Sneaking around citizens has once again caused an otherwise good project to get a bad rap in Boise.
The proposed Cliffs subdivision (known as Hammer Flat) on the plateau above Lucky Peak Dam has long been a winter home to deer antelope and elk. Wildlife groups fought the developer at public hearings and the development process finally drained the financial resources of Skyline Development after more than 5 yrs. The GUARDIAN was one of those opposed to the growth.
The lender foreclosed and approached the City of Boise with an offer to sell 700 acres for $4 million. The city hastily agreed and to great fanfare announced the purchase earlier this year. At the time the GUARDIAN learned there was a “sugar daddy” in the bushes as a potential third party standing ready to reimburse the purchase costs to the city.
When talk surfaced of a new tax levy to replenish the “Foothills Fund” we informed the public that a new tax was probably NOT needed because of the impending sale of the land the City just purchased. Despite repeated attempts to confirm the pending resale, no one at Boise City or Idaho Fish and Game would tell us of the negotiations.
A factor no one has mentioned in the secret dealings is the fact Idaho’s legislature was in session at the time this was happening. Legislators who vote on F&G license fees probably wouldn’t be too eager to approve a fee hike when hunter fees are being used to purchase park land from Boise City with a hunting restriction in the deed.
Boise City withheld the information from the GUARDIAN, but notified the Statesman revealing everything we had requested. Apart from the unethical behavior of keeping the government actions secret, the city spinmeister manipulated the Daily Paper coverage into a glowing story of “win-win” for citizens, hunters, and wildlife. It was deceptive and the DAILY PAPER ran a page one piece Saturday with facts they didn’t have in the sugar coated version spoon fed from the City.
Guv Butch Otter called GUARDIAN editor Dave Frazier Thursday night on KBOI’s Nate Shelman radio show to congratulate him on 5 years of on-line publishing and dropped a bomb on the whole process when he said the deal was only a POSSIBLE deal and no state funds would be used unless hunting is allowed.
Otter also said everything between these agencies should have been done in public and hearings with “input from all parties” would have been appropriate.
We agree. An otherwise good deal stands to implode because Boise refused to do the Public’s business in public.
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