City Government

Hotline Summary Is Tip Of Iceberg

It’s no secret the GUARDIAN is not happy with the new policy at Team Dave to summarize calls to the Mayor’s Hotline rather than provide a transcript to City Councilors and the media as it has done for years.

A call reported this week diminishes the true tenor of how business is handled. Here is the Mayor’s Office version of one call:
Thomas Mort
ISSUE: Owns property at 1401 Euclid Ave. Filed claim for basement damage
from city sewer backup. City is suggesting it is not liable due to payment
ACTION: Finance and Administration

What it doesn’t express is the frustration of this Boise soldier who is serving his country in uniform about to be sent in harm’s way. Here is what Thomas Mort sent the GUARDIAN in hopes of getting some financial relief for the crap the city dumped on him–literally and figuratively:

To whom it may concern,
I am wondering if you might be able to assist me with an issue that has risen
involving the City of Boise.

While on Military leave, visiting my wife and son in January the city sewage backed
up into our basement (1401 Euclid Ave, Boise, ID). We hired a plumber to come out to
snake out our line. Unfortunately he was unable to clear the line due to the clog
being in the cities mainline. To make a long story short, the city ended up sending
a team to assess and repair the problem. They dug up a portion of the pipe and
replaced it where the clog was.

We filed a claim for the damages to our basement. Now the city is denying
responsibility for damages, which were clearly caused by their inadequate main line.

Since I am stationed at Ft Knox, KY and preparing to deploy, I am unable to handle
this in person. I am just wondering if you have any advice on what I might do and
whom I should contact in order to receive assistance with this issue.

Thank you and Best Regards,
SPC Thomas E Mort

Since the Mayor’s PR staff will not respond to queries from the GUARDIAN, we will leave it to the legacy media to find out if they ever helped him. The GUARDIAN corresponded with Specialist Mort and got him headed in the right direction with some behind-the-scenes assistance. Neither the summary nor the PR policy of Team Dave serve to inform citizens if and when the city stopped giving this young soldier crap he doesn’t deserve.

A clean up specialist tells the GUARDIAN he cleaned up Mort’s place, but it isn’t the only one. He claims there are issues in the North End and an infamous case along 20th Street. The real issue, says our clean up guy, is Boise relies upon a court decision absolving cities of liability when the mainline backs up. When you dig deeper in this particular topic it gets even stinkier!

The GUARDIAN talked to the Boise risk management guy who said after evaluating the claim and talking to Specialist Mort they decided to take care of the claim which amounts to about $1,000. Amazing how things work out when people talk and work out details!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Any lawyers out there willing to help this man and his family get the city’s attention?

  2. untamedshrew
    Aug 3, 2010, 6:02 pm

    Before jumping to your varnished conclusions, it might be helpful for your readers to understand whether SPC Mort is entitled to damages if we know the city’s basis for denying the claim. I don’t want to know YOUR varnished version of why the City didn’t tell YOU, I want to know what it told him. I’d also be interested in a time line. The summary indicates the call was sent to Finance and Administration. The letter you’ve posted indicates the city denied the claim. What is the current status?

    Having the entire transcript available to readers wouldn’t change the nature of this claim, nor would it change the information we get regarding how the city handled it. On occasion, certain calls to the city spark your interest and you look into the issue further, as you’ve done here. Same result, taxpayers save money. Win-win?

    Has it occurred to you that posting transcripts of calls to the hotline, along with names, addresses, and phone numbers, might actually serve as a deterrent to callers who want to report a problem? If I had an issue with the city, I certainly wouldn’t leave a message with my name and address on the hotline for you to broadcast over the internet.

    I also wonder if it’s occurred to consider why certain city employees might opt out of communicating with the Guardian? As you’ve repeatedly indicated, the City is hoping for citizens to received unvarnished information … that sure doesn’t happen on this blog.

    EDITOR NOTE– Mr. Mort came to the GUARDIAN out of desperation and frustration at receiving no satisfaction from the City. It seems to boil down to him not applying for a financial remedy in a timely fashion. I had no intention of writing about it until reading the condensed Hotline Version which didn’t say he was in the military. No doubt the city will eventually make it right, but only because the light of public opinion is shining brightly.

  3. I believe this constitutes “icing on the cake”. Guardian, you may ban me, but please allow this to get to city hall. What a bunch of idiotic, self-serving, ignorant, non-responsive, arrogant, stupid, hypocritical,lying,cheating band of baboons!! How dare you respond in this way to a citizen, much less one that is serving for us all. (including you jamokes at city hall) And then to try and “whitewash” your ineptness in the calls! Whoever made the statement to this man needs to be fired immediately! Then the mayor, reilly,euzel and about a half dozen other wasters of oxygen should get out of town! This makes me ashamed to be from Boise! And I never,ever, thought I would say that!

  4. Mike Murphy
    Aug 4, 2010, 7:45 am

    With his “Landslide Mandate” of 8.7% of those eligible to register and vote in that election – relentless spun as 67.9% – Beiter & Co. merely pay lip service to Participatory Democracy.

    And insomuch as the average Boisean would rather be boiled in oil alive than to – gasp – Rock-the-Boat, I suspect it will only get worse.

    This institutionalized recalcitrance is amplified at City Hall’s plausible deniabilty factories : Quasi-governmental agency CCDC and political subdivision GBAD.

  5. In addition to the format change to the hotline transcriptions, the PDS Online section of the city’s website used to list code violations. It was a database searchable by address. That info is no longer available online even though all other PDS info is, i.e., building permits.

  6. The government works on the assumption that they have an absolute right to tax money but the services delivered are sort of optional…ALL government relies on a host of pro government court cases to avoid doing their job. In this case the scam is that the sewer line between the home and the main, even though the main is in the middle of the street as is a lot of the supply piping, is the responsibility of the homeowner, which is why we are expected to buy insurance to cover the pipe even on city property. For info, the courts have also ruled the police have no legal responsibility to protect any individual.

  7. NWBoiseVictim
    Aug 4, 2010, 12:33 pm

    I can tell you the explanation I was given as to why they wouldn’t pay the claim on my house! According to a case in Blackfoot it was ruled that if the city maintains its flushing program as they have funds to do so, they are not liable for any damage done due to sewage flooding.

    Beware! You’re regular homeowners doesn’t cover things that are from causes outside your property!!!

    I had 6″ of sewage flood my 2000 sq ft finished basement due to ACHD’s road construction in the city when they crushed a sewer main in 2007 – I’m still waiting settlement. When everything was just about reconstructed last year, it was flooded again because they never cleared out the 12″+ boulders in 2007 & they eventually caused a blockage & flooded everything again. Even though because I had a basement & it saved many other homes from having damage, the city of Boise “kindly” gave me a month’s sewage charge credit but I’ve paid all utilities & mortgage & everything on a house I wasn’t able to live in for almost 3 years!!!

  8. Well, There ya go Angry rodent! All the facts are in! Does that suit you? Yup! The city has said “well, maybe it was our fault”. An active member of the military stationed half way across the country, about to be deployed to God knows where, has the city in which he and his family live, try and stomewall it’s responsibilty! That would qualify as a PR nightmare!
    We need to go downtown and change the name on that bloody building to “BOISE INSANE ASYLUM”! Because, after all, the people running it are all certifiably NUTS!

  9. The amusing part of this is in the knowledge that if you refused to pay your sewer bill they would get a lien against your property…I say ‘amusing’ because anyone that expects government to do its job or be held accountable is fooling themselves.

  10. Transcribing is a tedious task – not done much anymore. But you were right in pointing out the difference between the full message and the shortened version.

  11. If it is indeed tedious, then the bloody city needs to change the answering system verbage. “Your call will be transcribed and forwarded to the mayor’s office” is now a load of manure! It should read ” your call will be sanitized and forwarded to one of the mayor’s minions, because he is not really smart enough to respond”!!

  12. Guardian and Others;

    I donated to the guardian today, and encourage others to do the same. I do not have the time to follow local issues as closely as I would like and I truly appreciate the work of the Guardian.

    The city sanitizing the mayor hotline is over the top, G-keep the pressure on. Thank you.

    EDITOR NOTE– Many thanks JJ. When we have to buy gas to cover the fire, pay fees for records, etc. it really does help. Even more help comes from those who offer research and facts for stories. We will all need to turnout for the election in November to preserve our right to vote on local debt too.

  13. NW Boise Victim: Who was your claim with? If it was ACHD, please call Steve Price at 387-6112 and let him know so we can look into it. Three years is too long for you to have to wait. If it was Boise City, I’d get in touch with Maryanne Jordan or TJ Thompson and have them follow it up for you.

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