Election Thoughts From Mexico City

Listening to blaring car horns, shrill police whistles and riding a metro metro with 5,000,000 daily passengers here in Mexico City, it is easy to become a growthophobe.

Amazing how concerned these people really are about the environment and good government (really)–more when the GUARDIAN editor returns.

We wanted to provide readers with this forum to coment on the Nov. 6 election. Please share your thoughts, anecdotes, and frustrations.

While the lackluster Boise race provided no surprises, it looks like the growthophobes in the west valley are uniting. Eagle voters apparently are GUARDIAN growthophobes…good news for those of who care about more than developers and big business.

We humbly take credit for creating “growthophobe” and if you have any doubts just Google the word and see where they send you:

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I have to say that I’m somewhat troubled at some of the comments by the “McDavid Team”. The continue to harp on density in the City of Eagle. However, I really hope that they understand that you have to maintain areas of higher density in order to curb sprawl. I would hope that they are open to the Transect concept of urban planning that calls for higher densities around the urban cores with progressively lower densities as you get further out. The City of Eagle’s downtown core is coming along nicely with a good mix of residential and commercial creating a nice pedestrian friendly environment. Hopefully that continues to occur.

  2. Mike Murphy, Bemused Bull Moose Tenor
    Nov 7, 2007, 9:45 am

    Congratulations to Mayor Beiter on his reelection, winning about 60% of the vote.

    60% of the Vote.

    Which constitutes what percentage of Registered Voters?

    Which, in-turn, constitutes what percentage of Eligible Voters?

    The bigger, sadder story is the apathy and resignation among the citizenry and the dismal failure of the Fourth Estate to nail down incumbent candidates early on issues such as the as-of-yet unmaterialized Forensic Audit of the CCDC, exponentially growing menace of methamphetamine, etc.


    For whom?

  3. I hate to break this to you, but the people buying all the homes in Eagle aren’t developers, construction workers or big business (they just build the homes and neighborhoods). The people buying them are … the same people now wanting to close the gates to anyone else!

    It’s a subspecies of NIMBY I call IGMEEL: “I Got Mine, Everybody Else Leave.”

    How to best manage growth to preserve what we hold dear is a crucial public debate. How to keep out others from moving here is just hypocritical.

  4. Wonk your nose is getting longer every time you hit this site. You turn tricks for Skyline, CCDC, and all the rest of those who wish to ruin our little valley and then you have the gall to say what you say! No one is standing in line to live in the Eagle Hills or the plateau–you and your ilk are doing your best to attract them. Keep up your b.s. and the G Man should banish you.

  5. “Lackluster.” “Resignation.” etc.

    Excellent comments precending mine.

    I supported Mr. Tibbs from Day 1, and tried, in a rather resigned way, to get the word out to my First Degree of Separation. (I also voted for Steve Kimball – or more accurately, I voted against Lord Shealy. The other two incumbents, IMO, didn’t have very strong/qualified opponents.)

    I’m weary. Maybe “resigned.” IMO, Tibbs’ downfall was in not generating much distinction between his views and those of the incumbent. At least on the A-number-1 issue – GROWTH. He even got endorsed by the Building Contractors – not exactly comforting to the Growthophobes. (If he had pledged to put up a border fence or a moat around the city limits, or lay down spike strips to disable the thousands of “2C” cars rolling into town every day… he would have at least stirred up the ant pile.)

    BUT – I voted! Unlike about 70% of my qualified fellow citizens. Which gives me a 4-year “License to Whine.” Those others? They can SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!!

  6. Wow, I must really frighten you, Mr. Colic. Without fail, every time I post you call on G to ban me. I do not fear you and I hope G keeps letting you post here as your obsession with me makes you seem really, really weird.

    Do you really want this board to be an anti-growth echo chamber, populated only by people like you? That would exclude anyone who is involved in their neighborhood association, schools, local charities, business community, etc. In other words, only aliented whiners who contribute nothing to this community would be welcome.

    Have a nice day.

  7. I gotta agree with Mr. Logic. If you build it, market it and take the money and run then you are the problem. Tamarack is a great example of developers destroying a local lifestyle that would have gone on with only a modicum of growth with out them. Where were all those buyers before then?

  8. Someone in Eagle
    Nov 7, 2007, 10:17 pm

    There are still several developers building in Eagle and a bunch of want-to-be millionaires who practice buying and building houses with sub-par loans and they don’t intend to live there – just make a buck (or loose someone else’s) and leave.

  9. I proudly worked for the Tibbs effort. Bieter did a better job of hiding the issues than Tibbs did in identifying them. I guess the proof will be in what action we see in the next four years coming from team Dave.

    I have read here for years that a significant number of citizens want the growth controlled. But I have yet to read a logical,reasonable solution to the problem. (moritoriums are not realistic) Do we limit the number of units per acre? Do we increase the amount of open space required for development? Do we increase the fees on buildings that will just be passed on to the buyer driving up the cost of housing even more?

    With all the intellectual, esoteric thinkers that occupy this blog, I would hope a solution would emerge. In all honesty, I fear what won’t be done in the next 4 years to solve these problems and I have this strange need to have a bunch of bumper stickers made that say “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Tibbs”.

  10. Grumpy ole guy
    Nov 8, 2007, 3:57 am

    I think that what makes places livable is greenspace/open space. I hope that what we’re seeing in the Eagle election is a realization that the foothills are more fragile than some other areas, and that the green / open space offered by the hills is an important part of what makes the Valley a viable/livable place.

    Said it before, will keep on saying it. Growth is inevitable, planned, systematic growth is the most desirable. Keep the money grubers toward the back of the line and let human and environmental needs take their places at the front.

  11. It’s certainly a “chicken and egg” proposition. Demand and supply are linked. Neither is totally responsible. And, there is no doubt in my mind that IGMEEL applies. The biggest supporters of foothills bans are the folks who already live there, for example. And what is this talk about “banning”?

    This is the INTERNET! A forum is defined as “a public meeting or assembly for open discussion.” Note the word “open.” If I want to just hear opinions that I agree with, I will stay home and talk to myself.

  12. John Mitchell
    Nov 8, 2007, 7:58 am

    Wonk–the “backlash” of the voters against Queen Nancy and her Royal Court has more to do with how they have approved subcivision after subdivision and ruined a nice little community. Have you driven Eagle Road laterly??

    Everyone HATES it and Council approves ANOTHER subdivision just south of Island Woods where our beloved Queen lives (she pushed for and got a traffic lite there…) Granted, access to and from these major arteries is under ACHD and ITD jurisdiction BUT thecity (IMO) could do a much better job to improve traffic. The latest brainstorm of P&Z is to put residential condos on top of businesses…now that’s a novel concept—yep, I want to wake up to the smell of fried chicken in the morning.

    The citizens of Eagle had a feeling that their voices were not being heard and chose to Oust the bastards—-they should also clean house at the PZ level in the city and disallow those who have worked in city government from becoming “consultants” in “the process” for a minimum of 5 years.

  13. The employees who work for a City government are not to blame for the direction of that government. Eagle P&Z staff only follow the instructions and direction that they are given from the mayor and city council, that is there job, and if they don’t do that then they get fired. When the new administration comes in they will do the same for that person. To call for the firing of the department employees because you don’t like the politicians in charge is pretty lame.

  14. In case no one else has noticed, the quietness we are experiencing is the lack of hammers hammering. Subdivisions in Eagle that have been approved, some of them already platted, birmed with paved streets and sidewalks, are not being built on. One subdivision south of Floating Feather not far from Highway 55, has several homes that are framed but no construction is continuing. I was advised that the contractor had gone bankrupt and the properties are in foreclosure.

    If this housing slump continues for long the developers might want to reconsider before they get too much money invested that could be a very long time being repaid.

    Earlier this fall a couple of young men decided to do the old “flip” game and bought an older home on the golf course, modernized it, I guess, and now are just waiting for a buyer, along with five or six other properties on the same section of the golf course, one of which has been for sale for at least two years.

    One has to wonder about the hundreds of homes proposed for Avimor – where will those buyers come from?

    By the way, why does a Statesman reporter in today’s paper, state that Avimor is near Star? What?

  15. How many days now have we had of yellow air alert?
    Record setting!

    Dang maybe Eagle is smarter than other area’s that don’t want to control the runaway growth.

  16. I think what most growthophobes want is realistic pricing on development without the underwriting provided by the existing tax base. The reason people want to live here is it is CHEAP.

    Us local yokles think it’s expensive because we have never experienced real living wages. As long as our Republican Legislature continues to prevent local option taxing and impact fees for developers and mayors and city councils keep up the blame game we are going to continue to get more of the same.

  17. John, I agree the “backlash” of the voters has “more to do with how they have approved subcivision after subdivision.” The irony is that all the people who moved into those supposedly community-ruining subdivisions are the ones now calling for no more growth.

    Also, not much can be divined from rough election results. Clearly, people in Eagle aren’t happy with the direction of growth there, even if they live there because of it. But do they want to stop all growth? Do they want to limit it somehow? Do they want to change its manner or style?

  18. Yes, ground is disturbed and dirt pushed around for proposed construction that may not happen.

    This is an excellent time to take a deep breath and look closely at development, city planning and zoning regulations and comprehensive plans. A close reading of what is already in place may reveal that more could be done to direct development, alleviate congestion, improve safety and quality of life without changing ordinances, rules or regulations.

    My own belief is that local governments should not roll over every time someone wants a zone change. Any landowner has the right to make improvements, cultivate, manage and enjoy the land as it is now zoned. No one needs a zone change just because he or she wants it.

  19. Air quality? Why are some of you so quick to blame developers and local governments yet leave out the rest of the story? You want a workable solution that won’t be hamstrung by constitutional law?

    Here’s a start. Vapor recovery fuel systems on gas pumps. Emission inspections for Canyon County. Close the loophole for emission standards on light trucks and SUVs. These are proven ideas that are less costly to implement than draconian land use policy and they are the domain of the state and federal governments.

  20. John Mitchell
    Nov 9, 2007, 8:55 am

    Realistically. the citizens of Eagle and ALL of Ada County should be lining up at the Ada County P/Z and Development Services.

    The Guardian should do a little expose’ on who and what is driving the process (no doubt you will come upwith some high rolling developers who certainly have the almighty dollar as first priority).

    Eagle wants to annex property in the foothills so they can “guide” developement somewhat (I’m not sure how effective that might be. As a prime example look at the entrance to Avimor—-a turnout lane when in Dec 06 ITD recommendation was an overpass.) Sad that ITD caved in—-could the Guardian do an investigation into THAT fiasco? ITD states this is “temporary” but the mammonth pillars they have constructed at the entrance certainly precludes an overpass there doesn’t it?

    Until water,school,and road issues are addressed they should stop development in the foothills.
    The vote in Eagle was antigrowth but I think it was misplaced—-the real villain here is Ada County. Rick Yzzaguire and the Boys should be held to the fire and get control of the problem.

    California taxes developers per sq ft of deveopment (called Mellaroos Tax) and this is passed (of course) onto the buyer—it’s a way of paying for infrastructure—-Idaho needs to pass this law.

  21. Thank you John. That is exactly what is needed a Melaroos tax. If this tax is allowed to be collected growth will be more thoughtful and not grow at the cancerous rate it has been.

    The Republican economy is working well right now to slow the growth but you can bet they will stoke the economy fires with another interest rate cut and flood the market again, with inflated dollars. The banks will figure out acceptable ponzi style loans after the tax payers bail them out again. I find it absolutely remarkable how politicians think that it’s ok to let greed regulate itself. Must explain the moron part of oxymoron.

  22. Boise Banker
    Nov 9, 2007, 11:00 am

    There is no easy answer to any of the growth problems. It is too expensive for Gen Y and younger people to keep our housing level the way it is.

    But on the flip side if a city isn’t growing it’s dying. Which is the lesser evil? There isn’t much any city/county government can do now with growth/economy except watch it crumble while they are in office. The damage was done in 2003-04 when no regulations on growth were in place. All we can do is prepare now for the next real estate rush 10-15 years from now.

    City planners should have a comprehensive plan for zoning and adhere to it. The changes I would make here is to have developers/builders make homes based upon percentages of income for the area in which they want to build.

    ie: (all numbers were made up) South Boise has 40% of the population that make say $40k per year or less, 30% that make $40-75k and 30% that make more than $75k. The homes built in the new development should be in that proportion too. That way everyone can have a chance to own a home and the builders can still make a variety of homes and still make some of the money that they deserve for their work.

    2008 will be a very telling year for the residential house market. It won’t matter who is in office. Don’t be surprised when there are only a handful of mortgage companies and realtors left in the area. Not to mention banks that will quit lending on real estate in the area. It will hurt. We cannot have a large wave in the economy without having the trough associated with it. 2008-09 will be the bottom.

    EDITOR NOTE–Afraid that social engineering plan just won’t fly. Truth is, people who don’t make a lot of money don’t deserve big homes. They don’t deserve nice cars. The money lenders have “qualified” just about everyone and encoumbered their homes, cars, etc. Houses have doubled in size and luxury. If low income housing was capped at at $75,000 the houses would be smalled. If it is capped at $180,000 the houses are bigger. “Affordable” in in the eye of the government guarantee.

  23. curious george
    Nov 9, 2007, 3:27 pm

    Slight correction Guardian. “Affordable” housing is defined in state law as any housing that can be acquired (for purchase or lease) by a family that earns 80% of the median family income in the jurisdiction. This affordability threshold varies by jurisdiction, but if we were to look at Ada County as a whole the median family income is ~$50K/year. This places the income threshold of affordability at ~$40K/year.

    Such a family may be able to lease a home where the rent is at, or below, $900/mo. The same family could afford to purchase a home worth ~$145K, if they only put 3-4% as a downpayment – or as much as ~$180K if they put down a minimum of 20% of the purchase price (thereby avoiding the mortgage insurance payment). There aren’t too many of these prices around these days (even with the housing slump).

    Truly unfortunately, if it takes as long as 10-15 years to rebuild the demand for housing in the Valley – we will all become renters.

    As of the news out of China this morning, Curious George toys have been recalled due to lead paint contamination – it was only a matter of time.

    EDITOR NOTE–George, my point is not about specific dollars. My point is whatever the number, whatever the location, it is the “affordable housing” threshold that influences the market prices.

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