I have lived in Boise all my adult life–38 of those 40 years in the first and only home I ever owned. There is no other place on earth I care to live. My roots go deep and I am on a first name basis with most of the movers and shakers, having known them when they were starting their careers and I reported on their progress through life. That said, I claim “standing” for the following.
By DAVID R. FRAZIER
Editor, Boise GUARDIAN
Times have changed since that day in 1968 when I announced to a court clerk that I–the new police reporter at the Statesman–had found an apartment and opened an account at the Bank of Idaho.
The matronly woman looked over the top of her glasses and admonished, “That bank is NOT locally owned.” Her comment spoke volumes about the city, the state, and the people. We had a good thing going, but we had one flaw: an inferiority complex. We knew Boise was a great spot, but wanted everyone else to recognize it too.
On trips “back east” we all extolled the merits of fishing for trout within the city, knowing the politicos, all the cops, and not being afraid of neighbors. We bragged of being a headquarters city for the likes of Ore-Ida, Simplot, Boise Cascade, Morrison Knudsen and the formerly upstanding Albertson Stores. But like the current Bronco football team, “we got no respect.” We wanted to be recognized as the greatest place on earth and the con men and promoters flocked in like the Music Man to River City.
Over the next 40 years of seeking “national recognition” we got BLUE TURF. We got lots of gimmicks like RIVERFEST, BIKE RACES, HUMANITARIAN BOWL, HALL OF FAME, ANNE FRANK MEMORIAL, and more which have faded from memory. None of them are bad, but their importance is/was probably overblown.
Then came the phoney concocted LISTS. We were best place to bike, to live, raise kids, lowest taxes, most secure, friendiest, fastest growing, etc. Much of this was brought about by active campaigns funded in part by local governments to plant articles in the national media. All aimed at bringing recognition–and lots of money to Boise and Idaho through GROWTH.
Meanwhile the local banks were gobbled up, the bookstores became chains, traffic is choking us and growth is sapping all our energy, air, money, and intellect. Albertson, M-K, Ore-Ida and Boise Cascade are faded memories. We still want that RESPECT and recognition, but now we want “world class,” recognition.
Bring in the President to bike at “World Class” Tamarack! Bring on SPECIAL OLYMPICS!
The Daily Paper (four chain owners since 1968) ran an honest to gosh news story Thursday on page three about SPECIAL OLYMPICS. Kate Kreller and Greg Hahn did some real reporting and guess what? Looks like another gimmick based more on greed than charity.
State legislator John McGee of Caldwell defended the finance problems saying, “But in a couple of months the spotlight’s going to be on Idaho and everything’s going to be great.”
At least a third of the $31 million cost ($13 million) for the Special Olympic Winter Games is coming out of taxpayer money. According to the news story, a former executive director for the event was paid in excess of $200,000 for less than a single year’s work.
A year ago the GUARDIAN questioned the MOTIVATION for the games when the first whispers of financial problems surfaced. We stand by those concerns. Special Olympians are described as having “intellectual disabilities” not to be confused with the Paralympics or Handicap Olympics for those who compete from wheel chairs.
Until we Idahoans can be confident with “who we are and where we live,” we will be subject to myriad get rich-quick-schemes and easily swayed by developers and promoters with the lure of having the “Spotlight on Idaho.”
UPDATE–We have been informed that Sen. McGee, who pushed the state funding bill in the legislature, is on the Special Olympic Board.
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