We listened to BoDo developer Mark Rivers enthusiastic gushings about some vague plans for a “Library Blocks”–six to be exact–development at the Monday City Club of Boise luncheon.
With numerous references to “instant gratification, A.D.D., three shot espresso, and strategizing,” it was hard to decide if the guy is “smooth” or “slick.” Regardless, he is right in tune with Team Dave (Mayor Dave Bieter was in the audience) when it comes to street car trolleys, packing downtown with people and buildings at the expense of taxpayers, and applauding the use of public money to help his projects.
When asked how much his projects contribute to the Boise City tax base, he danced around, but never came up with the truth which is NEARLY NOTHING…most of his tax money goes to the CCDC so it can subsidize more growth. He did tell the listeners that without $8,000,000 in public projects from the City urban renewal agency, Capitol City Development Corp. he wouldn’t have developed BoDo.
We asked four different people what Rivers said about financing a library with a “Public Private Partnership” and got four different answers. We THINK he said it would cost $50 million with $25 million coming from taxes (a bond) and the rest through donations “and sale of city property.” That seems to us as a “Public-Public Partnership” if you sell city assets…presumably to Rivers.
His library blocks project is looking at a mere 32 units out of 220 destined for “affordable housing.” Bottom line as the GUARDIAN sees it is Downtown development is something that works only for the affluent with financial support from middle class residents in the remainder of the city.
An uncomfortable moment came when moderator Marcia Franklin of Public Television asked him about his involvement in a political campaign to unseat Republican Legislator Mike Moyle of Star. Moyle is at the top of the pecking order in the legislature and an open critic of CCDC and much of local government. Moyle won the primary race despite Rivers’ efforts and money.
Rivers made a caustic remark about “some legislator from Burley,” and explained his attack on Moyle as necessary when people without vision and best interests of the city are in positions of power.
He also seemed less than enthusiastic in support of a new Convention Center.
The GUARDIAN has been critical of all those pie-in-the-sky proposals as well. We figure the much touted Hotel-Convention Center deal with the bid developer that was hyped in the Daily Paper will go the way of the tennis star dream hotel at Tamarack.
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