Some Growths Can Be Cancer

Growth for the sake of growth spawns GROWTHOPHOBES. We growthophobes welcome anyone willing to pay their fair share of taxes and fair wages.
In recent months the GUARDIAN and Mrs. GUARDIAN have been wracked with guilt and ridiculed by friends for our practice of taking “Sunday Drives,” to places like the Riverside Restaurant at Horseshoe Bend or the Boise Stage Stop east of Boise.

While the food at both locations is surprisingly good and the staffs are genuinely friendly “Idaho Folks,” we have come to realize you have to go 15-20 miles to “get away from madding crowds.” The sea of rooftops to the west and endless snake of traffic on Fairview, I-84, Eagle Road, State Street, etc. tend to tighten our neck muscles.

The current crop of politicos in Boise, Meridian, and Garden City are bent on “increased density” as the basis for planning the future of our community. These are the folks who give away our tax dollars, make exceptions to zoning laws to benefit developers, and refuse to allow citizens the voice we are guaranteed in the Idaho Constitution. As the song goes, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Their decisions create problems, which demand solutions, which cost money, all contributing to the decline of our quality of life. The school and highway districts constantly scramble to keep up with the demands caused by unnatural growth. Boise officials have dumped their sex offenders (21 at Vista and Canal), impoverished citizens, trailer parks, low cost housing, and skinny houses in the Vista neighborhood. Now they are spending a federal grant to address the issues. (A few perverts living along Warm Springs and skinny houses in the Harrison Blvd. median would be a good start)
Buildings in downtown Boise, Idaho, USA.
For the past half century we have watched generations of politicos destroy our downtown, leaving a vast wasteland in favor of the Towne Square Mall. The polluted aquifer was ignored, money was squandered over a fire station location, and some of the busiest streets in the state were created.

Meanwhile the downtown wasteland was ripe for development. Thanks to “tax increment financing,” all the property owners living outside the redevelopment area funded the services required when the growth took off. One smooth talking developer after another came in with slick plans which always depended upon taking public money for their private benefit. Taxes on new construction and increased property values goes to CCDC (Capital City Development Corp.) NOT to the city, county, ACHD or schools.

In this latest round of insanity we have people eagerly awaiting recently announced projects including:
–160 unit apartment complex in the area of 5th and Front
–100 room hotel at Capitol and Myrtle (with 26 parking spots)
–100 room hotel across Myrtle on the Dunkley Music property
–300 room convention hotel at 11th and Front with a possible 5,000 seat soccer field
–St. Luke’s seeks to close Jefferson for its private benefit

Meanwhile after half a dozen rejected locations, Boise is building an underground bus station and Gardner is putting the entire Center on the Grove in shadows with new office condos. Buses will be doing some sort of loop against traffic on Capitol.

Not to ignore the rest of the city, Boise leaders are in the process of annexing land on South Cole for a development called “Syringa Valley.” The area is predicted to have 1330 homes, 1110 apartments, 480 condos, and a business park and shopping center.

Both ACHD and Boise Schools have developed plans to spend millions of dollars on the planned urban sprawl.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Gee Wiz Editor,

    “refuse to allow citizens the voice we are guaranteed in the Idaho Constitution”… I disagree and front that the citizens refuse to speak their voice. But why??

    1) Really bad information to base judgment on: The education system fails to teach American civics (focusing instead on the beauty of two hairy men violating God’s plumbing laws… and their civil right to a wedding cake decorated by a devout Christian family). One of your stories speaks of CWI growth as if it is a good thing, but did you know the generation under age 35 will still be the first to be less educated than the one before it? CWI is not likely to produce people who will go to the moon or cure cancer. CWI is simply filling the gap left by failed public high-schools. And let’s not forget that Communist dominate media and schools. So lots of Bad information intentionally provided by leadership.

    2) The average citizen is too stupid (yes low IQ) to care about such lofty and intelligent concerns as that you raise. (A few studies do back this outrageous claim… probably due to the ease with which bad information can be obtained from an iPhone.)

    3) Nothing new chief: What you complain about is the norm all across the 3rd most populated country on Earth. Canada has 30M, USA has 330M. Only China and India have more people. That is a doubling for USA in 50 years. Idaho is one of the last places for this plague to arrive. (Bonus! It is always followed by crime. Always! And it has reached this crime phase in Boise this year.)

    I predict Canada will soon have as much trouble keeping US citizens out as we do with our southern border. Once the flight of wealth begins the USA will die quickly.

    So what came first? Voter failure or leadership failure?

    ***Remember, on a smaller scale, in your personal battle against the scourge… always charge a liberal double because they will pay it without question, and they are costing you more in so many ways. And stop giving to social non-profits, yes even your church… they are fostering the growth of THEIR business by teaching dependence and poverty rather than independence and traditional American civics (save the whales instead). The good news is the population is becoming more urban… so the rural areas are becoming more rural.

  2. The rich folks greedy little palms are sweating over the likely flood of refugees from California’s drought. I too am saddened by what I see; the bulldozers and backhoes are ripping up every last bit of farmland around Boise in a frenetic effort to destroy every last shred of what folks love about this valley. The politicians who claim to be working hard for the little guy are really only representing those who give big bucks to their reelection campaigns. Collectively, we humans resemble nothing more than a virus hell bent on consuming and killing it’s host. Growth is not good, it leads to death. What we need is a steady state economy, and destroying the farm land is absolutely the wrong thing to do. As the Indians warned us long ago, someday the white man will discover he can’t eat money.

  3. Real pretty speech not to mean anything, as folks keep supporting and voting for the politicos who salivate at the first mention of development, more tax money, and “innovative” social engineering projects (bike lanes, trolley, light rail, low income housing). You get what you voted for, so if you don’t support these spendy social engineering projects, wise up and vote accordingly.

  4. Mr G
    Any time you get tired of growth you can sure move up here to Idaho City. Clean air…Population of about 400…1 gas station…3 places to go out to eat ..(opps one just shut down last week) low crime… beautiful mountain views…. low taxes….

    We would love to have you.

  5. “pay their fair share of taxes and fair wages.”

    that’s gonna take a long time to figure out.

  6. Growth is inevitable. Especially with certain groups in this region procreating like a well know species of fauna. The real problem is how a society handles growth. Embrace it, or reject it. Plan for it, or wish it away. Some westernized societies have planned for growth, and built up. Or improved public transit. Invested in infrastructure or God forbid education. It seems that here, we just complain and wish for it all to go away. Remembering those good old days back in the late 1800’s where everyone knew their “place” and the closest neighbor was 10 miles away. Or blame those pesky Californians for ruining everything.
    The more Idaho fights it, the more painful it will be.

    EDITOR NOTE–To be clear. Our complaint is NOT with “natural growth.” Our complaint is with planning (and zoning) and then making exceptions to STIMULATE growth. Our complaint is with tax deals for business to STIMULATE growth. Our complaint is with sweet deals to DIVERT TAXES to urban renewal. The late Sen. Frank Church once told me “anyone can make reasonable foreign policy. It takes experts to implement it.” Same holds true for local government and dealing with growth.

  7. L.D. – growth is not inevitable, it is a function of available energy, and the world discoveries of oil peaked in 1964, and have been falling ever since, some think that conventional oil production peaked 10 years ago. At some point, which is probably now, indicated be 0% to negative interest rates being seen globally, growth will be over, and contraction will begin. Some areas will seem better than others, but eventually contraction will be the rule, and so will depopulation, barring some unforeseen miracle, which is highly improbable.

  8. Sen. Frank Church was a wise man. We need more to emulate that sort of mentality.

  9. I must go to the Stage Stop on the days you go to Horseshoe Bend as I don’t recall seeing you there.

    Nampa is seeing far worse. The mayor appointed a good, close personal friend and developer to the city council. Both are working hard with current and former members of the city council to develop the area owned by the state on 11th Ave. North extension into a fancy neighborhood surrounded by two city managed, state land owned golf courses.

    The list goes on and on all in favor of a few smooth talking developer types after another comes into town. Sound familiar? Gardner & Co. came to town and sold the previous mayor and city council on building a new police dept. (not needed) and a new library (needed, but the current mayor doesn’t think so.) and some shops around the new library. Last I heard due to cost overruns and who the leaser is (Gardner) no one wants to lease a store front at the library.

    If the restaurant that closed in Idaho City was Trudy’s then no loss there just took way too long.

  10. Nope Gold Mine.. Harley’s and Trudy’s is about all that is left for dinner. But you can go down the The Springs and get a dinner and glass of wine and a massage along with your soak.

  11. Schools can only plan, if they are given the heads up…..they still have to go to the voters for the facilities bonds. Both ACHD and schools should be able to a assess an impact fee to help defer costing other taxpayers for the growth.

  12. Idea for school planning:

    Why the traditional brick & mortar uber-expensive buildings?? Every University and similar secondary school I can think of, including large public universities, are moving away from the need for a desk & chair on campus for each student. Why not do the same with K-12. (aside from the obvious baby-sitting function of schools… but many don’t want that anyway)

  13. So according to the hospital paid doctors at St. Luke’s if they don’t get to close Jefferson Street you are going to DIE!

    Anyone wonder why Mr. Dr. Pate from Texas was NOT at the work session and why St Luke’s hired Teresa McLeod the mayors former chief community organizer was?

  14. Re: St. Luke’s

    Old message:
    “Give us your streets or we move to Meridian.”

    New message (as stated above):
    “Give us your streets or you’ll die.”

    The elephant in the room here is the fact that most population growth (including lots of kids) will occur naturally between Boise and the Oregon border. From transportation, population and land-use planning perspectives, Meridian makes the most sense and has the fewest conflicts with historic or neighborhood values. Anyone looking at this location objectively just shakes his or her head in disbelief.

    P&Z even voted six to deny, one to defer the application “for the reason that it does not comply with substantial elements of the comprehensive plan.”

    And yet the proposal is to build this industrial-scale development in the regional equivalent of a cul-de-sac, forcing everyone from three states to make their way through Boise to an already congested neighborhood.

    St. Luke’s focus Tuesday was on people living within a half-mile radius who want to ride their bike from Foothills East or Warm Springs to the E.R., to get open heart surgery or receive cancer treatment. What about everyone else in their proposed 300-mile radius customer base? What about preemies from Parma or embolisms from Emmett?

    At Tuesday’s Doc and Pony show, the VP for medical affairs said that St. Luke’s approached their ‘rainmaker’ surgeons and asked them what they wanted. That wish list was handed to the architects who were then told to come up with a plan unconstrained by other considerations.

    This is essentially the same concept heard in testimony at the P&Z meeting from a professional consultant (never met the guy) who coordinates hospital expansions nationally—that relocation and expansion decisions are basically left to the handful of surgeons that generate the most revenue for the hospital. He and others have suggested that a few folks just don’t want to drive to Meridian. (I suspect there is more to it, but that’s what some folks—including St. Luke’s staff—have asserted).

    A very large unasked and unanswered question remains: who will pay for the attempts to compensate for loss of a well-used public right-of-way? St. Luke’s employs the euphemism ‘improvements’ to refer to mitigation, but seems to fixate on cycletracks, when the biggest impacts will be to overall traffic congestion.

    Nowhere do we see anything in writing that provides a detailed estimate of the proposed mitigations or who will pay for them. That may be due to the fact that the mitigations are a moving target. We also heard that the plan is construct a concrete and brick ‘shell structure’ that could remain empty for a decade or more, since health care is in such a state of flux. Who knows…we might even end up with another famous ‘Boise Hole’.

    I’m guessing the taxpayers of Ada County will foot the bill for the pipes, streets, lights, services and mitigations involved. But then I’m just a guy who pays taxes.

    See more citizen/taxpayer/outside expert perspective, LTEs, etc. at

  15. Boise Tax Payer
    Apr 19, 2015, 11:56 am

    To David regarding “Nampa is seeing worse”.

    Keep in mind that Mayor Dave just appointed a developer to the Boise city council, and the city’s director of planning and development services already is a developer.

  16. Erik – two thoughts I fond interesting and as you maybe troubling:
    1.Th “rainmaker” docs are now in charge of not only hospital expansion but site planning. 🙂
    2. Not hard to find a “professional consultant” that will agree with whatever you want and will say whatever you want. Lawyers do this with “expert witnesses” all the time. Mr. Pate the lawyer knows this. 🙂

    I agree with some previous posts that it is time for Mr. Pate to go back to Texas and quit playing emperor here.

  17. If my pitcher had cost this many runs I’d retire him. But in medicine the money keeps coming no matter the count.

    Hospitals should not be called… ‘non-profit’. They should be called… ‘can’t not make a profit no matter how hard we try’

  18. Although consolidation often leads to higher costs, it rarely leads to better care. In fact, research has consistently found little change or even poorer quality resulting from hospital consolidation.

    An indepth study recently conducted by the Catalyst for Payment Reform concluded:52 “Consolidation in the health care sector is ubiquitous. And despite the potential benefits, there is also fear—based on well-documented historical trends—that unless we manage it carefully, massing provider market power will lead to even higher prices and revenues.”


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