City Government

Mayors Will Talk For a Price

We noticed a story on the Daily Paper site about the daughter of Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd getting a grand from the city in the form of a scholarship…we take note, but make no judgement about the propriety of that action.

However, we note this sentence, “The scholarships do not come from taxpayers’ money, Houston said, but from money left over from the state of the city address.”

Which begs the question, “Who pays whom to hear the mayor extol the merits of their administration?”

These events in Boise are “farm aid” for the Chamber of Commerce. The GUARDIAN has long decried Boise mayors cozy relationship with the Chamber. The Chamber charges folks $30 a plate for breakfast and stuffs the room with rich guys who don’t have to be at work on time and can spring for over priced scrambled eggs. The Chamber grosses $30,000 and the mayor gets a receptive audience. If what they have to say is important, it should be done at a city council meeting… but the Big Boys probably wouldn’t show up for a boring speech in the council chambers.

To its credit, Team Dave has made free seats available to anyone wishing to hear the words and wisdom of the mayor–who will no doubt tout the various “fan magazine” rankings which place Boise on some sort of national “ain’t Boise neat” list.

The GUARDIAN is currently in Lansing Michigan where the local politicos rolled over for business and industry for a century. Today the factories are not only closed, but they have been razed to piles of rubble. It is not a pretty site and it should serve as a warning to Boise that being “selected, placed on the list, considered, etc.” by a huge employer can hamstring an entire community which is eventually left holding the bag and is powerless to do anything but beg for a replacement industry which will only come if given “incentives.”

These folks could use a few GROWTHOPHOBES to balance things.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I disagree with the last bit. My previous residence was in a very unfriendly to business location and, as a result, no serious business located there, wages were low, benefits poor and most of the able left, while the city raised taxes year in and year out to support those who remained.

    The secret is not to attract a few big companies, but to insure the business climate is good for one and all. That way if a company leaves, the world does not end.

    Trust me, you do not want to live in a placed that has tipped, a place where there are more folk with their hands out for goodies from government than there are folk paying taxes.

  2. I agree with JIMV. Having a healthy business climate goes further than landing the big fish. Here is an interesting quote from an article at

    Larissa ter Veer, a spokeswoman for Boise’s airport, said air service there has grown as a natural function of the burgeoning economy there.

    “Boise has a great story to tell the airlines. “That’s our number one marketing tool: the growth,” she said.”

  3. I wish to agree with JIMV that a proper balance of values is necessary. An area has to have that proper balance for the right business’s to be interested and to stay. The big businesses that are pimping for the big tax incentives a lot of time are also the ones who will cripple the community for awhile with their labor problems or when their product does not keep up with the times or competetion gets them down.
    A town full of government employess with a few service type business all living off of each other doesnt work out real well. Someone has to be there creating the wealth for the rest to enjoy.

  4. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 3, 2008, 1:40 pm

    JIMV said we should have a “business climate (that) is good for one and all”. I agree, but the local government (as well as federal and state) should be neutral, as in not involved. Tax or other incentives for businesses are not a good idea, and just because some other city does it doesn’t mean we have to.

    And a business climate that is good for one and all, includes employees and the environment, too.

  5. “Mayors Will Talk For a Price”

    I wonder howamuch they would charge to shut up?

  6. Mayors shutting up? Fat chance. Same for any politician that wants to be re-elected. How do we get rid of politicians?

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