City Government

Councilors Clueless On Lobby Effort

The Idaho legislature’s House Revenue and Taxation Committee heard testimony Friday on a proposed urban renewal law that would require members of agencies like Boise’s CCDC to be elected.

The bill was held in committee and effectively killed by a 10-8 vote, but the REAL story is WHO testified and WHY. Two non-elected people paid with citizen tax dollars urged legislators to prevent citizens from having the power to elect those who directly spend property tax money to subsidize developers downtown.

Lyn Darrington is a lobbyist paid by the city of Boise–but from whom does she get her orders? Phil Kushlan is director of the CCDC, Boise’s city appointed urban renewal agency–did he clear his testimony with the council?

The GUARDIAN sought to find out who authorized these hired guns to speak as representatives of Boise City. Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt categorically denied knowledge of any council meeting or discussion about the bill and didn’t even know it existed. Councilor Jim Tibbs also said he was unaware of any legislative proposal regarding urban renewal let alone any city position.

The GUARDIAN is very concerned that hired guns are purporting to speak on behalf of Boise City when the city council has not discussed the matter (any topic), arrived at a consensus on a position, or given direction on how they want to proceed–at a public meeting or otherwise.

The particulars on the proposed legislation are not important. We support public election of anyone allowed to directly collect taxes and spend them. Boise officials are consistent in denying citizens a vote on who spends their tax money and how it is spent. CCDC is an agency without significant oversight and direction from elected officials–like the city council.

It looks to us that at best it is a lack of communication, but we fear certain staff–or even council members have quietly taken it upon themselves to speak in the name of the “city of trees” when they may be a mere voice in the wilderness.

For the record, the Chamber of Commerce also testified against allowing citizens to vote for those who spend their tax dollars.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. That’s idaho Politics folks, and has been for many years.Two Kushlan mouthpieces, paid for with tax-payers money, put the nix on electing the CCDC officials who spend and get rich with our money as the state legislature maintains the facade of accountability. City Hall seemed to want to be unaware of what was being pulled off.

    Now isn’t it common -sense American to ELECT those officials who are spending voters money especially on urban renewal. I want the average Boisean to know that Phil Kushlan and buddies on CCDC and their well off developer friends ( BoDo was one project they pushed-half the fancy dan stores there are without customers whenever I walk by) DO NOT WANT THE VOTER to have any say in the massive building projects they’re pushin.

    At the same time too many of our city hall politicians are looking the other way as this is pulled off.

    The People of Boise want responsible government that is answerable to them when they spend our tax dollars. Phil Kushlan and developer friends is responsible to no one!

  2. If the city politico’s can verify the city’s lobbyist point of view on this matter, then there is no point in this discussion. They were elected by the citizen’s to act/vote of their behalf. Were the all the meetings minutes research to find out if this ever came up in council meetings? Only 2 of 7 elected officials were asked about this topic.

    If under further research the lobbyist was speaking for somebody else, then he must be reigned in. I too would like the chance to vote for how my taxes are spent. I think the urban renewal districts should be held accountable through a vote. CCDC should also have attainable goals to be reached. Eventually by doing their job, the sub-districts could be dissolved.

  3. What happened to the United States of America, the State of Idaho, Ada County and the City of Boise? Are the other cities in Ada County doing what Boise is doing? Are the other counties in Idaho doing what Ada County is doing? Are the other states in the USA doing what Idaho is doing? Are we in deep do do?

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