Short Of Breath, But Feeling Secure


The Daily Paper had a great story on page one Wednesday detailing all the evils of weather inversion and related health risks. They had charts, graphs, and quotes from officials who predict more bad air alerts.

Below the inversion story was a teaser for a made up story from Farmers Insurance ranking the “most secure” places to live and to no one’s surprise the Boise-Nampa area topped the list!

We found the insurance story on-line, but not in the paper as promised. Even so, there was no mention of the constant drive by shootings and killings in the Nampa-Caldwell area. The problems with downtown drinkers was ignored. No mention of the daily traffic jam on I-84 and deadly crashes on that highway. And of course no reference to the the meth crises and cost of new jail facilities.

A weather service guy told the Statesman, “Besides a yearly inversion, spring floods and fire season, the Boise-Nampa area is safe from extremes.”

So why is the GUARDIAN exercised and how is a secure feeling linked inversions? Read on!

We did a little Google News search to see who else bit on the Farmers made up promo. First up was the CENTRAL VALLEY BUSINESS TIMES from Stockton, California which proudly proclaimed three cities in the Central Valley to be among the “most secure.” With more than 100 areas on the insurance company’s made up list, chances are pretty good FARMERS will be mentioned in at least 50 of them–along with Boise.

Then comes the kicker. The California paper’s story had this line, “The Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, area topped all large metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or greater. Nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the area is shielded from severe weather and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Farmers study.”

No wonder so many people are moving here we can’t breath! Thanks to gullible mainstream media that is proud to report a “survey,” we can plan to suck even more dirty air into our lungs.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Yeah, we’ll keep saying it’s great until it gets so bad we’ll have to concentrate on the site=good — like, the Foothills make a beautiful backdrop for the city; too bad you can’t see them. Of course, most of them would be covered by houses anyway, so maybe it’s just as well the smog obscures them.

    I think Shakespeare had it wrong when he had one of his characters say, “First, we kill all the lawyers.”
    They should be second — first chould be all Chambers of Commerce, development agencies (and developers) and other agencies and organizations that tout an area.
    Then the lawyers.
    Of course, maybe the housing boom will slow when we manage to cover all available land with streets, roads and highways, eh?

  2. I was at the BSU / Oregon game this year. The inversion was horrible, could’t even see the foothills from the stadium. Oregon lady and family sitting behind me asked if it was this way very often, that they had read how clean Boise was. I assured them that it was this way most of the time. Even in the summer all you had to do was climb up in the foot hills and look at the grey smog over the valley.

    She seemed to be quite shocked that it was so bad. I heard her whisper to her husband. ( I don’t care what you say I’m not moving here). I smiled knowing I was doing my part. A fellow Boisean beside me whispered. ( Good job)

    EDITOR NOTE–A true “Bad Boise” growthophobe!

  3. Hey, it’s the shopping season. Gloomy people that don’t feel safe don’t spend as much money at the mall.

    Our perception of safety is always relative, we may consciously fear serial killers or child abductors while ignoring the statistically higher risk of driving to work. The Statesman and others always latch on to and promote “stories” that tout our so called quality of life.

    I’d like to see a reality index that includes traffic deaths, stress levels, police shootings, domestic violence and on the job accidents too, G. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be a front page blurb for the Statesman.

    Looks like KPVI loves the story as well, more fuel for the growth fires in Idaho Falls.

  4. Guardian seems to be equating the inversion to the people who live here. However, the inversion is a natural phenomenom that occured before people ever lived in this valley.

    Yes, auto exhaust and wood smoke add particulates to what is simply water vapor, but this is moot when talking about viewing the foothills.

  5. The urban heat island effect is real. The amount of concrete and asphalt in the valley and heating of structures does influence the severity of the inversions and prolongs the duration. Obviously, human activities did not create all of the conditions that lead to inversions, but we certainly make them worse. Water vapor does not burn my eyes or force asthmatics and others indoors.

  6. It’s SQUANK, my friends… right here in River City!

    Woman, grab your children, run and hide.
    Don’t let it catch up with you.
    You gotta fight it to stay alive,
    And if it gets you, man, you’re through.

    It smells so rotten and rank.
    Well, everybody calls it the squank.

    It’s sick, depressin, gettin’ bigger all the time.
    Don’t help it any way you can.
    It’s grey and brown and sometimes lime
    And it’s spreadin’ all over the land.

    And soon we’ll be all breathin’ out of tanks
    If somethin’ ain’t done about the squank.

    The meanest thing the world’s ever bred
    By me and you and my kinfold too.
    A monster can’t live unless it’s fed,
    And it’s being fed by me and you.
    And soon it’s gonna leave the world blank,
    And we’ll all be erased by the squank.

    “Squank,” by those well-known tree-huggin’ enviro–wack-jobs, Z.Z. Top. (Off’n their first album.)

    The Yellow Alert seems to be working well… the streets have been almost EMPTY the last few days! (Or maybe I just can’t see the cars through the Squank any more…)

  7. When my brothers and I went hiking in the foothills back in the 50’s we didn’t go very far up before we could see the terrible black cloud of haze over the valley. This was before natural gas was brought here and people burned coal to heat their homes. (Check a history book to read about the terrible inverstions in London due to coal – hundreds died.) If I remember correctly the air was much improved for a short time before the valley got discovered and we had auto emissions replace coal emissions.

    It is the configuration of the hills that traps the bad air but adding thousands more cars to the mix will hardly help,unless new cars have greatly reduced emissions – even then all of the old cars will be grandfathered and continue to pollute for many years.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong but in the past didn’t the inversions all happen in the winter months? What is with the summer inversion?

  8. I would like to know where the all high and mighty Robert was born and raised. If he cannot answer Idaho, then he is part of the problem. I think his closed mindedness (if that is even a word) belongs on the east coast. I hear the same rambling stupdiness (hopefully that is a real word) back east all the time. Go home Robert, they really miss you!

    EDITOR NOTE–Snoop, I think you were aiming for “stupidity.” In fairness to all, we ARE saddled with the natural inversion and the very real problem is GROWTH. More people mean more cars and more pollution. Doesn’t really matter who got here first.

  9. Idaho Climber
    Dec 7, 2006, 5:38 pm

    The safest place criteria is only based on weather, not human caused issues such as traffic, crime, drinking etc. So throw those factors out and take another look.

  10. Yes Treva, the coal soot was so bad in London, they had to grow garden plants under glass cloches.

    So, besides choking and squinting, what are we doing to modify our behavior and mitigate our contribution to the pollutants trapped by naturally occurring inversions? I have cut down drastically on my car trips, but could do more. We have no wood stove, and don’t burn leaves or yard waste (which isn’t very smart in the first place).

    For our family, the hardest thing to eliminate is my husband’s commute. There are no alternatives to him driving to work alone. He often bikes if at all possible, which he prefers, but at his current location, this is impossible. But, there are many people who could use alternative transit and, for whatever reasons, choose not to do so. We’ve got to get a handle on this though, or I fear “squank” will be the rule, rather than the exception.

    One obvious improvement would be to extend the hours of bus service so that folks don’t get stranded at work after 5pm. Too bad at this point it seems we’d rather breath “squank” than give up the convenience and comfort of our own vehicles.
    Another would be to reduce the use of wood stoves and fireplaces. I know they’re quaint and attractive, but are really appropriate only for a minority of situations, and certainly not in densely populated areas.

    My neighbors continue to use their wood stove regardless of any air quality alerts because it makes them “feel cozy”. Another burns everything he can get his hands on because it’s “easier than going to the dump”.

    Somebody throw me a Christmas bone and tell us how we can protect what remains of our air quality.

  11. Climber, me thinks you have spent too long at high altitude. The Statesman says factors like CRIME, environmental hazards, terrorist threats and job loss were all considered in the study. They all seem quite human, logically speaking.

  12. Man! How long are we going to beat this dead horse of an issue? It is what it is! Let’s just continue to hold it in check and quit wishing it would go away. I have said this before but Snoop, being a “native ” of anything is a pure accident of birth. You had absolutely nothing to do with where you were born so just let it go.

  13. We should be thankful that we do live in a place known as the “Most Secure”. People need to stop complaining about all negatives and focus on the positive aspects of Boise. A solid business environment, a great police force, and an outstanding environment are just some of the few things that make Boise the “Most Secure”.

    EDITOR NOTE–The point of the post is the entire “study” is a publicity stunt for Farmers Insurance. They pay to manufacture the study.

    For instance BYU is dead last in a sexual health survey by the same company because Trojan doesn’t sell many condoms there.
    The “study” company will be glad to SELL you a survey as well. Wanna see the hype?

    If Boise is #1 in anything it is gullibility of the mainstream media.

  14. Snoop, How about right here in Idaho. 61 years now and It is true. Some grow old and wize and others just grow old.

  15. Let me tell everyone-I’ve lved in too many large american cities and living in boise, with all it’s faults ( Lawyers,politicians,bureaucrats and doctors who think they’re god) is a treat after that experience. The only thing that really bothers me is the heat during the summer. I’m gonna invent a hydrogen cooled body suit for that complete with liquid feed back -pack for keeping a case of beer ice cold with a mouth funnel conected to your hat.
    PS- I forgot the landlords!

  16. Just think what Boise is going to attract with hype like “most secure” place. We are going to get even more scared, gullible people than we already have. I remember when the Chamber drooled over King and Queen Agee of MK fame and demise.

    How lucky we were to have them as residents of Boise they crowed. They said the same thing about Larry Johnston of Albertson fame and we all know where that got us. The Boise Chamber attracts the worst of newcomers, the people who want to exploit everything we have, sell it and then leave. But that is the history of this valley and state since the white man moved in.

    I hope the people who buy into the idea of “security” love the suffocating smog blankie we get every winter and fire season.

    Helen Keller said..” Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

  17. John: Thanks for that quote from Helen Keller – I observe the parents in my neighborhood who are so fearful for their children’s safety that you rarely see children outside their houses. What a horrible existence.

    It reminds me to be happy for my memories of hiking in the foothills, swimming in the ponds around the gravel pits in the area, walking home in the dark from the movies without adult supervision. And taking off for Alaska when I was 19 with one suitcase and twenty dollars in my pocket (which was stolen from me). Somehow I got by. Security? Actually I have found most people are pretty helpful everywhere and I expect that is true around the world. That has been my experience anyway.

    My mom drove herself,when she was 19, about 1930, from Oklahoma to Wyoming. When I asked her if she was scared during this trip, she said “people were nicer then.” I don’t know that they were – perhaps we just didn’t have all the “scare” news that is now available 24/7. And, when you are 19, you just aren’t as scared of everything. Smog is another thing entirely.

  18. this morning the weather is so nice that I can hear the Robins coughing in the trees

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