Legislative Dems Were Given Ammo To Fire At ACHD

The GUARDIAN has obtained numerous documents from Boise City relating to the Feb. 14 sabotage attempt aimed at ACHD during a meeting with legislators on Valentine Day.

As it turned out the ammunition for what was intended to be an ambush on ACHD ultimately exploded in the face of the shooters. Ross Borden of Mayor Dave Bieter’s staff had conspired with Democratic Legislators on House and Senate Transportation Committees by supplying them with “Discussion Topics” intended to produce a negative view of the Ada County Highway District.

Based on the documents the GUARDIAN has read, it looks like Borden was conducting a somewhat clandestine operation. Here is his February 23 message to Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb:

Hello Senator Buckner-Webb,
“If you recall the Discussion Topics one-pager I gave you the day of the Joint House & Senate Transportation Committee meeting at ACHD, well, somehow it got handed to ACHD and has caused a bit of a stir. You may have already seen the response ACHD sent on Friday to all Transportation Committee members.

I only gave out five copies, and then only to Boise legislators (you, your Senate colleagues Winder and Bock and Reps King and Gannon) and requested that — if you felt it was appropriate and the opportunity presented itself — to raise one or more of the issues contained therein.

ACHD makes it sound like copies were given to all legislators as they boarded the bus to ACHD that day. I’d be surprised if it happened that way but somehow it did make its way directly to ACHD.

That document was never intended to be distributed further than to whom I gave it to personally.

Did you happen to see it being distributed by anyone else or see extra copies floating around that day?”
Ross Borden”

Buckner-Webb’s response appears that she was conspiring with Borden:
“I am sick to hear that. I purposely did not take document with me.
But did ask if any other counties/cities leveraged model across the state. Rep. Gannon also asked a question. I left after the presentation and didn’t go on the tour.
I will check for transportation doc Monday. Crap!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. And these are the people who are supposed to be running our local government!?! What a bunch of dishonest thugs! Everyone involved in this should resign immediately. We the people deserve HONEST and open government. Politicians should look up TRANSPARENCY in the dictionary and learn to live by it!

    EDITOR NOTE–Cynic, we agree! City posts are supposed to be non-partisan. Right! Doesn’t matter if they are D or R, this type of politics doesn’t deserve a home in Boise.

  2. Winder is a “R”.

    EDITOR NOTE–Right you are Clancy. He is also the one who shared the document with his former agency–ACHD. Looks like a tactical error on part of Team Dave. Were it not for him we may have never known about the skullduggery.

  3. Dave Kangas
    Mar 1, 2013, 12:22 pm

    The reality is, this has been blown way out of proportion, before clearly understanding the position of all sides.

    City of Boise wanted to bring their issues with ACHD to the legislators at an opportune time.(when they met with them)
    It might have been handled differently or worded nicer, but it wasn’t, oh-well.

    ACHD got their panties in bunch becasue thay wanted the legislators to hear how overwhelmingly wonderful and great they were. The flyer burst their bubble.

    The City of Boise has long had issues with ACHD, on communication, on listening to issues, on equitable funding and expenditures. That has been known for a long time.

    The ULI study was done to try and alleviate the situation. At that time ACHD’s relation with Boise and surrounding cities were not the best. ACHD is a catch 22. Yes, for efficiency, it is a good thing to have only one highway district vs many. However, any organization in such a position overtime always becomes bloated, bureacratic and heavy handed. At that time, development and growth was a big problem. For the last 5-6 years it has not been. Watch for more fireworks as growth and development starts again.

  4. Well this is either of “no consequence” (Bieter) or “what does it matter” (Clinton).

    Regardless, being a democrat means never having to say you’re sorry.

  5. Mr Kangas, it is not okay for city officials and employees to lie and try to deceive members of the legislature. No, it is not blown out of proportion – those who engaged in the deceptive scheme should not be in the positions they are in. I live in Boise and this is not how I want my city officials and staff to behave.

    Bloated, bureacratic and heavy-handed is the perfect description of the City of Boise. They raise taxes every year and waste tax dollars. Ever notice how many assistants the Mayor has? Ridiculous, and this is how they behave.

    ACHD on the other hand has kept the property tax amount the same for 4 years or so and number of employees down as well. Not seeing any bloat there.

    It sounds like you have some personal beef with ACHD. Why not meet with one or all of the commissioners and discuss whatever your issue is?

  6. Grumpy ole guy
    Mar 1, 2013, 3:48 pm

    In my experience EVERY agency and unit of every level of government creates and presents to “favorably disposed legislators” who serve on germane committees, summaries (often called talking points) of issues that the creators hope will present that unit or agency in its best light. It is a a part of normal practice and does not necessarily indicate ill intent. For one agency to try to harm another is an entirely different matter, not unheard of, naturally, but raises more questions of ethics than the more obvious “here’s what we do good” outlines.

  7. After seeing this e-mail and the original document (in your Feb. 23 post), I’m just laughing that this situation is labeled as an “ambush”, a “sabotage attempt”, and a “Valentine’s Day Massacre” (your words). Kinda hyperbolic language for a territorial feud that is decades old, innit? So much war imagery — are we on a Military Channel kick?

    Your stories fail to mention whether the legislators had requested talking points for their meeting. Also unreported is whether or not the ACHD presentation would include some shots at the city, in which case the city felt compelled to put their side of the story out there.

    I’m not saying either of those were the case; I’m saying what you’ve chosen to publish (one e-mail out of “numerous documents”?) has not ruled out any possibilities.

    Thankfully, I have a full weekend to contemplate what “somewhat clandestine” really amounts to.

    EDITOR NOTE–Glad we could offer some intellectual stimulation over the weekend. Nice that you caught all the “Discussion Points.” It would sure be peaceful if we could go back to the “non-partisan” seats for city offices. TV ignored the story and hit the big story of Dave Bieter walking 150 miles in the year.

  8. While not handled well, this certainly doesn’t rise to the level of demanding resignations. Rebecca sounds a little too invested for me. ACHD commissioner or employee perhaps?
    As far as unresponsive and bureaucratic, none rises further to the top than ACHD. Only agency like it in the U.S. They are judge and jury. The experiment was a noble one, but time for it to go.

  9. Sabotage? Ambush? Conspiring? Come on Guardian, your choice of words is obviously meant to incite outrage. To me, this is no big deal. So stop making a mountain out of a molehill.

    EDITOR NOTE–C’mon Bob! You forgot “clandestine.” I wanted to work in “covert,” but couldn’t do it without repeating myself.

    Why don’t you poll the council and see how many of them a) knew of the plan, b) approved or support it, c) would like to see it done again.

    It was a unilateral act that didn’t represent the will of the elected body, let alone the citizens of Boise.

  10. Rebecca,
    What was “deceptive” about the Boise letter?

    You make a point about the “assistants” for Boise but say nothing about the many Public Information Officers for the ACHD? When was the last time the Director actually talked to the public via media or a public meeting? Commissioners? Forget about it, unless they are complaining about the City of Boise. At least Cmr. Baker had a blog some time ago, and was active on it much to dismay of one her collegues. Quote from her blog: “And then there are others like one ACHD Commissioner who has scolded me for being irresponsible in reporting on what happens at public meetings. See ACHD doesn’t tape public meetings that occur before and after the main Commission meeting held at the dais in front of TVTV. When I’ve brought up that a lot of direction is given at these pre and post meetings and that they should be taped, this same Commissioner doesn’t want to do that.”

    Who is being heavy-handed, Rebecca?

    Occasionally we see the mayor on TV and every citizen can recognize him if they see him on the street, they can approach him. The same cannot be said for ACHD. Email them with a simple question and a citizen is forced to submit a FOIA request. That is the PIO response. 1st hand experience here, Rebecca.

    “ACHD keeping the tax the same”- The tax base (house values) has gone down. ACHD keeps the dollars “the same” and says the property tax “is the same”– who is being deceptive now? You are IMO.

    “Heavy-handed”? I’m starting to laugh here given the ACHD record. Isn’t that why the Commissioners ran for office in the fist place- ACHD got heavy handed with them and their solution was to be on the Board- Baker for one.

    It’s funny that politicos fall back to the ‘you must have a personal beef’ with ___ (that govt agency)…
    ‘Gee you must have a personal beef with Congress!’
    See how ridiculous that sounds, Rebecca?
    And the other ACHD excuse is, “well you weren’t at the public hearing about that…”

  11. Same old story of the pot calling the kettle black. This is news? Can’t we get more free doughnuts and cops stories from BG? Or, Cops vs Firemen, or goose poop vs pedestrians, Baker vs Beiter ((oops, did that), cockaroach vs politician…..

  12. The sad part is this is only the crap that makes its way to the surface. How many other things go in Boise that we don’t hear about? How many other Bieter agendas make it out there without the support of the council? I don’t think it is so much that this act alone is the end of the world, but if they are doing it at this level, how many other levels of government are they doing this at? I am very dissapointed in Boise and the way they handle themselves. Makes that mysterious phone call that went out during the Winder/Beiter race look all the more suspicious of its orgin.

    I am starting to see a trend in local politics here unfortunately. Just like the county hiring a chief of staff the day the bozos took office. That process usually takes weeks to vet all the candidates. Still surprised that one has slid under the rug as much as it has.

  13. Speaking of goose poop, other day I went for a walk in Morrison Park. The honkers were around the area closest to the duck/honker pond, but as I got further along I saw that the vast expanse of Morrison Park was clear of honkers all the way to the other end that borders on Lusk or whatever the street name is. I saw one guy with his retriever out there but no geese to chase that day. Walkers’ heaven. The poop on the paved walks was down too. Thanks to whomever allowed dogs free running range in that park.

  14. This conversation reminds of this great excerpt from a prior BG story.
    “The Boise gorilla fights with everyone, but ALWAYS with the motherly Ada County Highway District gorilla. The ACHD and Boise gorillas have a common law marriage, but dad cheats on her and threatens divorce each election season. The ACHD gorilla still washes his clothes and prepares his meals, but the spark has faded from their relationship.”

  15. Can anyone be so dumb as to believe a written document, even in the form of an email, will not likely be made public. ACHD is doing a darn good job and Mayor Bieter needs to leave them alone and let them take care of roads and bridges for all Ada County and not just his personal pet projects.

  16. Bieter is definitely (NAME CALLING DELETED) Bad combination, bad for Boise

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: