City Government

Team Dave In Near Total Control Of Local Government

Regardless of your politics, you have to hand it to Boise Mayor Dave Bieter when it comes to political acumen.

John Brunelle, who serves as Mayor David Bieter’s assistant for economic development, has been offered the position of executive director of the Capital City Development Corp., the agency announced Wednesday…recently Bieter appointed himself as a member of the board.

The (CCDC) is the urban renewal agency described in legal terms as an “independent body, corporate and politic.” It is not an “alter ego” of the city, but two city councilors and the mayor are on the board and the new director will be from the Mayor’s staff. A clear victory for Team Dave.

Following the Greater Boise Auditorium District (GBAD) election three of the five members are now Bieter people. Clear win for Team Dave, 3-2.

It seems the city councilors subscribe to the wisdom of former President G.W. Bush, “If you ain’t wish us, you’re agin’ us.” Another win as Team Dave has been able–through appointments–to shape a city council absent of any “loyal opposition.”

All those consultants and analysts who get both public money and campaign funds are also winners. They are paid for such things as promoting the F-35, a constitutional amendment to deny citizens the right to vote on airport debt, trolley trains, a baseball park, and political candidates. Secondary winners all.

The GUARDIAN challenges the legal department and makes fun of pet projects. The result is a total news black out. No press releases or responses to routine questions. The so-called Mayor’s hotline which was once a font of information, attitudes, pet peeves, and chronic bitches from citizens has been reduced to cryptic sentences such as “Camper trailer tagged for being on street.” Close match, but victory to Team Dave.

Congratulations to Team Dave for a near total command of local politics. He has the CCDC, GBAD, City Council, but still needs the Ada Commishes and the ACHD directors to declare total victory.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. His Econ Director is more of a PR guy than anything else so Team Dave is also about PR – or ensuring that there is no negative PR.

    The problem with City Government is that very, very few in town actually care. Thus those in power remain unless some major scandal occurs, i.e., Gary Lyman.

    The concerns with the IRS, the Libya affair and so on are simply a larger reflection on what power does….it demands more and more. Usually not for the better.

    Team Dave is simply that…a team dedicated to its own ends, by whatever means.

  2. Interested observer
    May 29, 2013, 4:27 pm

    Hmmm. Last I checked, mayor is elected by the people and won quite handily. Members of GBAD also elected. If you don’t like the way things are, run yourself and we would have a whole new “Team Dave.”

    EDITOR NOTE–Observer, “Handily” was a landslide of 11% of eligible voters. I do appreciate your support, but I am not a candidate and if elected I will not serve. Far more valuable as the GUARDIAN.

  3. I am trying to decide if Mayor Bieter serving on the board with other “ELECTED” officials is a good thing or a bad thing. It may actually bring some degree of direct accountability to taxpayers and voters with all these elected people on the board of CCDC.

    That may be entirely too much positive thinking on my part given the lack of voter participation in elections. At least the URA board meetings can be a love fest with everyone in the elected glitterati of Boise.

  4. Brian Vermillion
    May 30, 2013, 6:06 am

    Voter apathy is the lifeblood of career politicians at every level.

  5. Can Boise mayors run forever or are there term limits?

    EDITOR NOTE–Based on past administrations, they can run until they get caught. Seriously, there are no term limits and given the lack of interest or concern with local issues, an incumbent can stay in office as long as they wish. We seldom have any “swing vote” or even “loyal opposition” in Boise, regardless of political leaning.

  6. Kinda of the alter ego to the GOP controlled legislature? Driving you nuts isn’t it?

    EDITOR NOTE–We don’t understand? “ALTER EGO: Other self, secondary personality.”

  7. Dave Bieter is a popular mayor. His efforts to align CCDC and GBAD more closely with city policy should be applauded. Even arch-Republican Phil Reberger, who chairs the CCDC board, sees the hiring of John Brunelle as a good move in that direction.

    I seem to recall a lot of Guardian grousing over the years about the lack of accountability at both CCDC and GBAD. With the mayotr and two council members on the board, this move should bring the quasi-governmental agency under better city control. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see the city, CCDC, GBAD and the convention & visitor’s bureau all working in the same direction?

    The “apathy” of the 89 percent who didn’t vote may also be a sign that a lot of voters are satisfied with the way the mayor is doing the job. I can’t think of a place I’d rather live, and I DO vote!

    EDITOR NOTE–We applaud your devotion to duty by voting. Gotta say your logic is hard to comprehend if you think it a “sign of satisfaction” for 89% to stay home! (Actually it was closer to 84% who stayed home, Bieter got a few NO votes). I would be happy to have ALL the members of CCDC be elected city councilors. That way they couldn’t hide behind the claim of being a private body not part of city government. The law does allow the council to disband the board and act as the agency. Does it make sense to you Rabula, to pay a guy with a staff of about 16 and a budget a fraction that of the city so much more than the office of mayor?

  8. I don’t know how much CCDC’s ED is paid. I suspect it has something to do with the going rate for administrators with comparable responsibilities.

    I recall that when an earlier ED was hired, he had been running the Seattle stadium commission. People with those skills don’t come cheap.

    I see that you edited out your earlier snipe at Mr. Brunelle’s qualifications. I have no reason to doubt his qualifications for the job. Do you?

    EDITOR NOTE–We haven’t edited out anything and simply don’t have an opinion regarding the skills of Mr. Brunelle, the Bieter staffer. His current boss (Bieter Chief of Staff) was passed over last time for the $140,000 a year job.

    Full disclosure: The GUARDIAN has a long history of opposing the FUNDING mechanism of CCDC. It operates with diverted tax revenues, enjoys full city services, and reports to NO ELECTED BODY. While the mayor and two councilors are elected, they do not serve as elected members of the CCDC board. As stated previously, we would like to see the CCDC board either elected or replaced by the city council. Authority to spend tax money without scrutiny from an elected body or voters goes against all that we believe in.

  9. Sorry, Dave:

    It was not you but “Gary” who made the snide and unsupported comment: “His Econ Director is more of a PR guy than anything else.”

    My aging memory module confused that comment, which immediately followed your article, with the what YOU actually wrote probably because it felt like something you WOULD say.

    I think you make a good point about bringing CCDC under city council. You might have success with such a campaign were you to check your attitude and try working WITH “team Dave” on something you might agree on.

  10. Guardian,
    So what is the possibility of dismantling the CCDC and the GBAD? Not probability, which is zero, but the possibility.

    If city officials have the majority of those boards and influence, then they might as well simply be a department of the city- city parks meet the new city commerce department.

    EDITOR NOTE–Chances are nil at the moment due to cities having so much cash to use for lobbying through association of cities, direct lobbying, etc. Here is an attempted/pending abuse of the system in Caldwell.

  11. Rubula, City, CCDC, and GBAD working in the same direction???? Unless it’s the wrong direction. Pretty simple, isn’t it.

    Are you so presumptious to think that the City is ALWAYS working in the right direction?

  12. Political Acumen? I think not…it is just that no one outside those that want on the team care. Much as Gary indicated.

  13. Rabula , this city council is going in the WRONG direction. Just doing what Bieter says. No original thinkers on the council and no courage to stand up to Bieter.
    Voter apathy does not translate to approval.

  14. That’s one (cynical) way to look at it.

    I know, personally, everyone on the city council and can assure you that they do not take orders from the mayor. It is true that they all work together as a team, which is something I like to see in my elected officials.

    Why is it when there’s a group of elected officials working together openly and successfully, some people have to portray it as some deep conspiracy?

    This line of comment began with the announcement that the mayor’s chief of staff was hired to manage the CCDC and discussed the efforts of the mayor and council to get CCDC and GBAD in line with the city’s vision for downtown development.

    If you have a problem with that vision, what’s yours? Get involved in local government; you might be surprised that it can work.

  15. Rabula, some of us pay close attention to what the council members do and it is very clear that the 3 newer ones just do whatever Bieter wants them to. No original thinking with those 3! Lauren parrots her lines from Bieter but when pressed doesn’t understand the reasoning behind her parroted lines. Have you ever tried to have an in-depth, intelligent conversation with her (or a couple others on the council)? Not possible!
    They are not a “team” just a bunch of drones. There are good examples of local government where the team has diverse opinions and sometimes lively debate before reaching a consensus, which leads to better decisions. Nothing diverse or lively about the Boise city council.
    Do you know what happens with inbreeding?

  16. What’s YOUR vision for the city?

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