City Government


We find ourselves a bit fed up with the inability of the politicos to do much more than talk about our dirty air for fear of discouraging growth.
It may take some political will–not found today, but the proposed GUARDIAN LAW will stop out-of-county polluters. The GUARDIAN LAW will be real simple: “THOU SHALT NOT POLLUTE.” In Ada County you can’t steal, rape, murder, speed–no matter where you live. You shouldn’t be able to pollute either.

Recent comments on the air problem tend to blame the Canyon commuters who don’t inspect their vehicles. We say sniff out the offenders within our borders and forget about what they do in Canyon County. When in Ada, follow Ada law!

When it comes to automobile emissions, all they need to do is pass this simple ordinance. We test for speed, we test for booze breath, why not use the existing technology and identify vehicles passing through our county in violation of emission standards imposed on residents?

No need to test tens of thousands of cars to find a few smokers. Sit along the road with a “sniffer gun” and send notices to all those who violate the emission standards. Send them a notice of violation with orders to fix the problem. Fail to comply means a fine.

The target offenders are the “gross emitters” who enter the county each day. It is unfair, insane, silly, ridiculous to force Ada/Boise residents to pay for emission checks under threat of losing auto registration while ALLOWING the rest of the world to drive on the same roads and spew contaminants into the air.

In theory we won’t need to do emission testing in the future because it is illegal to alter the emission controls and converters. Newer cars with onboard computers burn clean and routine roadside sniffers will catch the polluters…in theory.

Most of the daily commuters coming to Ada/Boise drive a lot more miles within our county each day than local residents (they come from the county line to central locations). Welcome them with open arms, just make sure they obey our laws.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

    But first shouldn’t we demand that our Police force crack down on the speeder, the lane changers that have their foot in it all the time, the tail gaters that have one foot on the brake and the other on the gas.
    It all seems to out of contol to me anymore.

  2. Grumpt ole guy
    Nov 28, 2007, 4:51 pm

    I’m all for this. What about OTHER sources of pollution. Air, water, ground, noise, they all reguire a more strict enforcement. Who monitors commercial air pollution? how? and, how often? How is the “no=burn ban” enforced? by whom? how?

    Much to be done, but this may be an easy place to begin.

  3. Hey G-Man,
    Both of your posts on air quality seem…LOGICAL. You sure keep the politicos on their collective heels, but for the life of me I haven’t seen any of them offer immediate action. Team Dave still wants a train. The GUARDIAN LAW sounds–I hate to say it again…LOGICAL. Who cares what the laws are in Canyon County? When in Ada do as the Adans (Ada-ites?) do.

  4. Dave,

    Much too complicated for the Wizards at Ada County. Furthermore, what about all the people who work in the Van’s and test for emissions? Poor guys would be out of a job. And after all, full employment is the utmost importance for ALL Ada Wizards. Better rescind your idea or they will turn you over to the Ministry of Magic!!

  5. Good idea in theory, but has one crucial and ultimately fatal flaw: where is this “sniffer gun?” Do they exist? How much do they cost? How many will we have to buy for the program to be effective?

    How much will it cost to train officers to use them? Will they be used just by Ada County Sheriffs, or will the city cops have them as well? If some cites choose not to incur that expense, can the county force them? How do the guns work? We can justify speeding tickets based on a radar gun reading because they have been established as accurate, reliable and scientific; can the same be said of a “sniffer gun”? At highway and road speeds, how do you trace the pollutants to a specific car and be certain that they are not from other, nearby source? The current emissions standards have a sliding scale based on the age of the vehicle. Will the sniffers have the same type of scale, and if so how does the gun (or the officer) tell the difference between a 1964 Ford and a 1966 Ford, (a difference that, under the current rules makes one vehicle exempt and the other not) again, at highway speeds?

    Your suggestion makes a lot of sense; I have long thought that it was unfair for the residents of surrounding counties to be exempt from emission testing, despite driving in Ada county everyday. However, unless you can produce a “sniffer gun” as well as answer all of these (and many, many more) questions, your suggestion is ultimately worthless.

    EDITOR NOTE–Devices to check moving vehicles–and photograph them–have been in existance since 2002. The EPA has approved the technology as being accurate. Usually they are in a van. No police would be used. Notices would be mailed to offenders, rules would be the same as for current inspection standards. If identified as an “emitter” an inspection would be ordered and fixes made if needed.

  6. Amen!
    And use the sniffer for Adans, too — it’s much more effective than the once-a-year tests, for at least two reasons:
    1. I talked with workers at several breath-test stations, and all said that of the hundreds of vehicles they check each year, they reject maybe two or three … sometimes none. So thousands of Adans are spending time and bucks for no good reason (and my wife’s car “flunked” because of code number something or other. The guy looked it up, and it meant one taillight not working! Damn, I bet that made it really spit out the smog … so he couldn’t OK the car ’til we stuck a new bulb in the light and drove back there to get it tested again and approved. Extra trip; extra traffic; extra pollution. Beneficial?
    2. My car could pass the test today, then have something go wrong with the exhaust system tomorrow that would cause it to spew nasty gases for a whole year before it would get caught. A sniffer would nail it the next time it drove by.

  7. Mike Murphy, (Hack, Wheez) Bull Moose Tenor
    Nov 29, 2007, 4:34 am

    You are absolutely correct. The technologies exist whereas the political will does not. A sad state of affairs.

    While growth and change are inevitable, our accelerating slide into unhealthy mediocrity need not be; But it appears… Will be.

    Welcome to Boise-Angeles!

    Oh… And by the way… Stealing IS okay in Ada County apparently, so-long-as it’s under the guise of quasi-governmental entities.

    ; )

  8. I believe that the emmission test should be mandatory state wide or not at all.

  9. Great idea! Those sniffers already exist. They were going to implement them a few years back but never ended up doing. I know the Emissions Testers in those red and yellow vans opposed the sniffers because they threatened their jobs. My opinion is that it’s a convenience for motorists and many lose jobs due to technology and other factors; why should these guys be exempt. Besides, sitting in a van, watching TV, eating donuts and being cranky to people who are required to give you business should not be a job.

  10. Boise Banker
    Nov 29, 2007, 8:34 am

    I like the idea of making everyone go through emmissions tests no matter where one lives but I also know that is not practicle. What could work is saying that anyone within a metropolitan area with more than 100k people in it must have emmissions testing. The determination for a metro area could be a 15 mile radius of the city you live in. This would hit everyone from Boise to Star and on towards Caldwell. It should leave some of the very small communities like Parma or Marsing out but still hit the vast majority of the area. It very well could hit Pocatello or Idaho Falls. They are very close to that kind of threshhold. That way all of Idaho could be a more “green” state. If even just by a little.

    Or we could be Denmark and charge a 150% sales tax on all vehicles. That might deter people from using cars all together. I’d love to see someone from Middleton commute to Micron on a 10 speed. Or a contractor haul 8000 pounds of lumber in a pedal cart.

  11. I’m in favor of “sniffer gun technology” – and I’m taking it on your word that the technology exists and is accurate/reliable – for the visitors AND the Ada homeboys.

    The current emissions-testing law is a joke.

    I’m no expert – and an expert can correct me if I’m wrong – but here’s why I see it as a joke:
    1) By their own count, over 90% of vehicles pass the test on the first go ’round. (Which means 90 percent of vehicle owners are paying a $15 or $20 regressive “tax” strictly so they can catch the few bad apples.)
    2) The worst-polluting vehicles – old ones, diesels, etc., etc., have exemptions built in, right up front.
    3) Most amazingly, if the vehicle doesn’t pass, and it would cost more than $200 to bring it into compliance, you get a pass! Drive on! After all, poor folks can’t afford to drive clean cars!

    I’d volunteer for “sniffer” duty. When I’m bicycling about our fair burg, frequently a vehicle goes by that is definitely spewin’ the pollution. Usually I can tell before they go by, because you can hear that the engine is missing on 2 or 3 of the cylinders. And after it goes by, the air is so thick with vaporized hydrocarbons that it would probably ignite if somebody struck a spark! It’s sickening – literally – to breathe that stuff. Of course, those vehicles are most likely exempt – like the redneck diesel rigs that stink to High Heaven.

  12. Roadside sniffers sound good in theory, but how would you actually administer it?

    It blows me away people in Canyon County won’t pay a measly $15 each to test their cars. I like Banker’s idea about requiring testing at a certain population level.

    EDITOR NOTE–The GUARDIAN LAW simply ignores what any other county does or does not do. We would send them a notice to comply and take their license plates if the don’t do it…just as we do with Adans.

  13. Another GIT(good in theory) What about cars and trucks from out of this area or out of state? It would be difficult convincing someone from Maine they broke a law they did not know existed except only in Ada County.

    EDITOR NOTE–Clancy, you are correct. Not even worth sending them a post card. The ones you want are the daily commuters. If they just pass through, they are no threat to our air again. The German cops never sent me a remote photo speeding ticket after finding out where I lived last summer.

  14. It seems I would stand corrected on some things. Does anyone have a web site or the name of the company that makes them? I still have a lot of question about exactly how they work and how much money it might cost to implement the program.

    EDITOR NOTE–Fox 12 did a report last night (my Mac won’t play it) showing some of the devices. They quoted DEG people saying of the GUARDIAN, “He’s right, but we will need to change the existing law.”
    Even had the GUARDIAN on camera pitching the idea.

  15. Naznarreb asked for a web site about the testers. Go to Google and look up Envirotest Systems Corp

    You’ll get a ton of stuff.

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