City Government

Time to Dissolve CCDC

With the latest revelations about the infamous “Hole” at 8th and Idaho, the GUARDIAN concludes it is time to dissolve the CCDC.

In a front page piece Thursday, Statesman reporter Joe Estrella tells readers that Charterhouse Development is in default on a $2.6 million loan to finance the acquisition of the hole. Furthermore, financing looks very doubtful for what was to be a 31 story skyscraper and the CCDC is powerless to act because they foolishly gave up all oversight when they inked the deal.

We can’t blame just the developer who snookered the CCDC. They were willing dupes in what has become a sad joke in the annals of our city. The inept bungling on the part of Boise’s urban renewal agency is a direct result of poor (or no?) oversight by the Mayor and Council.

Greed on the part of all concerned leads to grandiose plans that cannot be fulfilled or financed. The CCDC figures the bigger the project, the more they get in diverted tax revenues. Common sense modest projects are often rejected in favor of the dream towers.

The CCDC (Capitol City Development Corp.) sucks tax dollars away from the city with the avowed purpose of aiding development downtown. We taxpayers make up the difference to fund the police, fire, and other services demanded by the rich developers who own the heart of our town.

The GUARDIAN thinks a forensic audit is in order at the very least. If it goes the way we expect, the obvious choice will be to disband the CCDC.

Here are some points to ponder in what we believe to be the tip of the iceberg:

–CCDC Chairman Cheryl Larabee worked for Colliers International–the real estate broker for BoDo and Mark Rivers while serving on the CCDC board.

–City Councilor Elaine Clegg’s private special interest group “Smart Growth” solicited and received public money from the CCDC.

–CCDC paid for the membership of Director Phil Kushlan in the exclusive private Arid Club.

–Despite dire warnings from fire department, city council approved a change in building standards to allow wooden “stick frame” construction downtown to aid CCDC projects.

–Mark Rivers’ so-called library project has received exemptions from rules requiring affordable housing units.

–Charterhouse was given exemption from rules requiring oversight of the Hole project.

–City councilors summarily voted out of office by citizens are allowed to remain on the CCDC board until terms expire.

–Several board members have financial interests or represent those with financial interest in CCDC activities.

The agency is legally under direct control of the Boise City Council and it is time they–and Team Dave–step up to the plate and clean house. Since this is an election year, they may have more incentive to do the right thing.

The past record has certainly NOT been the right thing.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. You make a strong case.

  2. The good news is that the paper did some honest-to-god reporting.

  3. Agreed, Sisyphus.

    It’s been a mess since it started; it replaced the Boise Redevelopment Agency, whose primary purpose seemed to be to tear down all historic structures and replace them with whatever developers wanted. Downtown was a mess for years.

    Changing the agency’s name to CCDC didn’t help a bit; if anything, it has gotten worse and worse, with the conflicts The Guardian lists showcasing some of the ineptness and very questionable aspects.

    And obviously this group sure knows how to pick the developers!!!

    As for The Hole — it still ain’t as ugly as the huge towers these guys keep proposing.

  4. How much money has been made and how much money has been lost on that money pit? What entities made money and what entities lost money on that pit?

    EDITOR NOTE–We would be happy to hear from anyone who can offer insight to this question. We KNOW the lawyers made money, but what about others?

  5. So just how does one go about ridding ourselfs of
    the varments?

    Maybe the guy pictured with the no Shooting sign has a few ideas.

  6. Mike Murphy
    Apr 12, 2007, 4:46 pm

    Integral to my “platform” is the dissolution of the CCDC, as mentioned in my blog entry “STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION”, which can be found @ To wit:

    “Abominable also is the continued existence and growth of expensive, wholly unnecessary bureaucracies whose greatest contribution appears to be the insulation they provide politicians.”

    “With thanks for their dedicated service, disband the Capital City Development Corporation and absorb it into existing, more accountable City Departments.”


  7. Mike Murphy has some great points. Joe Estrella wrote a great article and has portrayed the rot and greed that CCDC stands for- the large hole in the ground downtown demonstrates for all where taxpayer money goes when Phil Kushlan and fellow developers Rivers and Rogers are given a free hand by The mayor and City council.

    At the same time the tax money CCDC gets and keeps to enlarge their Bureaucratic dukedom actually takes away from Police,Fire and Emergency services financing for the People of Boise! What a smell ( it’s worse than a drive through the garbage mounds of Seacaucus in August with the car windows open!) It’s election time folks and it’s time to let the new mayor know that part of his platform has got to be getting rid of CCDC and finding out who in Boise’s Urban renewal agency gave Rogers the green light to default and then get rid of every unneeded excess bureaucracy in Boise ( make them get an honest job,maybe one of the minimum wage /no benefit jobs the city teems with!)

  8. John Foster
    Apr 12, 2007, 8:54 pm

    FYI: You have to read all the way to the end of the Statesman story to see the starting point of all that “honest-to-God reporting.” Here’s the last paragraph of the Statesman piece: “Charterhouse’s loan default was first reported in the Idaho Business Review.”

    As IBR has done on every major CCDC and Boise Place story of the past six months. (

    EDITOR NOTE–John, don’t dispair. The GUARDIAN can feel your pain. At least together we can let the public know things need to be changed. We expect much more on this one.

  9. CCDC’s mission has been accomplished in the downtown core. There is no longer the need for an agency to purchase land for future development. The question is what will replace this agency? Maybe just a simple design review committee specializing in commercial and multistory development. That being said. CCDC has helped to create a very nice downtown area aside from the HOLE.

    As for developers defaulting on loans, I think that may be common in the development industry. Most traditional banks will not provide financing to get the ball rolling. Developers take these non traditional loans in hopes of preselling enough units to provide some “equity” to regular banks.

    EDITOR NOTE– Perhaps city councilors should take a lesson from the banks. But it’s only taxpayer money, not shareholder money, with which the councilors deal.

  10. Mr. Murphy makes a LOGICAL argument to disband the CCDC. The Boise politcos have enjoyed a separation from their responsibilities far too long.

  11. Thanks, John. I retract my comment.

  12. GUARDIAN, you forgot to mention CCDC’s role in the costly failed Ada County Courthouse Corridor project and its unconstitutional financing scheme. The time to dissolve CCDC was already here long ago!

    Let’s hope the Boise City mayoral and council candidates make this issue a major focus of their campaigns this year. It’s just too bad that those of us who live outside the city limits, but are financially impacted by CCDC, don’t also get to vote!

  13. Yes, Sharon, it’s a terrible shame that people who don’t live in Boise don’t get to vote in Boise elections.

    EDITOR NOTE–She makes a very good point because COUNTY taxes on new downtown buildings is diverted to CCDC, forcing people like Sharon to pay a little extra to make up the difference.

    (Dylan, I found you in the junk file. EVERYONE needs to put “Dave” as the answer to “what’s Dave’s first name?” We use that as a filter to keep the porn spam off the site.)

  14. Clancy, you are right, the CCDC has helped create a very nice downtown core aside from the Hole and its work there is done (see nice-looking skyline at the top of this Web page). I was pretty surprised to learn the CCDC gave up control of the process. They have made a good case for their own obsolesence.

    As for tax increment financing: It’s in investment in the long-term vitality of a place. Without it, the parking garages, streetscapes and public squares would not be built and development would not occur. When the bonds are paid off, police and fire and other local governments will get their tax revenues back – and much more, as the value of the property will have increased considerably due to the TIF-funded improvements.

    True, the demands for service will also have increased. But I contend that run-down properties generate their own demands for police and fire service and none of the needed tax revenues. Run-down commercial properties also threaten the surrounding neighborhoods with decay.

    TIF has its proper time and place and has been used to good overall effect. I want to live in a city that has a skyline like the one shown above, not one full of decaying strip malls. Unfortunately, the CCDC has crippled its credibility to carry out its mission.

    (Mr. Colic pounces with a personal attack in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…)

  15. Sharon: I agree — except I think the proper time to dissolve it was about 13 seconds after it was created. It seemed obvious at the time that the plan had too many holes in it (No pun on The Big Hole intended), with lack of sufficient oversight, siphoning off of taxes, etc.

    Wonk: If you consider a bunch of shoe boxes, some of them standing on end, to be a “nice-looking skyline,” then I guess it is.
    Downtown wasn’t a bad place to be until the BRA tore down everything it could, in hopes somebody would come in and build something. We had a good supply of dirt “parking lots” for a long time, and, yes, CCDC had a hand in changing that — along with adding The Hole to downtown. But it seems likely that much of the useful development would have arrived on its own as the population continued to grow.

    But whatever the past, there’s no apparent reason for the thing to continue to exist, expand, and deprive the rest of our big, fat, flabby government of taxes.

  16. Okay, Dylan, I will clarify. Those of us in unincorporated Ada County do not have ANY say about any of the Urban Renewal Agencies in the County, but we are subsidizing all of them financially. It’s taxation without representation, and therefore ought to be unconstitutional!

    Also, although you laugh at the concept of people living outside the city being able to vote in city elections, how would that be any different from the Boise City Councilors voting to annex my neighbors against their will, which they have done?! Seems like both concepts are equally logically (and legally) flawed, to me.

  17. How long is our city going to run on ‘autopilot’? Where’s the oversight? With elected officials too timid to take charge, let’s consider dumping trash in ‘the hole’ and fill it up! This will relieve pressure on the county landfill and allow space for more uncontrolled growth. I suggest this be one of the topics at the Chamber-sponsored Sun Valley retreat and wine tasting, where City Policy is made. Alas, “Those who have the hole make the rules”.

  18. Sharon:
    Amen on the annexation scam. When I lived in Ada County, the Big City decided to annex us. None of us wanted to be annexed, and we made it clear that if we had wanted to live in Boise, we would have moved to Boise in the first place.

    I tried to find some way to fight it, and was told it couldn’t be done. Because we didn’t live in the city, we had no say in the decision, even though it was our property that was being decided on.

    I told the mayor that their action reminded me a lot of the way Russia simply informed other countries: “You are now part of the Union of Socialist Republics, no longer an independent nation.”

    He didn’t seem to like that comment much, but didn’t really have any response.

    So, all we got for the loss of our “freedom” was higher property taxes. Because, although people living in the county don’t have to pay city property tax, people living in the city still have to pay county property tax — along with the city taxes. (Isn’t there something wrong with that?)

  19. Dave,

    You left out some of the best stuff! And I fully agree with you that it’s long since time for them to go away!! The CCDC should do this community a vast service and voluntarily dissolve. However, as President Reagan suggested, the closest thing to eternal life on this earth is a Government Program.

    Check out the record. When they (formerly the BRA now CCDC) came imploring the Idaho Legislature to grant them tax increment financing legislation, the legislature was skeptical and conditioned the tax increment financing scheme on the following pledges:

    1. They would NEVER expand beyond the 9 nine blocks of the original tax increment area.
    2. They would NEVER bond in excess of $12,500,000.
    3. They would voluntarily dissolve and turn the assets over to the City of Boise before 2000.

    So much for the so-called promises of a government agency.

    When the CCDC first proposed another tax increment area I went to the public meeting required by law and reminded them of the commitments they had made in order to get the legislation passed. They completely ignored my concerns and comments.

    I next went to the Boise City Council hearing required by law to enact the ordinance establishing the new tax increment area and reminded the Boise Mayor (Brent Coles) and Council of the commitments that had been made in order to get the tax increment legislation passed. At that meeting the former Chairmen of the Ada County Highway district also testified that it was his understanding that the tax increment area was NOT to be expanded. Again, the city ignored both of us.

    It is simply time for them to slip off into the sunset. Hopefully, the CCDC issue will be a major component in the upcoming Boise elections.

  20. These are just cash cows which are suported by tax payers. They are so good besides the expansion noted above, Eagle and Meridian now have them, Kuna is in process. They create so much money they won’t stop expanding.

  21. I, and any other candidate for office, can make this an “issue” all we want. Change, however, requires participation.

    The first step is to start rocking the boat now by registering to vote, thereby creating an “unknown” voting block that worries career politicos

    That ALONE can be a catalyst for change.

  22. The current Mayor and Council will never go for dis-banding the CCDC – it is too important to their “collect and spend as much money as you can outside the city budget” agenda.

  23. roddy yazdanpour
    Apr 19, 2007, 4:41 pm

    What about the DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION. If we want to address the waste in our city, let’s take care to examine the DOWN TOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION. It has been sucking the blood out of many of us for years, and taking the credit for the success of down town. What is the down town bussiness association? How can we get rid of it?

    Or how can we change it from being a mandatory thing to a volunteer thing. I hate paying the fee’s. If you don’t pay, they take you to collections. They don’t do anything. I don’t need some stupid beaurocracy holding my hand. This entity infuriates me to no end. It is white collar extortion. Forcing me and all the other business’s to pay is border line criminal. We need to act now before this ridiculous entity becomes larger and more menacing.

  24. Over a Quarter Billion dollars has been spent at the BLRA in Bayonne, New Jersey and nothing has been built there in 9 years.

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