City Government

CCDC Doles Out Promotion Cash

We have heard advertising on Boise State Public Radio touting the CCDC (Capital City Development Corp.).

One script says “support comes from listeners like you and Capital City Development Corp., Boise’s urban renewal agency, partnering with businesses and residents in Old Boise to preserve and enhance the area’s unique character.”

Why the heck does Boise’s urban renewal agency need to air “character advertising” and spend public funds doing it? Turns out they trade about four grand in parking spaces for the radio spots, but it sure got us curious.

The GUARDIAN turned up more than $100,000 in itemized advertising and “sponsorships” the urban renewal agency has passed out over the past three years. Not big bucks by today’s local government standards, but to us it demonstrates a lack of concern with how tax money is spent.

The arts, parades, football games, music are all nice, but they are not the purview of an urban renewal agency. If public money is to be spent for these things it should be done by elected officials. Boise City Councilors and Team Dave have been woefully inept overseeing their urban renewal agency.

The most distasteful part of this mess is that tax revenues on downtown improvements and appreciation is diverted away from Boise City to CCDC while hardworking citizens have to pay for police and fire services for the most valuable real estate in the state. To have that diverted tax money go to promotions like the following is a slap in the face:

–We question using $7,500 in public money to sponsor “Alive After Five” with the Downtown Boise Association.

–Boise City Councilors approve a budget for the Arts Commission, but the CCDC spent $13,627 to sponsor “city arts events promotion.”

–This urban renewal agency whose job is to fight urban blight and fund infrastructure kicked in $6,000 for a “holiday parade contribution.”

–They sponsored a “housing forum” with $900 to the Urban Land Institute.

–Last year your city urban renewal agency kicked in $500 to the Chamber of Commerce breakfast “state of the city sponsorship” so people could pay $30 a plate to hear Mayor Dave Bieter crow about his accomplishments.

–This public agency paid $5,000 to the BSU Foundation to sponsor the Gene Harris Jazz Festival.

–The City Arts Commission got $19,469 for “Saturday Market Performing Arts.”

–How can an urban renewal agency funded with taxes justify paying $500 for an MPC Bowl Promotion Ad?

Let’s hope the City Councilors and the auditor take a read on these expenditures. The CCDC board with two city councilors approved the expenses. Both are up for election in November if they choose to run.

You can see the complete report obtained by the GUARDIAN in PDF form. Download file

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. What does Boise State Radio need parking passes for? Are they located downtown?

    I have always objected when governmental bodies take my money and then use it to pay someone to talk to me. That includes media ads and the never-ending supply of paid spokesfolks.

  2. I have yet to figure out what the CCDC does for me besides soak up our tax dollars.

  3. Alicia Ritter
    May 11, 2007, 8:23 am

    I guess I don’t get it. There seems to be some role confusion here. CCDC is charged with investing in efforts to build and sustain a strong downtown. The use of public AND private dollars for activities such as arts events, farmer’s markets, concerts etc. that get people downtown to enjoy themselves and spend money is an absolutely appropriate use of funds. Seems folks need to more closely understand the role of our urban renewal agency.

    EDITOR NOTE–We checked the law and don’t find anything about dancers, arts, jazz, or radio ads. Here it is:
    agency and no municipality shall exercise the authority hereafter conferred by
    this act until after the local governing body shall have adopted a resolution
    finding that: (1) one or more deteriorated or deteriorating areas as defined
    in this act exist in such municipality; (2) the rehabilitation, conservation,
    redevelopment, or a combination thereof, of such area or areas is necessary in
    the interest of the public health, safety, morals or welfare of the residents
    of such municipality; and (3) there is need for an urban renewal agency to
    function in the municipality.

  4. It makes sense for CCDC to sponsor events that occur downtown, like the Gene Harris Jazz Festival, since these events will bring customers to downtown businesses and CCDC parking garages. Under the assumption it is done to combat detteriorating conditions caused by the lack of proper business activity. It is possible without some sponsorships these events would locate elsewhere. I would hope it is a good investment of public funds, like a $5,000 sponsirship brought CCDC a net increase of $10,000 from the event. However, if it is a known loss prior to investment, I would have a problem with it.

    My main problem with CCDC is it is an agency that is created under the intent of a limited time frame for a specific purpose, yet the administrators of CCDC constantly expand their role and development area to perpetuate their jobs, not the mission of the agency.

  5. Dave, by quoting code, it appears to me that you really clarify Alicia’s point (which I think is opposite to what you wanted to do). “Rehabilitation, conservation, redevelopment” can be ongoing efforts. The fact is that even if those things could be interpreted as actions with beginnings and ends, it appears that the intended outcome of those acts, by state code, is to act “in the interest of public health, safety, morals or welfare”. Per Alicia’s post, spending $’s for those events/publicity does exactly that and works hand in hand with physical rehab efforts.

    Now I do understand that there are number of problems within the current agency, but lets focus on real smoking guns because this is a rat hole and nothing else.

    EDITOR NOTE–Check out the PDF file and you will see they are “sponsoring” events and organizations that are already formed for a special purpose, i.e. arts commission, downtown association etc.

    You are correct about the rat hole. No one wants to pour money down a rat hole.

  6. This is just as stupid as the Arid Club Membership and needs to be stopped ASAP. There is NO REASON to have CCDC “tax money” paying for any ads of any kind. Period!

    No doubt the Mayor and the massive density crowd on the City Council know about this and think it is just fine.

  7. This is a classic case of a political bureaucratic creation ( CCDC) whose main purpose from day one was not to assist in Urban renewal but to grease the palms of other fat cat members of the ” Boise good “ole boy club.” The idea here is to enrich each other at the expense of the taxpayer while hiding behind an ” official office” whatever that may be. As long as we, the voters , let our politicians get away with their ” enrich ourselves and business buddies” game the worse the services, such as police, fire, bus transportation will get while Phil Kushlan and toadies get rich .

  8. “Lack of concern…”?!?!

    The fiefdom commonly known as the CCDC could care less what you and I think. After all, they’re the experts. The movers and shakers. Insulated (until recently) by their quasi-governmental status and a City Hall that enjoys the insulation and plausible-deniability afforded them by said fiefdom. Traffic downtown? Congestion? Grotesque architecture? Oh, hey, that’s not our fault, that’s the CCDC.

    For God’s Sake folks, this ain’t the manned mission to Mars we’re talking about!

    What’s it gonna take for the City Council to pull their collective heads out of… the ground, and send an organization that at the absolute very least is bungling and inept, and at worst criminal; packing?

  9. Boise, In answer to your question ‘what does CCDC stand for?’, it stands for “Continued Corruption from the Downtown Crowd”


    Seems most of you judge CCDC from a far without any real knowledge of what goes on inside or the what they do. How many of you have actually met a person from CCDC ? How many of you have actually gone to their website and read about all of ways they improve downtown Boise? How many of you have a real clue as to what it takes to revitalize an urban area? And how many of you have done half of what they have done to better our city?

    They are not “corrupt.” They are not out there to simply “grease the palms of other fat cat members of the ‘Boise good ole boy club.’ ” And despite the accusations, they do care what you and I think.

    It’s easy to sit back in your chairs at home and judge these folks. And because you don’t take the time to learn all they do, and who they are as people, you judge them as useless. These folks are working day after day trying to make downtown Boise a better place to live, work and play. Sure, they certainly aren’t perfect, and they could certainly do some things better. And yes, perhaps they have overstepped their main purpose a bit. But if you really learned what they do, and who they are, you’d see they are trying their best for your sake (the citizens).

    How many of you are perfect at your job? How many organizations do you know of that aren’t “bungling and inept?” I’ve worked for some of the largest corporations in America, and I can certainly tell you that those companies are far worse.

    I challenge any of you naysayers to do more homework, such as going online and reading their annual report, their cultural investments policy or their workforce housing policy. Look at other city’s urban renewal agencies to see what they do. If CCDC has overstepped their boundaries, it is because they take a broad view of the definition of urban renewal. Restoring buildings and setting new codes are not enough to renew an urban area. It takes art, culture, music, fun events, sports, and housing to build a vibrant and economically stable downtown.

    Or just get your head out of … the ground… and take a look around and see how much more downtown Boise is thriving than it was 10 years ago. (yes, CCDC had a part in those past problems, but not this current administration).

    And for Pete’s sake, can’t you all find an organization that really deserves all this attention? This reminds me of that guy a few years ago who spent his time fighting Ladies’ Night because it was supposedly unfair to men. When I talked with him about it, all I could think was “OK… even if you are right…(which he wasn’t)… aren’t there greater causes to spend your energy on?” If that guy put his energy into a serious issue, he could have really made a difference in our world.

    So give it a rest and put your energy towards groups that really are corrupt, that truly are wasting tax dollars, and that really don’t give a crap about the citizens. There are plenty around, and they could use the same level of attention you all have put towards CCDC.

    Or if you really are hell-bent on destroying CCDC, then make sure you get to really know your “enemy” first. Learn more about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it. I think you’ll find they are a much better and more worthwhile organization then you give them credit for.

  11. Brett–
    Indeed, some commenters are uninformed and opinionated. However, based on this story alone it appears the CCDC people–well intentioned as they may be–have overstepped their bounds and lost site of the mission. They seem to favor business interests and duplicate or “sponsor” thingsbetter left to merchants or DBA.

    I don’t see many “impartial” members of the board. Many have conflicts and recuse themselves, but there is certainly a lack of diversity, i.e. housewives, educators (Cheryl L. is a banker/real estate peddler), business leaders from the bench, lawyers, engineers, technicians, etc.

    These people are NOT elected and should not have authority to collect and pay taxes. The Ada treas sends the taxes to CCDC, so they DO collect taxes. LEt’s see what the audit turns up it it isn’t limited by the politicos.

  12. Mike Murphy
    May 16, 2007, 3:48 pm

    Brett emphasizes a very good point, in that the CCDC does have some very good, dedicated people working for it.

    My gripe, and I suspect that of others, is not with those dedicated INDIVIDUALS, but the actions of the CCDC as an ENTITY. And our elected officials that are supposed to be keeping tabs on things.

    Additionally, while I am sorry to hear you have “worked for some of the largest corporations…that are far worse”, how a private corporation (publicly traded or otherwise) chooses to run itself into the ground is of little concern to me (Although the coup at Albertson’s WAS heartbreaking).

    How a quasi-governmental agency squanders MY money and that of my friends and neighbors, is.

    In Parting… Please (pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top), tell us all who the “Groups that really are corrupt, that truly are wasting tax dollars, and that really don’t give a crap about the citizens”, that you speak of are, we can focus our opinionated ire on them.

  13. Mike Murphy
    May 27, 2007, 2:26 am

    Yeah… Just what I thought!

  14. CCDC has major functionality issues. No, I don’t think they are corrupt, but they are clearly incompetent. The hole is one example. This spending of tax payer dollars, yet another. Parking fee increases at mostly empty garages? Incompetence again.

    The appropriate use of fund is not to send them through the inefficiency of “sponsorships.” It is to stick to the intent of their mission: DEVELOP a better downtown.

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