City Government

Boise GUARDIAN Election Analysis

While there were no surprises with the incumbents keeping their Boise City Council seats, we were surprised to see Bill Jarocki come in third in the race against TJ Thomson who was also challenged by Jill G. Humble.

The big news was the defeat of both bond debt proposals which would have cost taxpayers more than $50 million. Proposal #1 was for “fire safety” and #2 would have gone to parks and open space.
Voted ballot being put into a ballot box in Boise, Idaho, USA.
Supporters–many included corporations and the medical industry doing business with the city–spent more than $200,000 to garner votes, but their investment came up short. The fire question got 64% and the parks got 61%, but they needed 66 and 2/3 to pass.

If the perceived needs are real, it will be time for the city council to reach out to voters seeking advice rather than campaigning to MARKET debt. Here are some ideas from the GUARDIAN:

–Since the mayor declared extra annual expenses “are in the budget” to provide extra firefighters and equipment, those funds should be shifted to rehabbing existing facilities to extend their service.

–A citizen “public safety” board could serve much like boards for parks, airport, planning and zoning, etc. We currently have no voice in operation of police and fire departments which eat up nearly half the entire city budget.

–Rather than remodeling 20 stations to accommodate female firefighters, look at assigning the females to newer stations which considered gender issues when constructed. Same is true for “ADA requirements.” Common sense dictates city facilities should be handicap accessible, but only in “public areas.”

–Training facilities should be combined with Meridian, Eagle and other county departments. They have agreed on various medical protocol and mutual responses. Training facilities should also be combined.

–Taxpayers turned down a $38 million bond for libraries. We weren’t opposed to libraries, only the $38 million. Since that failed election the city has built three new library facilities and declared as surplus valuable real estate adjoining the downtown main library in favor of commercial business.

–We have said and will repeat: Boise is currently debt free. If the city officials needed more cash than tax revenues brought in, they were living beyond their means. Like credit cards, if you can’t afford to pay cash, you are buying too much and interest only increases the cost.

–A two year serial levy for parks would cost much less than a 20 year debt and it would require only a simple majority. However, the split between Northenders and The Bench will only widen if citizens aren’t treated equally.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Good review Guardian.

  2. Thank You to All My Supporters!

    To everyone who voted for me yesterday, I can only offer my sincere thanks.
    Thank you for recognizing that I was the only candidate who opposed both bonds AND at the same time offered solutions for addressing these community priorities.
    Thank you for becoming more knowledgeable about public finance — enough to know that the axis of incumbency was offering you a take it or leave it option.
    Thank you for saying “No” “No” to the ill-conceived bond issues.
    Thank you for caring about the future of Boise and for listening to my ideas about how we can make better decisions to achieve economic sustainability.
    Thank you for recognizing that fiscal conservatism is the best philosophy for civic prosperity.
    Thank you my friends, and thanks again for your votes.
    You are Boise’s best. — Bill Jarocki

  3. Dear Yes, Yes Bond Proponents:
    Thanks for blocking me from the “Yes” “Yes” facebook site this month.
    I would suggest that you change the name to “Ow” “Ow” because you got a good dose of “No” “No” yesterday.
    As I said in my campaign, we need to look for the next best idea for funding capital projects.
    I lost the council race, but I am still a citizen who is willing to help.
    I am ready to step up to the drawing board and help this Mayor and Council with these public finance challenges.
    Together we can have a better Boise.
    — Bill Jarocki, Voltaic Solutions LLC

  4. Team Dave will consider the close votes a mandate and spend the money anyway.

  5. Darn! I voted for Jarocki who seemed like a possible alternative to the Team Dave Toadies who currently populate the hallowed chambers.

    (I also suggested to members of my family that they vote for Jarocki, and “No/No,” but they are a microcosm of the registered voter pool… as far as I know, my vote was the only one in the household. Well… my granddaughter, a first-grader, said she voted for vanilla ice cream yesterday… but didn’t yet know who won.)

    The city needs more money! T.J. wants to get a Momma-Obama-like program going, to make us all healthy! Is there ANY problem that the government shouldn’t be solving?!!?

  6. Dave,

    Good analysis, but I am disappointed with your proposal to simply “move” female firefighters to newer facilities instead of retrofitting the others.

    While we don’t have much of a female firefighter population, the fact of the matter is the present conditions of the facilities are not in legal or code compliance, are a lawsuit waiting to happen, and plainly speaking, blatantly sexist. This is a pretty fundamental issue that has been vetted: they need to be brought up to compliance. You cannot simply “sweep the problem under the rug” by segregating female firefighters.

    Bill Jarocki: While the bond measures did not pass, they still received a sizeable majority of “yes/yes” voters. Hardly a “good dose of no/no.” The open space measure will be rolled out in a serial levy and will likely pass. Why? Because most of us want it.

    EDITOR NOTE–My intent ref females was to accommodate rather than segregate. When it comes to new things, be they computers, communication, trucks, etc. we will never be “state of the art” or “up to code,” because new stuff comes out daily. My intent is to just be reasonable. There are people who drive gas powered cars with no anti-skid devices, side curtain airbags, or anti-lock brakes. Rather than take those vehicles off the road or retrofit, we should live with what we have until we can afford a new model. Same would be reasonable for new buildings.

  7. Dave:

    Needless to say, I am very pleased with the outcome of the Bond election results. That’s why it is good tax policy to have Bonds needing a 2/3 approval by voters.

    After the election I also went on the Boise City website and according to their numbers they have increased expenditures from $293,000,000 in 2010 to $475,000,000 in 2013. It seems to me that they could have found $34,000,000 for these Bond priorities over a four year period if they are truly that critical.

    If they really want to do these things they will do it with existing budget. Or they may try to run a series of tax levies that only require 50% plus one in an election.

    If the fire stations truly need repair or upgrades do it with existing revenues.

    We do not need any more open space. According to Ada County records in 2001 23% of the county was public land, including BLM, Forest Service, military properties, county owned land, and municipal properties.

    When I fought the $10,000,000 tax levies that they collected from 2001-2003 it turned out to be a disaster. After trying to trade, exchange, or purchase land, the Foothills folks lead by Dave Bieter and Paul Woods, and fronted by Chuck McDevitt showed up in U.S. Senator Larry Craig’s office to ask for our help because no one would sell to them and they couldn’t get any exchanges set up with Senator Craig’s assistance. I know because I was there.

    Here we are, 12 years later and they still have only spent $8.5 million of the original $10 million and they want more. For what? They didn’t have a plan then and they likely don’t have a plan now. There attitude seems to be “give us the money and we’ll just figure it out as we go along.”

    And oh, by the way, many of the people that worked on that Foothills Tax Levy project are now working for Mayor Bieter in City Hall.

    EDITOR NOTE–We repeat the gentle reminder. The election if over. Be ever vigilant, but let’s move on given ’em hell if need be in the future.

    Nov 23, 2013, 4:32 pm

    As a former fire fighter who specialized in brush fires I watch our city officials blame. When close examination shows firefighters in Boise standing around watching… Obvious management incompetence tries to take our focus off obvious incompetence of assertive and successful fire suppression particularly during the Oregon Trail Fire in Boise’s Columbia Village in 2008 to spending taxpayers’ money on new training facility to learn structural fire suppression.

    Read more here:

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