Interesting Stuff

Nampa A Secure Cesspool?

Less than a week after the Boise-Nampa area was declared the “most secure” place to live in America comes a different view.

A reader–and NPR (public radio)–tell us of a new book which includes mention of Boise’s neighbor to the west.

Nampa was featured in Dave Gilmartin’s list of “The Absolutely Worst Places to Live in America,” a newly published book that includes, “over 80 of the dirtiest, smelliest, most miserable cesspools and armpits of this great land of ours.”

Of Nampa, Gilmartin writes, “It’s hard to say who’s got it worse, the cows or the huddled masses of high school drop outs Nampa cranks out annually, whose prospects start with the meat plant and end with the sugar factory across town.”

Our reader opines, “We can only hope this little tome will help slow down the reservations at the newest ‘Stepford Wives’ golfing community at Hunter’s Point.”

Of course the truth is that Nampa is neither the “most secure” nor a “cesspool.” You probably won’t find Nampa’s Mayor Tom rushing out to one of the bookstores in his latest unique shopping mall to buy a copy of Gilmartin’s book.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I think the book is already out of date. If I remember correctly the meat plant closed up during the time that Robert Vasquez was talking about illegal immigrants. Swift & Co. said they had run out of cows. I think they might have been worrying about a visit from ICE. (See today’s news for more about Swift & Co.)

    Then, again, didn’t I read that a Canadian company has reopened the plant? Perhaps it is now employing Canadian meat packers. Legal ones, we might assume.

    It would be interesting to know the rest of the story.

  2. Whenever I see the local news fawning over JR Simplot and his heroic exploits as a captain of industry, I think of all the poverty, crime, and general degradation of most of Nampa/Caldwell.
    Sure, there are some new strip malls here and there, and a bunch of cookie cutter subdivisions, but for the most part Simplot’s legacy of low-wage food production jobs left its ugly mark.

  3. Geee! It didn’t mention all the drive by shootings, crime and Illegals that the growth has brought with it.

  4. There are many who have called Nampa and Caldwell there home with pride for years. Something is attracting new folks there.

    I wonder how many of the low cost french fries and hasbrowns that James and other negative thought folks have eaten that came from that area?

    Not all people can or desire to live in the Highlands of Boise and put the dollar as their ultimate goal to strive for.

    EDITOR NOTE–It isn’t about Nampa or Boise. The point is that lists and books are all a bunch of BS–whether they say nice things or bad things! It is all hype and not a true reflection of the town (s).

  5. Nampa is not a cesspool nor should Boise be in the top five or ten “best places” to live. I can say this because I was born here. It’s a nice place, but the inversions are going to drive me away. I have digressed.

    It’s all just hype. It is our misfortune that (it appears that) the majority of US citizens have been trained to believe the hype rather than look beneath it, than to do their own in depth examination of what they are told or even what they themselves think and or say.
    James, you are right. Our “great” Simplot (although he is not alone) has left his ugly mark on Nampa. And our state continues allowing a pitiful minimum wage. Less wages, less income tax.

  6. I’m a little confused, Guardian. Since there’s some (reasonable) digression to the topic of the Potato King, and the many low-wage jobs he created…
    1) Are those who besmirch him suggesting that Nampa and Caldwell would have somehow been better places, if Simplot hadn’t come along with those jobs?
    2) Did he underpay his army? If so… why did they stay on? How much per hour is somebody worth, if their “skill” is sorting big potatoes from small potatoes?

    I’m not defending Simplot, necessarily. But I used to work for him. (Not on the assembly line, thank goodness.) I always thought I was fairly compensated. I even met the man on several occasions. I took a tour of his plant out west of Caldwell, and I believe the least-desirable job I’ve ever observed was there. A half-dozen or so women were sitting, with hairnets and paring knives, watching peeled potatoes go by on a conveyor belt, and cutting away the black spots on the ones that had black spots. Awful work, but those ladies are NOT going to earn $25,000 per year with full benefits, unfortunately.

    I’d ask the residents of Nampa… would you say it’s closer to cesspool, or armpit? (I wonder where Gilmartin, the author lives. And, was he standing downwind of the sugar-beet plant when he decided to include Nampa on the list? That would ‘splain a lot!)

  7. Nampa could be a much better place if we could get the illegals deported. It puts too much of a strain on the social services. Just look at the Canyon County jail roster and you will see what I am talking about.

  8. The Canyon County jail roster shows relatively few to be held on immigration holds. Lots of latinos, few immigration violations. One should be careful as there is no discernable difference between illegal and legal, at least not by merely looking.

    EDITOR NOTE–Tam, nicely said.

  9. Just as the Guardian suspected, these lists are silly and do not mean a whole lot. The only thing they are good for is a paycheck for the creator. The author is a young punk(30) from New Jersey. He only did Internet research to write this book. Here is a excerpt from an article about him:

    “Gilmartin, a New Jersey native, writes that his list-making method was unscientific. Over six months, he compiled online input from people describing what they think are the worst places to live.”

    If everyone here believed what they read online, we would be in a world of hurt. Here are multiple links to articles about this naive man.

    Besides for all the growthophobes, why not relish in his limelight.

  10. Sorry for the 2nd post, but I was using Yahoo instead of Google search. The real author is to chicken to use his real name. Another excerpt from a better article :

    “In reality, “Dave Gilmartin” is a pseudonym being used by a 30-year-old New York advertising copywriter — raised in South Jersey, schooled at a Boston-area (but not Harvard) university — who admits to never setting foot in many of the cities and towns included in the book.

    He said he doesn’t have to go to Detroit to know that it stinks. “I think enough evidence exists,” he said in an interview.

    Both Gilmartin and his publicist declined to reveal his real name, which he says he wants to keep secret for his own safety.”

    EDITOR NOTE–The folks who write all those GOOD things for insurance surveys and magazines are no more knowledgeable and have not visited the places they list either.

  11. Re Simplot’s low wages: I never worked for him, but I did some mighty low-paid jobs at various times over the years.

    While I certainly would have preferred higher pay plus benefits, I recognized that when I was hungry, even one dollar was a whole lot better than no money at all!

    So, if J.R. hadn’t provided those low-wage jobs, would there have been any other jobs available for workers in the area? If not, what would they do? Would you prefer they go on welfare, or quitely starve, or perhaps out of desperation to feed their kids and themselves, turn to crime — shoplifting, armed robbery, burglary? (No, I never got desparate enough to turn to crime, but I believe that if I had not been able to pick up a few bucks at various jobs to feed my kids, I would have done whatever I had to to get food for them, if not for myself.)

    No, I’m not defending paying low wages, just pointing out that if the alternative is no wages, well …

    As for the “secure cesspool” … Hey, a cesspool is a very safe place to live. Did you ever hear of a cesspool being burglarized?

    I’d much pefer that all these know-nothing magazine writers refer to all our Idaho towns as cesspools, rather than touting them as wonderful places that everyone in the country should move to.

  12. Gordon and Bikeboy, one thing jumped out at me about your comments regarding JR. He now is worth billions of dollars. It is a testament to our free market system that he was able to amass such great unimaginable wealth. Yet his employees, while an integral part of the business from which his wealth derives, enjoy as small a part of the income generated from that business as he could get away with paying them.

    His employees were treated as fungible goods with no benefits leaving families constantly teetering on the edge of solvency one diagnosis away from losing everything. They also have little money to spend on supporting a local vibrant economy. I think you offer a Hobson’s choice on whether Idaho would have been left with no jobs as much of JRs inital business acumen was devoted to exploiting Idaho’s existing resources whether its phosphate, cattle ranchers, potato farmers, amenable legislators or cheap labor.

    But I do think those busisness policies directly relate to the condition of the communities in which they are located as James indicated. Would Idaho have been better off without? The growthophobes here might think so. Speaking of ethical business policies, “Its a Wonderful Life” must be playing somewhere right now.

    With regard to attracting growth our political leaders seem to be more focused on quantity rather than quality. With regard to the post Guardian, yes its all a matter of perception, don’t believe everything you read, and caveat emptor.

    EDITOR NOTE–For non-library types: fungible goods are interchangeable, easily replaced.

  13. Wow, it’s amazing how one reader’s sarcasm can mutate into a quasi-racist, anti-capatalist rant! Lighten up people, the book is supposed to be “humor.”

  14. Tam, I don’t know how you can say there are only few immigration violations. There are 62 out of 600 that are showing immigration violations today. The rejected jail bond in Canyon county was for 72.5 million dollars. That means greater than 7.25 million dollars would have gone to jail illegal immigrants. That is a huge burden to the taxpayers in Canyon County and money that would be better spent elsewhere.

    EDITOR NOTE–Very good example of tangible cost. Tam may have been looking at just the recent arrest file. Either way, if there is a 10 % rate it doesn’t matter if they are currently in jail or not. The point is of 600 recent arrests 62 had immigration violations.

  15. I just know many who view the number of latinos in jail and assume they are illegal. Seems it would be a better use of time for INS to deport those here illegally who are in jail, as opposed to raiding meat packing plants.

    I know I feel differently about this than lots of others. Our system is broken. BROKEN. I guess I’d mostly like to see the 72.5 million spent on something other than warehousing meth addicts. That’s the problem we ought to be railing against, but that too gets blamed on illegal immigrants.

  16. Lets be objective and get beyond the hype that our politicians and chambers of commerce love. What is the HS dropout rate in nampa /Caldwell? How does it compare to the national average? Does poverty and the violence and ignorance that it produces have anything to do with how Mr. Gilmartin feels about the area.

    Those huge dairy farms do export quite a stink to the surrounding area while their waste seeps into the groundwater that the community eventually drinks. Add the inversions and pollution that this valley is saddled with ( Canyon county still refuses to inspect it’s vehicles for emissions) does not help. I live in Boise and I can tell you if you want to see first hand how the auto has damaged our beautiful state and country with it’s environmental destruction move here.

    Thirty years ago Boise and environs were a rural/cowboy town. Now it’s a vast polluted autobahn/parking lot with one person in every car ( usually on a cell phone) as the country sends it’s children to Iraq and Afghanistan to die or be mutilated for the cheaper gas prices we pay than the rest of the world. Wake up America, where you live can be the best place to live, but you have to make it that.

  17. The ugly little secret that is never told is that meth is fuel for many low wage jobs and actually benefits many businesses in this valley that rely on a cheap labor pool. Meth abuse is rampant in the low wage food service and retail sector.

    How else can someone work 60-80 hours /week at multiple low wage jobs. Meth makes people feel like superman. Wal-Mart benefits too. Where else can they afford to shop with the money leftover after you buy your weekly meth bag?

    Another reason we have so many illegals is the fact that wealth has been concentrated so much in this country. By eliminating the middle class you eliminate taxes and the demand for services. You also increase the demand for cheap labor IE: illegals. Drive wages down and profits rise. We are in a un-sustainable cycle of rampant capitalism that worships the bottom line and profit at any cost that will eventually consume itself.

    How that will manifest itself, I have no idea. It’s so easy to blame illegal labor, especially if they are brown. By keeping labor illegal and scared, wages are kept down for the rich to exploit. This reminds me of the post Civil War era. When we exit Iraq, you watch, the bigots, racists, KKK, Nazis and the like will become very active in terrorizing this country. The white, nationalistic Timothy McVeigh types who are currently quiet, enjoying the Iraq blood bath, will wake up in a town near you.

  18. The US is choking on pc, worse than ever. Please everyone, just get a spine. Follow the law. Enforce the law. Make your govenment enforce the law. Love your neighbor…..even if your sure they’re different than you….(probably not as much as you think)

    Merry Christmas! God Bless.

  19. For you newcomers, this isn’t the first time the Nampa/Caldwell area has shown up on a list like this.

    When I lived there 15 years ago it was ranked as one of the 20 worst small cities in America by some publication(can’t remember which). It didn’t surprise me at the time.

    Not all of the area is a “cesspool”. There are some nice neighborhoods, higher education opportunities, and fishing/boating spots.
    Unfortunately, from my perspective, those positives are outweighed by the negatives.
    The negatives being the god-awful,ugly strip mall development that dominates the area and crime that South Central Los Angeles would be proud of.

    If you would like to get a feel for why the area is perceived poorly by many, take a walking tour of North Nampa(South of I-84) or Caldwell between I-84 and the railroad tracks.
    (And I hope you understand I am being facetious about walking through either of those areas. I wouldn’t recommend it.)

  20. I have always wondered what the meaning behind, “It’s so easy to blame illegal labor, especially if they are brown,” is. Is it harder if they are black, blue, green, or red?

    An area doesn’t get to be on list like this for one particular problem. You have stand back and look at the big picture. Drugs, illegal immigrants, low wages, crime, environment, overall quality of life, and even things such as weather are looked at. You cannot say a place is bad because of one particular problem.

    Also one needs to look at what is being done to fix the problem, and more importantly what is being done to prevent the problem. Our society is very reactive to problems. It may be cheaper in the long run to build preventative measures such as treatment and detox centers as opposed to jails and prisons. It is always easier said than done and it is even easier to sit back and let others do it. I don’t care what color you are as long as you are bettering yourself and the community that you live in, illegal or legal.

  21. Any place in the world can either be secure or a cesspool. It depends on people, things and time. I have been to both secure places and cesspools in this world, the USA, many states, Idaho, and even Nampa.

    Each of us have the right, duty and obligation to protect ourself at all times so we can protect our loved ones at all times. Especially from GOVERNMENT of all kinds. GOVERNMENT would not be so bad if there weren’t so many government employees, especially politicians, in GOVERNMENT. It seems like the GOVERNMENT can only keep track of its law abiding, taxpaying citizens. If a person is not law abiding, paying taxes or a citizen then the GOVERNMENT isn’t going to do much more than the minimum to keep track of you.

    The only grandfather I knew told me to protect myself at all times so I could protect my loved ones. That was 1957 right before he died.

    He fought in the Spanish American War, WWI and was drafted into WWII at the age of 63 because he had lost my maternal grandmother in 1917 to “natural causes”, all of their male children were being drafted into WWII in 1942 and 1943 and he was considered draft elgible or 1A or whatever they called it then. He showed up at Ft. Leonardwood, MO, and they could not believe this elderly draftee showing up with white hair and fit as a fiddle. He was a blacksmith. He went through boot camp better than most of the troops 45 years younger than him and ended up taking care of the Army horses wherever the horses were in the US and overseas.

    I am begging each of you to protect yourself at all times and teach your loved ones the same. Each of us have the right, duty and obligation to protect ourself at all times so we can protect our loved ones at all times until they learn how.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  22. Jack,
    Your comments ring so true. Sorry to hear your grandfather was forced to work for the GOVERNMENT.

    I just thank God (and my lucky stars) they found water on Mars (if you believe the GOVERNMENT) a couple of weeks ago. Gives one hope, especially this time of year.

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