City Government

North Enders Get Special Treatment



Boise’s North End continues to get a disproportionate benefit from public agencies as the Ada County Highway District collects leaves from the tree lined streets.

Thanks to the original town plat, the North End has sidewalks and right of way (between curb and sidewalk) with majestic old growth elm and maple trees, creating demands on public services.

Harrison Boulevard has ornamental pear trees which offer a beautiful springtime and autumn display. Boise’s forestry department prunes and sprays the trees, responds to storm damage and generally does a fine job helping the “City of Trees” live up to its name.

On the down side, those of us whose fate is to live on the Bench where few sidewalks exist are forced to do our own tree maintenance while paying the city to concentrate on the North and East ends of the city…when was the last time anyone saw a City forestry crew south of Overland?

As winter approaches, the ACHD will expend a disproportionate sanding effort on the hillside streets
due to the danger created by Boise allowing steep inclined roadways subject to ice and snow. Life isn’t fair, but as public budgets tighten, look for more grumbling–perhaps from North Enders if they don’t get the special treatment.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. What about the East Enders also?

    I think your argument has some validity but also some holes. Yes the leave removal does take extra work and the taxpayer pear trees are beautiful. But I did pay for the new sidewalk and do pay for water on a tree that I do not own.

    The North and East Ends also have some of the higher densities per acre and property values. Thus we pay more taxes than you on the Bench. Doing a brief search on the Ada Assesor’s web site I came up with the following figures.

    -One acre(1.042) of Northend houses(8) is valued at $3.21 million. 1.37 acres of the East End is valued at $2.5 million.

    -One acre (1.02) of Bench houses(6) is valued at $1.11 million. Another Bench area 1.37 acres valued at $1.31 million.

    Higher densities also are more cost effective to service-especially sewer systems (more hook up per mile of sewer main= more revenue)

    So I guess the question is “Does the North and East Ends really get special treatment or are we receiving the level of service we pay for?”

    EDITOR NOTE–Clancy, I would be happy to let you get 3 times the tree service I get, but 3 x 0 is 0!

    **These valuations above could change in the future as they are based from recent sales data.

  2. We can dance around this issue forever! The bottom line here is that a liberal democratic city hall will make “bloody well sure” that the Peoples Republic Of The North End is well taken care of!
    If it weren’t for this “pandering”, the mayor and a majority of the current city council would be out on their collective rear ends!

  3. The Boise Picayune
    Nov 24, 2008, 8:15 pm

    And when the landscaping matures at all the CBH, et al., subd’s planted in the desert like fruit trees in Israel, it’ll all even out.

    See ya in 30 to 50 years to continue this exchange.

  4. former NE’r I could not agree more Clancy. Unbelievably high assessments on a tiny little hut of a home/lot yet I was still force to come out of pocket over $2,000 for a sidewalk replacement. ACHD “shared” the cost with me. Thanks a lot. I generally agree with your perspective Guardian but you missed the mark on this one. Be careful what you wish for in the way of equality…next thing you know you’ll have sidewalks on the Bench all right – sidewalks that you’ll pay to replace when they wear out!!

  5. Tim Johnstone
    Nov 25, 2008, 8:59 am

    This is a stupid post with the usual knee jerk reactions from cranky conservatives. I do expect better from this site.

  6. Tom Anderson
    Nov 25, 2008, 4:07 pm

    It is pretty silly to haul leaves (and other yard cuttings / waste) off in big diesel trucks, then process it, then redistribute it with more big diesel trucks.

    If I was in charge, you’d be REQUIRED to just pile the stuff up somewhere on your property and let it return to the land in the form of compost.

  7. The Libertarian in me agrees with the Guardian. Ideally, the users of services should pay for those services.

    But in our “representative republic,” we all (at least those who pay taxes) subsidize one thing or another. Some pay for public school education even though they don’t have kids in school. Some pay for libraries that they never go to. Parks they don’t picnic in. Indigent hospital bills … roadways … leaf disposal … firefighters. You name it.

    I believe Mr. Spock said it best: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” But that’s just a fancy way of sayin’ “COMMUNISM”!! (/sarcasm)

  8. The pile of leaves in the picture is what’s considered contaminated leaves, i.e., they come from the street and may have oil, anti-freeze, garbage, and most likely dog feces within them. They do not make good compost.

    The problem is flooding. Special north end does not have special storm drains. The storm drains are old and woefully inadequate. Leaves left on the street eventually clog the storm drains, possibly leading to an even more expensive flood clean-up.

    FWIW, I compost all my leaves, including most of the ones that make it to the gutter.

  9. Oh, I forgot to mention, it is the homeowner who must pay for trimming right-of-way trees. And if a right-of-way tree drops on your house or car, too bad. Neither Parks and Rec nor ACHD are responsible.

    The only trees Parks and Rec trims are the small ones that can be reached from ground level. I went as a volunteer on one of the rounds, once. Boise P&R has free tree care classes every year in Feb/Mar. Put it on your calendar.

  10. I have eight huge trees in my yard that provide shade to me as well as my neighbors in the spring and summer months. Downside is all the leaves to rake up in not only my yard but everywhere the wind carry takes them. We fill three roller totes and about 15 cans a week until the end of January for Allied waste to take to the landfill.

    I would gladly pay extra to be able to have a city street sweeper/labor crew suck the leaves up and take them to a compost pile for recycling back into the community.

  11. Yea – special treatment – kind of like those people in Columbia Village that got all that special treatment from the City fire dept in August.

    Whiners one and all – why don’t you file a grievance with your union steward if this bothers you so much.

  12. Rod in SE Boise
    Nov 28, 2008, 8:16 am

    We have a “liberal democratic city hall”??? Maybe he thinks the Depot is painted purple.

    Some people seem to live in an alternate universe, but it provides amusement for the rest of us.

  13. Rod in SE Boise
    Nov 28, 2008, 11:55 am

    Contaminated leaves? I posted a comment at 8:16 this morning and went for a walk but could not get the phrase “contaminated leaves” out of my head. Just a few comments:

    Aren’t leaves from my yard more likely to be contaminated with dog waste than leaves from the street?

    Are twigs contamination?

    How much contamination is too much?

    Who had the available time to spend thinking about this issue and come up with this “contamination theory”? He or she has way too much time on their hands and should be doing something more important like re-arranging their sock drawer.

    Has anyone done a study? Is there an over-supply or a shortage of leaves required to create the amount of compost used in Boise each year? Can Boise export excess compost to leaf deprived areas of SWC Idaho, like maybe Kuna? Should we export bales of raw leaves to Kuna so they can compost them themselves or would we make more money selling them the finished product?

    There are just some things that enquiring minds should “leave” alone.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Rod, you need to quit fighting the after effects of Thanksgiving dinner!
    Bieter- FLAMING liberal! The democratic party plans to run him for governor!(God help us)
    Maryann (I speak for the mayor) Jordan? Smoldering liberal!
    Elaine (what about sidewalks) Clegg? Equally smoldering!
    David (under the radar) Eberle? Slightly smoldering! And lest we forget, Alan (too clueless to be anything but the flamingest of liberls) Shealey!
    The depot? It’s definitely not purple, but it is a subtle shade of blue. You see, our city fathers, and mothers don’t think we are able to go there more than 1 1/2 days a week without getting in their way! (That is unless they have another use for it)
    Just what would you call city hall? Responsive? Yea, I bet!

  15. There is a fairness issue to all street design. More modern neighborhoods have uglier, more functional streets, but they also have many taxpayer-funded private roads (AKA, cul-de-sacs). The North End has virtually no cul-de-sacs.

    To qualify as a public road, a street should provide access to destinations along it AND beyond it. Cul-de-sacs only provide access to destinations within themselves and therefore function as private streets. Yet we all pay for their upkeep.

    Strange, but I don’t hear The Guardian fretting when taxpayer-supporter private streets are built, and the disproportionate benefit those people receive. Why is it any worse to spend tax money on streets, but not private streets?

    EDITOR NOTE–Gee Wonk, do you want me to fret about EVERYTHING? Years ago either the ACHD or Boise City declared “No more private streets.” I agree with that and I agree with you, but the developers won’t give up the land to make new streets connect with existing streets.

  16. G, if the developers won’t give up the land, it’s because officials aren’t making them. Officials control what size pebbles are in the asphalt, how wide the streets may be, etc. Surely, they can mandate streets to connect with each other.

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