Merrill Linked To Avimor Success

If folks had any doubts about former Eagle Mayor Nancy Merril’s involvement promoting growth in the foothills, read this excerpt of a letter sent to John & Nancy Merrill by Avimor president and general manager Dan Richter.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued interest and help in bringing Avimor to life. You have been an integral part of our success and we are proud to announce recent completion of site improvements…”

He invited the Merrills to an Eagle Chamber of Commerce after hours event June 26 in an “intimate setting” at the subdivision to include hors d’oeuvres and live music.

Nancy Merrill passed along the letter to the GUARDIAN along with the beautiful color posters which were included in the mailing tube.

R.S.V.P. to Avimor: Nancy and John are avid readers of the GUARDIAN. The former mayor’s husband is not “John” and they live in EAGLE–not BOISE. You might want to send the Eagle Merrills another invite since John and Nancy of Boise won’t be attending.

Boise Nancy is a growthophobe who just didn’t feel right eating your hors d’oeuvres since she was NOT an integral part of your success and didn’t help bring the project to life.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Boise Nancy must be livid–having her good name used in connection with Avimor!

  2. Guardian, I believe this goes way beyond “Faux Pas”. It speaks to the pervasive “insider” relationships between developers and our elected officials. Anyone that has spent time observing local politicos and P&Z staffs have no doubt noticed the “something ain’t kosher here” relationship that the parties seem to have. They pass it off as a “regular working relationship” with developers, while at least appearing to be much more “intimate” than a work place relationship. The next time one of them asks “why do you distrust politicians so much?”, we can reference this little gem and reply, “need we say more?”
    It’s a helluva way to run a railroad!

  3. Good one, Guardian!

  4. Hmmmm. . .reminds me of my first extended visit to Texas forty years ago. . . it always amazed me the things you would see skittering around the dark places in the beam of your flashlight. . .

    Thanks to the “other” Merrills for sharing.

  5. What's the Link?
    Apr 23, 2008, 7:31 am

    It would be interesting to find out what is was that Mayor merrill did to help avimor. avimor, if you remember, had to get approval from Ada County, not Eagle. And, getting past gerry armstrong, and commissioners yzaguirre, tilman and peavey-derr (lower case intended) could not be easier.

    My guess is they want to help get merrill elected to the legislature where she can help get avimor friendly legislation passed.

  6. John Mitchell
    Apr 23, 2008, 8:57 am

    During Queen Nancy’s reign our “beloved” Mayor was going down to Idaho Transportation Dept. at taxpayer expense dragging our city lawyer along to try to get approval for a turnout lane into Rocky Mt. Bus area off the Eagle bypass. She used to own all that land that RM Business now occupies. I believe her son owns RM Fitness. After being denied several times ITD finally told her to stop coming down, they were not going to approve a turnout off the bypass.(ITD kept telling her that the bypass wasn’t designed for egress and ingress–it was designed to move traffic)

    So, it doesn’t surprise me that she has no doubt helped Avimor. Another reason to keep her on the chicken farm.

  7. I agree major faux pas. So major that it was probably a mass mailing without any personalization. I bet all the invitations look exactly the same. Looks to be a monthly event for the Chamber.

    EDITOR NOTE– Clancy, are you saying these people are insincere? The letter was signed by Dan Richter on nice Avimor letterhead.

  8. Avimor Insider
    Apr 23, 2008, 10:58 am

    This was obviously an error on the part of Avimor… sending an invitation to the wrong Nancy Merrill. Those kinds of mistakes are really embarrassing, but they happen.

    In the interest of seeking truth (which I hope the Guardian is not opposed to)…these invitations, with the same wording, were sent to the Ada County Commissioners, the Eagle City Council and city staff, and members of the State Legislature. Included in that list are individual politicians that have expressed opposition to the Avimor community and growth in general. It was a very typical invitation distribution for an Eagle Chamber of Commerce type of event. To suggest, based upon this invite, that backroom deals between developers and politicians are being conducted is simply way off base. Civic leaders are obligated to communicate well with those seeking to do business in their jurisdiction so that they are well informed about the decisions they are making on behalf of their citizenry.

    I understand that you are just a blogger, throwing out truculent opinions without a lot of facts at your disposal, like a starving journalist trying to create a controversial story ex nihilo. (See your Boise vs. Avimor Poop write-ups. That was a non-story if I’ve ever read one.)

    So that we all can understand your bias I’d like to ask: What is the fundamental principle upon which the Boise Guardian opposes Avimor?
    What are the changes that you fear because of growth?

    If you accept the premise that “growth in the Treasure Valley is inevitable”, then I am sure you would appreciate the way the folks at Avimor are going about it. This would require you to actually go visit them and learn about what they are doing. Whether you oppose growth or not, you’d come away extremely impressed with the level of stewardship that Avimor has taken for the land and community.

    If your intent is to stop growth in the Treasure Valley, then such is your privilege and right to oppose. Let our debate be about the pros and cons of growth rather than virulent attacks on the innocent.

    So that you understand my bias…As a boy that grew up here in this valley and now with children of my own, I want to keep this valley great (admittedly my own subjective standard of what great is). Also, for my whole life I have been dependent on growth for my livelihood.

    Keeping our standard of living great and growth are not mutually exclusive.

    I’d argue that most of the ways the valley has been growing in the past 20 years have not been conducive to the way of life that I seek for my children. I don’t blame the political officials of the past, nor the small developers for their lack of foresight. I generally trust that they did the best they could with the resources they had at the time. Community planning has definitely evolved and improved in the last decade. Master planned communities provide solutions to the ills that we are seeing now in the valley as a result of poor planning in the past.

    Your Avimor Insider

    You pretty well summed things up with your guest list and opinions. We growthophobes do not believe “growth is inevitable.”

  9. I think the Insider missed the point(s).

  10. I often disagree with much of the content of this blog but continue to come back because I think the dialogue is worthwile much of the time. Whether or not I continue to come back hinges on Dave’s due dilligence in verifying the second paragraph of Avimor Insider’s comment.

    In particular, if the same worded invitation was sent to other politicians who oppose Avimor, then said invitation is not a basis for assumming that Nancy promoted growth in the foothills, which she may very well be guilty of.

    If what Avimor Insider says is true than Dave should retract his invitation-based malignment of Nancy. If he doesn’t it will be the last thing that I notice about this blog.

    EDITOR NOTE–Her voting record as councilor and mayor of Eagle is a public record. Avimor Insider seems to be saying ALL politicians were thanked for the success of the subdivision. Finally, we love to share our thoughts, but if you don’t like what you read , just like radio and TV you can always change stations.

  11. Dear Avimor
    Apr 23, 2008, 1:44 pm

    So, you claim that, “Community planning has definitely evolved and improved in the last decade.”

    Has it now? I guess violating the state land use planning act to approve avimor might be called evolution. I have my doubts about whether it should be called “improvement.”

    While you are baring your soul, would you mind telling us about the deal you made with ITD that got you out of building the overpass? I’m sure you have a lovely explanation.

  12. As I made clear in my original comment, I completely allow for the possiblility that Nancy promoted the Avimor debacle. My point is that if Avimor Insider is correct than the invitation sent to Nancy means nothing and therefore this post should be retracted, or at the very least qualified.

    If ALL politicians were thanked, regardless of whether or not they supported the project, then Nancy getting an invitation is meaningless. Hence, “folks (with) doubts about former Eagle Mayor Nancy Merril’s involvement promoting growth in the foothills” get NOTHING from reading the quote you pulled from the invitation.

    If you are unable to retract your clear insinuation that the invitation somehow ADDS to evidence of Nancy’s involvement than I’ll be happy to change channels, but I would rather think that you have enough self-awareness to see that this post is pure propagandist spin if, in fact, the invitation was sent to both supporters and non-supporters.


  13. Avimor Insider
    Apr 23, 2008, 2:46 pm

    Throughout the Eagle Comprehensive Plan hearings, Mayor Merrill made it very clear that she would not support willey-nilley growth in the Foothills, but that she sought to protect them with managed growth under the perview of Eagle’s City Council. Remember, she knew during all those hearings that she would not personally have this oversite, but that her predessors would. Her leadership paved the way for future generations of Eagle citizens to have a say in what happens in the foothills. She made it clear to us that growth must pay its own way and that it should provide solutions to its own impact on the community.

    Look at the alternative to Avimor’s master plan. What if the ranch owner of this private land had sold the land piecemeal to 50 different small developers. You wouldn’t see land being donated for schools, firestations, trails, etc. You wouldn’t have a large developer that could help cover the bill for Hwy 55 improvements. You wouldn’t see the revegetation of native and drought resistant plants. You wouldn’t see the removal of noxious fire-hazard weeds. You wouldn’t see the first Firewise master planned community in Idaho. You wouldn’t see the wildlife migration cooridors being preserved. You wouldn’t see a community of 100% EnergyStar certified homes. You wouldn’t see the water conservation efforts. Avimor is doing all these things and much, much more. Mr. McLeod chose SunCor to develop his land because he knows that we would do it the right way, leaving a lasting legacy for his posterity to enjoy. (not just financially)

    The other alternative is for the state to take over all the private land by way of eminent domain and turn it into a protected wilderness area. Who cares about property rights anyway? Aren’t they just archaic principles that our founding fathers believed in that have no relevance in today’s society where we are so concerned about global warming?

  14. Oh I think insider misses a lot of points. And he raised children!

  15. “insider” shows the exact thing that is VERY VERY concerning – very little concern about impact to our tax and infrastructure, close insider relationships with local elected officials (relationships that go WELL beyond casual), and a general “hang-it-in-your-ear” we are going to do what we want because “we have the elected officals in our back pocket” attitude.

    Add to that we have local offials (who are in the developers pockets) hiring lobbists to change the Constitution to try to get a blank check for local option taxes!!!!!!!!!!

  16. bert farber
    Apr 23, 2008, 4:02 pm

    dh says: “Hmmmm. . .reminds me of my first extended visit to Texas forty years ago. . . it always amazed me the things you would see skittering around the dark places in the beam of your flashlight. . .”

    I think you just otta leave Texas out of this. Anybody who has ever seen the bluebonnets bloom between San Antonio and Austin wood know what it;s like to shed a tear or too.

  17. Avimor player said, among other truculent claims that “you’d come away extremely impressed with the level of stewardship that Avimor has taken for the land and community.”

    Stewardship? That’s not what I call what Avimor “NLC” (NO Liability Corp) is attempting. Strip mining, clear cutting or dredging perhaps but stewardship? Never!

    I have though been “impressed” with the lengths and deviations that all you opportunists and developers will go to in order to make the big and fast bucks. Then too I was, and still am, very impressed with Paul Tibbets’ handy work with the Enola Gay. I suppose that the Japanese weren’t nearly as pleased with that devastation as I am. I view your huge subdivisions full of empty houses and lots and the rest of the rape of Idaho in exactly the same light as the Japanese survivors viewed what was left of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

    Anyone of you developers and house builders who claim you are doing ANY of the land raping and house building as expensively as you can or for the “good of the community” but not to line your own pockets with as much profit as you can scam are truly “mis-speaking” on a colossal scale.

    Wining and dining our elected representatives in any venue that you can lure them to may be business as usual for you lobbyists and developers but it smacks of foreplay leading to under the covers deals to me.

    I truly hope that you and your other developer pals experience the exact same success as Jean Pierre and his buddies are currently having. You deserve it!

  18. I just love when people like Avimore Insider trot out the patriotic “Founding Fathers” stuff to try and justify the status quo. This is just disgusting elitisnm shrouding itself in the flag to fend off criticism. It’s the “your for us or against us” sound bite used to make your critics look like terrorists or commies. It works well in Idaho because most of us fold when confronted with the patriot card. We learnt it in school. Corruption is the new family value and now it’s patriotic.

  19. if I had a hammer
    Apr 23, 2008, 7:03 pm

    Gee, Avimor, Hammer Flat, just a little hand holding on the part of elected officials to let the out-of-staters have “their way” with our formerly beautiful valley. In some situations, it is referred to as “rape”. But what the heck, if Lt. Gov Risch can keep his cows up on Hammer Flat (The Cliffs) so the out-of-state developer can truck in feed and water on that barren stretch of sagebrush, bitterbrush and rock and be able to declare it an “agricultural exemption”, I guess Ms. Merrill or any of the other elected officials can be appropriately thanked for keeping Idaho’s growth in check…HUH????

  20. It appears that the Avimor insider is someone with an axe to grind in this whole episode. I would be really interested in who the insider is. In fact, I would challenge him/her to admit who they are here. let’s get this whole mess out into some sunshine. The fact that this was a “mass mailing” to all politicos, and influential members of the valley does NOT make it better. Insider, do you believe that the influence peddling effort with ” an intimate setting” is in the best interest of the people that live here? It appears that at first blush, the purpose of the “celebration” is to get all the “heavy hitters” in a controlled enviornment, mix in a little wine, a little food, a little entertainment and put the arm on them to do what is in Avimor’s best interest. Sounds a little too “back room” to me.
    And as an aside, Avimor insider, I am serious about you identifying yourself. I also believe the coin has two sides. My name is Jim Monihan. I have lived in Boise for 35 years and I am in the book. Care to join me in a little sunshine??
    P.S. Philomath, you must not know the Guardian. He may be a bit of a rogue, but he “don’t do” threats well! So, Bon Voyage!!

  21. I digress but Bert, you said “I think you just otta leave Texas out of this. Anybody who has ever seen the bluebonnets bloom between San Antonio and Austin wood know what it;s like to shed a tear or too.

    Well Bert, Your beloved San Antonio can’t be too beloved or we wouldn’t see all of these Texans pulling stakes and swarming here. I don’t know many Idahoans that voluntarily spent anymore time in your beloved Texas than we had to spend there.
    In 1968 at the tender age of 18 and, at the time, never having traveled east of Montana or Arizona, north of Seattle, or South of Monterey Kalifornia, I had never seen daily 99% humidity or inch and half long cockroaches and scorpions in every dark corner. (I must have sneezed while flying over the “Austin wood.”) I did see a few young mommas boys “shed a tear” but I attributed that more to the stress of Basic Training and the fear of becoming TAC Trained killers than being impressed with the state.
    Having said that about the proliferation of skittering and slithering varmints in Texas I’ll be glad to leave Texas out of most things if you can figure a way to get most of the Texans out of Idaho.

  22. Insider talks about, “leaving a lasting legacy.” He got that right.

    Avimor was having trouble in the application process until commissioners Tilman, Yzaguirre (who owned land that benefitted from Avimor’s approval) and Judy Peavey Derr (A real estate agent before becoming a commissioner, now working for rubble homes) gutted development services and brought in the rubber stamp brigade of Armstrong (Also now at Rubble), Pecchennino (Currently selling nuke plants in Owyhee County), Cook (Now at WRG Engineering, an Avimor consultant), and some other rif raf. Then, Cha-Ching. Faster than you can say money in the bank, Avimor got approved.

    It took about three years for public scrutiny to get Peavey Derr booted from office for things like approving Avimor and participating in illegal closed door meetings about The Cliffs. Public scrutiny also got the core of the planned community section of development services fired for conflict of interest and other misdeeds related to their clearly unscrupulous and possibly illegal promotion of Avimor and The Cliffs.

    Now Insider has the audacity to suggest that civic leaders are obliged to attend closed door events like the one at Avimor to “communicate well” with developers.

    Greed, corruption, subversion of the public process, blatant end run around community planning efforts like Blueprint and Compass by and for a limited liability corporation from Arizona who claims they have Boise’s best interests at heart.

    Nice frigging legacy.

  23. Cyclops,

    It appears that you, and Dave, haven’t, and likely won’t, see the point. I’m not threatening anybody and I have read this blog long enough to know that Dave couldn’t care less if he loses a reader.

    Let me make the point one last time. To use the Avimor mailer to defame Mayor Merrill is a complete and total red herring since receiving the invitation does NOT entail being a supporter of Avimor. My point has NOTHING to do with Avimor, but is about pure and simple logic.

    It’s clear that Dave got caught up in thinking that he had some kind of “scoop” and is unwilling to retract it. His inability to own up to the fact that the invitation, and hence this post, is completely meaningless casts doubt on his entire enterprise.

    Don’t bother responding as I won’t see it.

  24. John Mitchell
    Apr 24, 2008, 12:20 pm


    Let’s see, “improved Hwy 55” !! You betcha!!! I just love that turnout lane into Nevermor—-How bout telling us how you really got permission to ignore ITD’s 2006 letter which mandated an overpass………the next item I’m sure will be a stoplight. Now that”s improving travel on 55….anyone who goes to McCall on weekends should start looking at small Cessnas.

  25. Cook is no longer at WRG, as of 2007.

    Gerry is no longer at Hubble, as of 2007.

    Peccheninno is a quack who will say anything and do anything to make a buck. He says he is the only “qualified planner” in the Treasure Valley. I have more qualifications than he does, and all that consists of is a BS Urban Planning degree from Utah! And he does side work for some of the PC developers, trying his best to write ordinances. I used to send them back to him with several pages of red-marks. What a worthless slob.-l

    PC’s are terrible ideas in places like the Treasure Valley, I learned that the hard way. They teach, in school, that new urbanism and planned communities are the greatest thing on earth. Maybe in a more dense area like SLC or Denver (and elsewhere that is still booming). But not in Boise where the infrastructure cannot handle to demand placed by these PCs and PUDs. If people want to live in Eagle and Meridian, or Nampa, and deal with those headaches, then let them. I live in SE Boise and it is close to everything I need, at the same cost to what they’ve paid. But they have all the extra square footage they’ll never use and pay for. Oh wait! Now they can’t afford it and are having to foreclose. So much for the dream you developers were selling.

    I do agree with the statement that it’s better to have one large development on the same plot of land than several small ones and the services offered will be greater. That’s nice on paper or a pretty map that PC developers like to produce. Yet, those services aren’t enough to sustain trips and even stay in business. Witness the Merc at Hidden Springs.

    I grew up in an older PC…Kingwood, TX. Now just a bedroom community of Houston. Same as the better known Woodlands. Both were developed, initially, by large development companies with the backing of oil money. Kingwood never was self-sustaining, partially because it was annexed by Houston, but also because it just didn’t work. It’s finally built-out after 30 years and it’s just a bedroom community. Sure there are some shopping centers for the 60k people living there but the “town square” was never completed and trips were never combined. I will say, the greenbelts are bar-none the best I’ve ever seen in the US. Construction on US-59 is perpetual, developers never paid for any of that. Texas state law is AS relaxed as Idaho’s.

    In the end, you’re trying to create (and get approved in less than 2 years) the idea of a new community. It takes decades to create a livable area that works well. In fact, every city has it’s issues that each government faces. You’re trying to create a harmonious community that will damned near self-sufficient and work in some warped utopian-way. Wait! That’s just what you’re trying to sell. The same product in a different wrapper. And charge a little more because of harmony you’ve created for each consumer.

    Great legacy!

  26. Avimor Insider
    Apr 24, 2008, 3:32 pm

    Wow! This is a tough crowd.

    I do want to address the Avimor agreement with ITD as it appears that some are unduly disgruntled simply because they don’t know what is going on. The agreement is to provide certain highway improvements in stages at specified numbers of roof tops.

    It is in Avimor’s best interest to proactively provide solutions to the impact they will have, rather than reacting to the problems after they are created.

    A stop light is a possibility, but it would only be temporary as it would only sustain a certain level of traffic impact. At that point, a change on a larger scale will be required. The traffic studies indicate that a light would delay a trip to McCall a whole 21 seconds.

    The grade separated interchange requirement is not off the table, nor has Avimor skirted around it with some secret deal with ITD.

    Avimor is looking at some really smart alternatives that would keep traffic flowing and have much less environmental impact than a huge freeway interchange. Stay tuned!

  27. Philomath, I don’t believe that Mrs. Merrill deserves a pass because she was the messenger here, although unknowingly. The fact that “all, or most” of the elite are invited still speaks to the fact that there seems to be a level of “coziness” among developers and city/county officials that most citizens find concerning?

    I would certainly not think to speak for the Guardian, but if it would make you feel better to say that “Ex-mayor Nancy Merrill has received an invitation, along with every other sleazebag politician and bureaucrat in the valley to attend a celebration party put on by Avimor to thank them for their support and manipulations so far, and to entice them to continue to assist us in our efforts to skate through the “paperwork” so we can maximize our return”, then I guess I would agree to that! I certainly wouldn’t want to single out the ex mayor of Eagle when she obviously has no shortage of fellow “shady” officials to party with.
    I don’t see this as a scoop as much as one more instance (of the numerous pointed out in the past by the Guardian) of someone elected to office to represent the citizens and failing to do so. I don’t think Mrs. Merrill will attend the “celebration” especially now that this has come out. But I will bet you “mucho dinero” that she would have. She would be nuts if she didn’t! Just think of all the fund-raising “opportunities” she would have with that many of the “chosen” in one room at the same time. It would make her future political plans so much easier.

    EDITOR NOTE–The only reason Merrill was singled out is because of the faux pas with the mailing. Had Avimor not sent Boise Nancy the packet and the self-described boilerplate form letter inviation, we never would have known. We find it odd and a bit disconcerting to “thank” politicians who vote against your interests.

  28. If Avimor is not inclined to build ramps (couldn’t resist that pun) for an OVERpass, LOGIC tells me the next best solution is to dig a hole (they are good at that) and build an UNDER pass. No problem, just don’t stick a traffic signal in the middle of nowhere on a 55mph rural highway–that could cause people to die as you are aware.

  29. Mr. Logic, being aware, and having genuine concern are two entirely different things. There will most definitely be a by-pass of some sort. I am just afraid it won’t be built by Avimor. Gee! maybe that will be on the agenda at the “celebration”!
    A lousy way to run a railroad.

  30. Oh! And Avimor insider? Just as I thought! No Cajones!!!

  31. Get over yourselves. The letter does not reference Nancy in any way. To me it sounds like a general letter that probably went out to anyone they sought fit to invite to their little party. You guys are starting to sound desperate…

  32. Legacy? I would be very interested to know what inconsistent ramblings you are attempting to spread. You are making some pretty big statements that I would like to see backed up. The main ones are: Yzaguirre (who owned land that benefited from Avimor’s approval) hmm where is that since he has not owned any land for several years now.
    Cook (Now at WRG Engineering, an Avimor consultant) really you still think so.
    Armstrong (Also now at Rubble) Hmmm you could be talking about Hubble but he doesn’t work there either. Is there really a Rubble????

    Now let’s see you leave a real Legacy behind and do a little research before you grossly misstate the facts.

    And Avimor Insider: You are really preaching to the wrong crowd. It does not matter how many great things you are doing, it will never be enough for most of these guys. You could only be building ten homes and it still would be nine too many in Dave’s eyes.

  33. A quick look at Avimor’s (Suncor (PNW)) annual report is an eye opener. From 2006 to 2007 their revenues dropped by a whopping $185 million (46%). Their net income dropped from $61 million to $24 million, a decrease of 60%.

    Keep in mind, the housing market was still semi okay for most of 2007. Currently it is a sure thing that Suncor/Avimor is bleeding red ink. And, given the surplus of houses and planned communities on the market, both here and the rest of the country, the story won’t be changing for several years. Other analysts seem to agree. The parent company’s stock (PNW) is doing a Micron-esque swan dive. At $53 per share in Dec-O6, it is now at $35 and dropping. Suncor is the main reason why. Keep in mind that the parent company is an electric utility. They are not used to losing money.

    Safe Bet 1 – PNW will dump Suncor/Avimor if it gets half a chance.

    Safe Bet 2 – Avimor won’t be contributing funds for highway improvements any time soon.

  34. It has been said above, Snoop, but the problem with the mailing is this: a developer is lavishly entertaining the politicos who could ease the way for their development. Shouldn’t a development stand on its own merits? Is it okay to wine and dine public officials, rather, is it okay for public officials to cozy up with developers that way? How It Is and How It Ought To Be are two separate things. Regardless, we should be striving for how It Ought To Be. Politicians should cozy up to the constituents and represent the constituents’ best interest, not the developers’.

  35. Smart alternatives = Roundabout? If so, please do make the central portion big enough to land Life Flight.

    SH-55 in the future. SH-44, traffic signal, Hill Road – traffic signal, Floating Feather, traffic signal, Beacon Light – traffic signal, Brookside – traffic signal, Shadow Valley Golf Course – traffic signal, Avimor – two traffic signals.

    Try to visualize 3-day weekend traffic.

  36. Clippityclop
    Apr 25, 2008, 10:35 am

    I think Finance 101 got to the heart of the matter… Avimor is an open artery, and there’s no way that they’re going to be funding any meaningful highway projects, such as an interchange, in this market. A traffic light is absolutely ludicrous and if ITD falls for that option, they need a lot more than an audit. What a public safety fiasco.

  37. Here is the list of these after hours events that the Eagle Chamber of Commerce sponsors.
    Jan 08 – M3 Companies
    Feb 08 – R Squared Digital Media
    Mar 08 — Multiple Businesses
    Apr 08 — Sandra L Clapp & Assoc
    May 08 — Porterhouse
    Jun 08 — Avimor
    Jul 08 — Eye to Eye
    Aug 08 — Legacy
    Sep 08 — Pamela’s Bakery Cafe
    Oct 08 — Franco Latino
    Nov 08 — Bank of the Cascades
    Dec 08 — Chamber Christmas Party

    Note to Politicos, you better not attend any of these, as it could be considered as a conflict of interest.

  38. The Constituent
    Apr 25, 2008, 11:07 am

    Funny how developers are classified as a separate species of human being. Don’t you realize that developers are just as much “constituents” as you are? They are citizens with rights too. Just because they believe differently than you do does not mean they can’t seek audience with elected leaders.

    Developers have chosen to budget money to support candidates and to lobby politicians. As long as they stay within the bounds of the law in that regard…fine!

    The enormity of information involved in making decisions on this scale cannot fully be made in city council meetings, commissioner hearings, or legislative sessions. Nor can a full understanding of such projects be achieved by reading page after page of paper in boxes full of binders. Opportunities to “educate” civic leaders have to be created. Relationships of trust have to be established. You just can’t download that volume of info directly into the brains of elected officials.

    Politics is a tough gig. Sadly, it is a hard game to play for them and for we constituents. I wish it wasn’t a game at all. Ideally each issue would be considered on it own merits by every elected official. In all practicality, their decisions largely have to be made on trust. Do they trust the decisions of their fellow politicians? Do they trust the constituents presenting their information to them?

    What are you doing to create relationships of trust with your politicians?

    If you oppose growth so much, work harder to get candidates elected that agree with your principles. If an issue is important to you, wouldn’t you chose to support politicians with your money? If you oppose growth to such a great measure, arrange your own event and invite the politicians. Make it a potluck… I’ll bring a salad!

  39. We took a drive up to Avimor yesterday (Thursday) to see what progress has been made. There was little traffic on SH 55 in the midafternoon so that turning left out of the subdivision was no problem. I shudder to think about trying to return to Boise in the summer on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

    It is easy to see how devastating this must be for the developers, with gas nearing $4.00 per gallon and diesel even worse. It is a five mile drive from Avimor just to Floating Feather Road. Anyone who is worrying about using less gas is probably not going to want to add an additional 10 miles per day, or two or three times a day, just to buy groceries and pick up kids from school, not even counting the miles to any actual employment center.

    However, I do not feel sorry for the developers since they should be well aware of the uncertainty of the real estate market. I do feel sorry for the subcontractors and suppliers who may become financial victims if Avimor does the same thing as Tamarack.

  40. Snoop,

    Let’s see. Armstrong did get rescued from the County by Hubble Homes (aka Hovel, Rubble, Insta-Slum, etc.) Cook did get rescued from the County by WRG. I mistakenly called them WRG Engineeering. Their real name is WRG Design and yes, they are one of Avimor’s consultants. Check out their client list at

    I stand corrected that Armstrong and Cook have parted company with their recent employers. However, the bigger point remains. Staffers instrumental to Amimor’s approval were very cozy with the members of the development community that had matters pending before the county. That includes both Hubble and Avimor.

    As for Yzaguirre. There was testimony at the Avimor BOCC hearing regarding his ownership of property (subsequently sold) near the intersection of Highways 55 and 44 (State St.). Approval of the project would increase traffic at that intersection and increase the value of his property. Yzaguirre did not recuse himself.

    That is in character for Yzaguirre. This is the same man that misappropriated public funds for personal use and to make republican campaign donations. See, and

    It is also the same man that dropped $17,000 of public money on a failed defense of his open meeting law violation to discuss The Cliffs.

    That is what a corrupt government looks like. And, it is disgusting for companies like Avimor to put on a smiley face and say that elected officials are obliged to meet with them behind closed doors.

    Again, nice legacy. Nice, corrupt, ugly, stinking, legacy.

  41. bert farber
    Apr 25, 2008, 2:00 pm

    bY THE aUSTIN WOOD…do you mean the magnificent Texas Hill Country…and by momma’s mean some of the toughest fighting men in the country? Remember the Rapido River!


  42. Oh Clancy, come on. Politicians shouldn’t attend Business after Hours events because it might cause a conflict of interest? Please.

    Conflicts of interest under Idaho Law are those of financial interest which can include those of close relatives such as a spouse, parent or child and really, if the parent or child don’t share income with the politician than that really doesn’t count. Most would declare that relationship anyway, I’m sure, as in my daughter works for so and so and then they might ask to be excused from voting.

    But Clancy, are you and many others posting here it seems, really saying that politicians cannot speak with developers? That’s absurd just as it would be absurd to say that politicians cannot speak with neighborhood group representatives because someday they might come before the commission/council and that would be a conflict of interest.

    The Constituent gets it right.

  43. Seems about right to me
    Apr 25, 2008, 3:36 pm

    I read an interesting article yesterday. The author says we will be able to tell when we get to the bottom of the housing decline. When you take the annual amount you can rent a house for, multiply that number by 7. That is a fair value for a house. $1000 a month rent would mean buying the house at $84,000 is a fair deal. I think we have a way to go.

    Since people cannot get zero down mortgages these days, wages are going to have to go way up so people can save for a downpayment, or house prices are going to have to go way down so people can reasonably save up for a smaller downpayment. Your call as to which will happen.

    Maybe we need a bigger stimulus package? Instead of a check for $1200, the goverment could send us all a check for $12 million. That way, we are all rich and all our problems are over.

    By the way, I spent a year in Texas one July.

  44. +1 for “Finance 101” (for providing some data showing how Avimor flounders), and +1 for “Philomath” & “Insider” (for trying to show that conicidence does not equal evidence.)

    And +2 for “Cyclops” (for somehow associating all this with railroads.)

  45. Sara, I posted that with sarcasm. I agree with you, politicians can’t tiptoe around all the time other wise they would be locked in their house.

  46. Backflow Valve
    Apr 25, 2008, 5:29 pm

    Er, excuse me Mr./Ms. Avimor Insider. You mentioned that the stop light would be ‘temporary’. Exactly how long is ‘temporary’ in this case?

    Life is temporary. So is an ice age. So are the earth and the stars.

    One of those elusive words, like ‘reasonable’.

    In my mind, temporary would be a stop light installed for traffic control on a highway construction project. The end of its usefulness is specified. If it depends on the number of rooftops, who determines how long it will take to build/sell the rooftops? I’d say the economy makes those determinations. Could be a year. Could be 10 years. Could be the 12th of fornever.

    Oh, welcome to our happy club.

  47. Sara, I don’t believe anyone has said that developers can’t talk to elected officials or staff. They have every right to do so. It is when that campaign donation (budgeted) starts taking on a “quid pro quo” aura that some people become concerned. When the possibility of future employment with the developer appears to “streamline” the permiting process, things start taking on an “odor”. A higher standard of conduct comes with the territory relative to elected officials and bureaucrats. They know about it going in, brag that they would never concede to unfair influence, and we have the right to expect them to do so. You, above anyone here, realize that!

  48. Heeding Sun Tsu I provide the following Avimor/Suncor “facts” gleaned from the slick copy at

    Great shopping opportunities! But they are only available in Eagle, along Eagle road, in downtown Boise and at the Town Square Mall. Guess Meridian doesn’t rate except for the schools.
    Employment opportunities abound in the same general areas.
    Meridian School District and Meridian High School. (Gives new meaning to a neighborhood school?)
    Lots the size of back yard gardens. 45×110 clear up to the upper crust 90 x 130 foot size. But they ARE only ten to twenty five minutes from some necessities. Maybe the house buyers can use the extensive facilities at the Hidden Springs subdivision just east of there.

    With disillusioned, bankrupted, immigrants leaving Idaho in hordes, to whom do the developers of Nevermore hope to sell their little lots and houses crowded on an old sheep ranch “10 minutes” from Eagle and “25 minutes” from downtown Boise? Who spends big dollars to live on an expensive 45 x 110 foot lot in a sea of other crowded together boxes that far from their strip malls? (Never understood “minutes” as a measure of distance for ground conveyance. How many miles, or even gallons of fuel, is that for the single soccer mom jabbering on her cel and herding her Expedition with her elbow?)

    Traffic on SH55 has been morphing into a long two lane version of Eagle Road (or a bumper car parking lot frequented by flatland fools) for a number of years. This newest subdivision, full of yuppies seeking only God knows what “lifestyle” will, even with ANY type of traffic safety provisions, only add more traffic incidents and fatalities to 55’s growing toll. (No smog increase though because after all I’m certain that they will all voluntarily pay their smog certification taxes.) I feel sorry for the Idahoans who can’t detour the whole mess but I enjoy seeing the yahoos that think they are getting away from it all at Tamarack and present day McCall every traffic jammed weekend.
    No wonder the shakers and movers behind this operation are trying every trick at their disposal to schmooze our elected reps. Sleazy deals, wine blurred sales pitches, under the table favoritism, whatever. What’s next, expense paid trips, new loaner beemers, cheap property for investment opportunities? Oh Wait! That is illegal and then too, it would take a bigger speculative investment than might be recovered. Sociopaths and developers have no consciences and no shame. Lets not kill any of those domestic or Canadian wolves and stop controlling the numbers of urban cougars. To them I’m sure developers and yuppies would both taste like chicken.

  49. Rod in SE Boise
    Apr 26, 2008, 11:41 am

    This issue and the comments so far illustrate several relevant points.

    1. Someone at Avimor sent an invitation to the wrong Nancy Merrill, illustrating that private industry can be incompetent. Idahoans and Republicans like to claim that private industry is more efficient than government. Not always.

    2. Governments at all levels – federal, state, and local are failing to serve the citizens – and instead are serving the interests of the high and mighty (and rich). The iraq war and the occupation are all about making the rich richer – just one example among many.

    3. Someone commented that Avimor (a corporation) is a constituent, just like any other private citizen, and should be allowed to communicate their desires to government officials. Well, Ralph Nader will challange that. One of his goals is to end “personhood” for corporations. That alone is enough to make me vote for him instead of the corporate supported Clinton, Obama, or McCain.

  50. You know…..sillyness of this blog site and related posts aside (especially this one), it has finally dawned on me why the majority of you local Growthphobes hate developers/builders. You all sat here with your thumbs up your butts and watched real estate prices skyrocket around you, and you were too dim witted and/or scared to get in the game and capatilize on it. Must be painful…I almost feel bad for you. NOT. You sat here and watched little run down 80 year old huts in the North End go from $100k to $300k almost overnight, and you missed the boat. You’re jealous and pissed. Aren’t you?

  51. antiphobe: That is the best post to ever come out of this site!

  52. Reply to Antiphobe.


  53. Hi, antiphobe. Nope. Not in the least. I did not feel any envy when speculators and people who could not afford the mortgages they took out were raking in the cash.

    I feel just as much sympathy now that their house of cards is falling.

    A house, like any commodity, is ‘worth’ exactly what someone is willing to pay for it.

    I did things a little differently. I got an eductation, a good job, made a decent salary, saved as much money as I could, paid my bills and paid off my mortgage early.

    What I will offer is, when these people need to raise some real cash to pay bills, I may be willing to buy some of their more desirable items, at a steep discount.

    No Hummers though.

    Bon Voyage!

  54. Death in the Family
    Apr 27, 2008, 4:51 pm

    We talked with a person today who has a sister who is worried about unemployment. She works for an outfit in Phoenix. According to our friend, they have had significant layoffs lately. Apparently, it may have something to do with a project in Idaho.

    Homework assignment: Think of a PC, and fill in the blanks, rounded to the nearest million:

    Earthwork ___
    Sewage Treatment plant ___
    Land acquisition costs ___
    Idaho Power line ___
    United Water line ___
    Intermountain Gas line ___
    Concrete batch plant ___
    Paving ___
    Build model homes ___
    Application fees ___
    Build million gallon water tank ___
    Advertising ___
    Design and engineering fees ___
    drill monitoring wells ___
    Property taxes ___
    Employee wages ___
    Legal expenses ___
    Loan expenses ___
    Other/miscellaneous ___

    Total ___

    Current return on investment ___

    Via Con Dios, Muchachios.

  55. Antiphobe, remember that not all of us are motivated by money. 🙂 Dumb luck had my husband and me buying the two homes we’ve owned just before each jump in the market. It was a happy accident, but my thumbs are clean, my bulbs are bright, and I’m not weighed down by jealousy. My opposition to sprawl has nothing to do with my (lack of) desire to capitalize on it.

  56. Antiphobe,

    I don’t have a problem with making money. And, I have no problem with developers. Unless, they make their money by making false promises to their customers, leaving others to pay for their infrastructure, subverting the democratic process and destroying parts of the valley that the public has determined best left undeveloped. In that case they deserve all the scorn they get because they are no better than people who rob banks with the help of the bank managers.

    No, I don’t miss not being a liar, a cheat, a scoundrel, and a thief.

  57. Hi, I was reading your item on the Nancy Merrill mistake and then read some of the comments and the person referring to themself as an Avimor insider is most likely a PR person for Drake Cooper, they are a company representing Avimor’s public relations. They have joined a community/group web page on Yahoo that has quite a few residents of Eagle that communicate on our city issues, etc.and they always are promoting Avimor for M3 the developer.

    Actually Jeff, we have confirmed the Insider really is an insider. Thanks for the tip about the PR firm. That firm also has a refugee from Tamarack as well.

  58. wildlifebegone
    Apr 29, 2008, 9:36 am

    It is not only Suncor & Avimor..but also Kastera wants to build 128 or so homes around the Shadow Valley golf course… and Cartwright rance and Jeker’s place at Brookside and Dry Creek…HUNDREDS of homes are planned for those areas… currently, deer, coyote, fox, quail, pheasant, a few Elk, a badger or two…all visit the areas being developed. Soon after houses are built and sold, complaints about missing cats and dogs will arise and the coyotes will be trapped /killed.. the quail and pheasant habitat will be more fox and badger, etc. And, where is all this water needed to support the homes, lawns, gardens, etc. going to come from? When I moved here in 87, Boise was in the 3rd year of a drought..people could not water lawns or wash cars except on certain days… a drought will come again…. the cycle continues…

  59. Math Destruction
    Apr 29, 2008, 12:09 pm

    Wildlifebegone, you are spot on about wildlife. However, you left two zeros off the number of houses projected for the foothills. It is actually tens of thousands of homes, if the developers can accomplish what they want to do.

    Also, not to worry about water, according to the developers. They each have a ‘will serve’ letter from United Water. Problem solved.

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