THE GUARDIAN HAS OBTAINED THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC DOCUMENTS WHICH DEPICT A SAD BIT OF PARTISAN POLITICKING ON THE PART OF AN AGENCY SUPPOSEDLY DEVOTED TO PLANNING.
If you are the veto-wielding governor of Idaho, you take friends wherever you can find them.
Such was the case Wednesday when the Community Planning Association of southwest Idaho lobbyist and former Larry Craig staffer sent the following memo soliciting letters of support from COMPASS board members to Gov. Butch Otter in an effort to manipulate public opinion.
“COMPASS Board Members:
Attached is a message from Governor Otter’s Chief of Staff Jason Kreizenbeck.
As we discussed at Monday’s COMPASS Board meeting, I think Governor Otter would appreciate individual notes of support from Board members thanking him for his leadership on the transportation issue. Those notes can be sent to him at: email@example.com
I remind the Board that the #1 Legislative policy position adopted in November is to support enhanced funding for transportation.
HERE IS WHAT THE GUV’S CHIEF OF STAFF HAD TOLD THE COMPASS BOARD IN A LETTER:
Let me start by thanking you all for your hard work and dedication this legislative session to helping the Governor find a solution to Idaho’s transportation funding backlog. This has not been an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, but the Governor remains committed to solving this issue and is using all means at his disposal to get the point across.
After vetoing 35 bills in two days, including 33 appropriations bills, the media is caught up in the “method” or the “politics” of trying to get what he wants, and seems to have forgotten about the “issue” and why we find ourselves in this place. This is not about a legacy or saving face; it is about doing what people elected the Governor to do – lead and solve problems.
We will be working hard the remainder of this week to drive this discussion back to the core issue at hand, and we need your help to make this happen. I do not need to convince any of you of the need as you all have been tireless supporters. But the focus on politics has made legislators and the public tone deaf to the issue. So I am asking all of you, once again, to remind your clients, legislators, employees, your local media, members, and friends about why this is an important issue that must be resolved now. We need to make every effort possible to get the public focused back on the issue at hand and what it means to each of your groups. And we need to have some public showing of support NOW and over the weekend for the Governor’s effort.
The Governor’s focus is on fulfilling his responsibility to see the right thing accomplished for the people we all serve. This is a difficult process, but he is committed to achieving our goal of beginning to legitimately address our enormous backlog of transportation maintenance needs. That will require more than efficiency; it will require a significant additional source of revenue.
To that end, here are some important points to remember:
–This is a problem that has been building up for more than a decade and is not going away. We have been working on it, building consensus with the people and making the case for two years now. Putting it off even longer only makes the problem worse and far more expensive to fix while slowing and weakening our economic recovery. Doing nothing can no longer be an option.
–We cannot and must not shirk our legitimate state government responsibilities and put the burden of enormous costs and inefficient, unsafe roads and bridges on our children and grandchildren. Governor Otter has been against more government spending and higher taxes his whole career in public service. But this must not be about the next election. It must be about doing right by the next generation.
–Fuel tax and registration is a user fee. To put it simply—almost everyone who buys gas drives on the road. The cost of gas has gone up more in the past two weeks than the user fee increases we are proposing. And those individuals, communities and businesses who use and count on our highways and bridges most are those who are most supportive of these efforts to provide a consistent, stable source of continuing revenue to meet our ongoing responsibilities on this $16 billion investment.
Thanks again for your help and if you have any questions, please let me know.
Jason B. Kreizenbeck
Chief of Staff
Office of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter
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