplight on Hwy 55 (Eagle Road) a state hwy designed to MOVE TRAFFIC.

    Then she tried to get access to her development by taking the city attorney down to ITD/ACHD (at taxpayer’s expense mind you). Fortunately the hwy boys finally told her to stop comming down there–they were not going to have access via the bypass.Of course she tried to shroud her motives by saying the Fire Dept needs access—Eagle FD knew when they went in there what the access problem was. I’m sure Merrill will be back again for another try.

    More stoplights are planned for Eagle road which has turned into the states greatest traffic mess thanks to the City Council approving all the subs without proper egress and ingress. Take a close look at the downtown area–every available space is infilled with buildings which have no central theme. Now they are starting a commission (Chamber-Commerce) to study what can be done about “tying the downtown together”. Don’t you think it is about 15 years too late??? The only way they can tie it together now is to put a rope around the city…..What a mess. My message for Star and Middleton—if you want to see what NOT to do, study Eagle’s fiasco.

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