Lee Iacocca could well have been talking about Ada County in his new book, “WHERE HAVE ALL THE LEADERS GONE?”
Add Eagle Mayor Nancy Merrill to the list of well intended inept elected officials. In keeping with the tradition of excluding the public from hearing the public’s business, she scheduled a meeting of city and county elected officials at a “retreat” at her home in Eagle.
The purported purpose was to iron out differences between Boise, ACHD, Ada County, Star, and Eagle. These players are sounding more like a chapter out of the MidEast battles between Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, etc. Truth is they don’t like each other despite grips and grins. And no matter how long or often they meet, there will never be peace.
To their credit, the Ada Commishes filed proper public notice and planned to attend. “Not so fast,” says Mayor Nancy. Don’t want the nosey public or reporters from the Daily Paper showing up and letting people know how these people REALLY feel about one another…when two Commishes meet, it is PUBLIC. Their solution? Send just one Commish.
Several years ago it was the Good Sheriff Gary Raney who had a meeting that wasn’t a meeting scheduled for the Arid Club. When the GUARDIAN and a Daily Paper reporter showed up at the exclusive club, the meeting to discuss funding a detox center suddenly got canceled.
Then there is the annual Chamber of Commerce “retreat” at Sun Valley which is widely attended by so-called leaders of treasure valley…which translates to elected officials and DEVELOPMENT INTERESTS. Public is priced out of that one at $300 cover charge and 200 mile drive.
When Boise City Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt tried to meet with the Ada Commishes with an olive branch clenched in his teeth, the commishes went into secret “executive session” and cost the taxpayers about $30,000 in a protracted legal hassle over violation of the state open meeting law. Like many of these battles that one involved Boise’s Mayor Dave Bieter.
Bieter has managed to offend the Ada County Highway District, the city of Star, Ada County and assorted citizens with his bungling law suits and ill timed public statements. He was the subject of an op-ed piece by Mayor Nate of Star in Sunday’s Daily Paper.
The GUARDIAN thinks dang near all of these politicos are growthoholics in a barfight to see who can grab the other guy’s tax base while the developers sit on the sidelines buying the booze and watching the turf battles. Nancy Merrill tried to turn her home into the Betty Ford clinic, but she is a lame duck mayor with little clout–thanks to growthophobes who oppose her efforts to colonize the hills above Eagle.
Meanwhile, there is a groundswell of growthophobic opinion from the general public shouting, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! CUT BACK ON GROWTH.” Judging from the positive public reaction to Ada P&Z Commish Steve Edgar’s call for a moratorium on growth, the candidates who jump on that bandwagon can plan on getting a ton of votes.
Nothing new in this latest debacle. Local officials have all conspired to meet for the purpose of discussing public business in SECRET with no public present. Shame on all who attended and let us not forget them on election day.
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