Random Points To Ponder

Sorry for the lack of material of late, but the fire in my ample belly is not burning too hot. For the sake of discussion and hoping to stimulate some discussion I will offer points to ponder, admittedly not researched, but worth noting. –DAVE FRAZIER, editor

ADA COUNTY–We have been informed that two former “operations managers” at Ada County (mostly the landfill duties) have retired, but are back at work as consultants or contractors. One has reportedly been hired by a temp agency which charges the county more than $100 an hour. Seems like it would be cheaper to eliminate the middle man on an insider trade.

ST. LUKE’S PURCHASE–If Saint Luke’s is able to dodge the taxes on their purchase of the old M-K Plaza 23 plus acres it will cost taxpayers well over $600,000 in lost revenue. Seems to us that it is time to eliminate the tax-exempt non-profit status of an outfit that is able to milk the government and insurance companies out of so many millions of dollars and pay such high wages to the medical people they buy.

DOWNTOWN–With the completion of the publicly funded foundation of the Gardner project (underground bus station) there has been an avalanche of publicity, but no mention about the apparent lack of a simple escalator. Bike lockers and we assume an elevator, but no moving stairs. Even the mall has an escalator!

The Greater Boise Auditorium District is reveling in the new addition which will cost about $23 million with no public vote on the debt.

Nice place, but with the new building, Aspen Apartments, Simplot’s JUMP and Hq, we noticed a distinct lack of trees. In fact, from the new area all you can see looking south and west is glass, metal, and brick. Stand in the treeless “Grove” and you could easily be in L.A. San Diego, or Atlanta.

TRAFFIC–Seems like everyone has a traffic horror story over coffee these days. Rude, inattentive texting, aggressive driving.

SINGLE CAR ACCIDENTS–We get the reports from ISP on all the fatals and major mishaps statewide. There is an inordinate number of single vehicle accidents and the report is often the same: “The driver left the right side of the road, overcorrected and a) rolled over, b) crossed the median, c) entered the oncoming lane and crashed head-on. Seems like a no brainer: playing with an electronic device or TEXTING!!

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Jordan Morales
    Oct 21, 2016, 8:04 pm

    I asked about the escalator at the open house. It got scrapped due to intial capital and ongoing maintenance costs. They think the elevator will be able to handle those that don’t wish to use the stairs. We shall see.

    Boy am I ready for those trees in the grove to come back and mature up. It is looking very barren…. They were putting in the metal grates on those tree boxes today so hopefully getting closer.

  2. Ludicrous Speed
    Oct 21, 2016, 9:01 pm

    I think our entire government is texting and driving — in office. I wish the outcome would cost them personally instead of the less-for-more outcome We The People pay for.

    The increased Idaho speed limits are Ludicrous Speed, and faster than most of the typical Idaho vehicles can safely drive:

    Hope this makes you laugh boss.

  3. St Luke’s “makes” – or has left over each year – almost $50 MILLION dollars. They NEVER call it profit!!

    That is how they can afford $400 million projects and continue to and buy,expand and buy some more.

    The key for St Luke’s is to spend the cash ASAP so it does not show up on the financials – thus expand, expand….and pay your CEO from Texas $1,000,000+. (a lot like Blue Cross’s new CEO from New York City via Texas at $750,000+ a year).

  4. Las Vegas Rebel
    Oct 22, 2016, 12:45 am

    It is long overdue for St. Luke’s to give up their tax exempt status. That is $600,000 that could be going to the schools and city services such as police and fire departments. I am ok if they don’t pay taxes on the actual hospital but all the administrative buildings, other office buildings and doctors offices they need to pony up the taxes.

    Downtown–Where are all the trees? I thought this was the city of trees?

    Single Car Accidents–I think some of these, besides technology distractions, can also be attributed to impaired drivers. More and more people are driving under the influence of medications.

  5. Grove Plaza and escalator: Heck, even the block north (Piper Pub, et. al.) has an escalator.

    I can’t wait for the announcement that the Vallyride buses can’t make it up the ramp when fully loaded (oops, did they test them in that configuration???), and they have to retrofit the buses with better springs. And can’t wait to see how the ‘contraflow’ lanes for buses on Capital Blvd are going to ‘work’.

    EDITOR NOTE–Not to be snarky, but when was the last time you saw a bus with enough passengers to lower the springs even an inch? 🙂

  6. I bet if you average the number of bus riders (in a 15 min period) during the day you would be lucky to get 5.

  7. ACHD elections could be a game changer. If you like status quo, then vote the incumbents back in. New guys would likely be more Boise City Hall and bike friendly.

  8. Yossarian_22
    Oct 25, 2016, 8:54 am

    One complaint to date would be that I have witnessed some drivers that get away with very high speeds on major arteries like Vista Ave. The other day, a small rollerskate of a car flew southbound at an easy 80mph! It was so fast that I could not grab the tag numbers. There seems to be an impunity with this. I used to see more police presence on Vista.

  9. Single car accidents, vis-a-vis, distracted driving. I think that there is another very important variable involved in the single-car-accident equation.

    For instance, how stable is your hand position on the wheel? If you are male, then there is a 99% chance that your steering wheel hand position is some variation of the ‘hand at the top of the wheel’.

    Unfortunately, in any surprise or unexpected maneuver, the response with this hand position will be exaggerated as gravity is doing its best to ‘help’. It is illuminating to watch a video clip of a race car driver. Are his/her hands at the top of the wheel? Hardly. They are firmly located on each side of the bottom 1/3 of the wheel… which just happens to be the most stable place in a surprise encounter.

    I firmly believe that a large share of the lost control slideoffs could be prevented with proper hand position on the wheel. We need to drive like our lives depend on it. They do!

  10. RE: “SINGLE CAR ACCIDENTS”: It would be better to call ’em single-car CRASHES. An “accident” implies a certain degree of happenstance; almost all crashes involve mistakes made by one or more of the involved parties… and almost all crashes could be avoided.

    As tragic as a “single car crash” is, it is also almost always the fault of the vehicle operator. And if they were fiddling with a handheld device, the argument could be made that it’s Darwin’s Law of Natural Selection in action. The smart survive, the stupid, not so much.

    What is TRULY tragic is when a distracted or impaired vehicle operator causes a multiple-vehicle crash. Such an event victimizes people whose only mistake was to be in the path of destruction. Unfortunately, it happens all the time, and it seems as though society is comfortable with that collateral damage.

  11. Not drawing any generalizations here, Bikeboy, but I saw a bicyclist texting today.

  12. AbolishGovernment
    Oct 25, 2016, 4:09 pm

    Being a political activist has changed radically. We used to try to gently steer decisions for the greater good of the people. Now, the whole country, and really the entire world, is failing spectacularly, and corruption is so pervasive as to make one want to just throw up your hands in defeat. Guessing we are facing economic collapse and WW3 soon. Keep yourself healthy and sane, as good people will soon be needed to clean up the mess created by our criminal government, corrupt corporate media, and the insanely greedy Elite puppeteers hiding behind the curtain.

  13. Aggrieved Party
    Oct 25, 2016, 5:31 pm

    Removing the myth of the non-profit healthcare provider is long overdue.
    Healthcare is indeed extremely profitable for those corporations which constantly profess to have our good health as their first priority. Healthcare for profit simply has to GO!
    In practice healthcare provisioning is most definitely a for-profit corporate structure whose allegiance is not to those patients they serve. Instead the answer as of late has been that they owe a duty of return on investment to their shareholders first. Shareholder hegemony without apology, by definition substantially contributes to the increased costs we are all asked to pay.
    As a practical matter there are no real checks or balances which can or could have prevented the massive increases in healthcare costs the US has experienced in the last few years.
    When asked how much healthcare services should cost, an industry insider replied: “How much is too much when the sky is the limit!?”
    Health Insurance companies are only now admitting that they suffered losses in the last few years which now must be made up for with double digit increases in the costs of premiums across the board for next year.
    The good news is there is a promising business model which is being tested in New York state which shows real promise as an alternative to the current “non-profit/cost shifting/variable pricing/spend until your breakeven” business model currently in use in our national healthcare system.
    This new model simply asks the hospitals to determine their bottom line breakeven costs of operation. The state then guarantees that amount with wiggle room for increases and the hospital agrees to provide service without the need for insurance! You can imagine the howls of discontent from the for-profit insurance companies! The overall funding is taxed at the local state level to both cover and control costs…what a concept. Rich or poor you can be seen by a doctor.
    I am told that hospital administrators are supportive of the model as it simplifies and reduces their overhead costs by eliminated the need for billing, collections etc.
    The current system is already engaged in a quasi-breakeven business model called Medicare which gave us CPT codes, ICD 9 and ICD 10 billings structures.
    I am not against paying doctors more money, but I really take issue with the current compensation packages for St. Als and Lukes top brass (a cool million each with bennies!)
    Any system that charges those patients who can least afford to pay, the very highest amounts demanded is a mean-spirited broken system which disrespects the fact that illness is a human condition which is totally unrelated to any person’s capacity to pay.
    Healthcare will eventually affect us all. We are all suffering from a death sentence from the day we are born. In simplest terms “good health” is just the slowest way to die.
    IMO, everyone who might potentially ever be sick or get ill should read Steven Brill’s book “America’s Bitter Pill”.
    It is a real eyeopener.

  14. One more random point – 3 reports of violent crime in the Statesman today.
    Boise is becoming a more dangerous place. 2 of 3 in the Foothills!

  15. erico49, I see bicyclists texting and fiddling with their handhelds while riding one-handed or zero-handed, all the time!

    One very significant distinction between them and motorists, however… as a rule, those cyclists are only putting themselves in mortal danger. Distracted motorists kill and maim innocent bystanders routinely!

  16. I laugh every time I hear the Blue Cross ads that say “Idahoans serving Idahoans” when Blue Cross has not had an Idaho CEO for over 20 years and many of VPs (including 2 newbies) and execs are all from out of state. We natives are just not smart enough to get hired on. Thank the Blue Cross board….they seem to like that way.

    The board of directors is a closed little club (yearly salary and travel perks) and they like it that way. They seem to think that if they just buy some ad time we will believe whatever they say.

    My 42% rate increase and possible out of network $75,000!!!!! deductible from them this year is a crime – but they know they won’t even get questioned about it and if they do no one can do anything about it.

    Not sure why we pay an Insurance Commissioner (six figures) that cannot and does not do anything to help us. Oh yea…he was a legislator….must be padding his PERSI retirement plan.

  17. 3 of the 5 examples show taxpayers are getting screwed.

  18. Chickenhawk
    Oct 26, 2016, 7:40 pm

    Yosarian_22 makes a valid argument. I have noticed that ever since the stretch of Ustick Road between Cloverdale and Five-Mile was widened to five lanes, it has become an unofficial racetrack. I have seen drivers go as fast as 50 there, and up to 40 in the stretch that narrows to three lanes at all hours of the day and night. The ironic part is that the aforementioned stretch through the Ustick Townsite is almost pitch-black at night, a perfect prowling ground for coppers. Lots of aggressive and angry drivers probably upset about the lack of trees in The Grove. Don’t get me started on the chronic texters.

  19. I did not realize until yesterday that because the fed and city money was used to build the bus garage we – the tax payers – basically paid for Tommy Alquists’ building foundation. Gave it to him for free. 🙁

  20. Hey westernguy! You neglected to mention Mark Rivers’ religious affiliation. I’m sure it was just an oversight. (Since obviously it’s pertinent, or you wouldn’t have mentioned Alquist’s [sic].)

  21. You are correct Bikeboy.. must have been an oversight. Right.

  22. Ludicrous Speed
    Oct 28, 2016, 4:27 pm

    Will someone still in possession of their gonads please ask Mayor Bieter some hard questions about his public-side socialist tendencies. And his private-side strongly favoring of a handful of Boise businessmen who seem to benefit a great deal from his decisions.

    EDITOR NOTE–Speed, you just asked, but don’t expect any answers.

  23. western guy
    Oct 28, 2016, 6:08 pm

    Mark Rivers: WOW! entrepreneur or fake? You decide.

    The Idaho (mis)Taken hasn’t touched this one, yet.

    Another first-run score for The Guardian.

  24. I watched a biker today riding and texting. Then he hit a curb and fell over himself. Got up on 2 feet and continued texting. I told him about our discussion here of bikers texting.

  25. western guy
    Oct 28, 2016, 8:04 pm

    I didn’t add the Mark Rivers information when I wrote about Tommy Alquist. Editor, you must have added that info without attribution.

    EDITOR NOTE–I fixed the attribution. It got lost due to clumsy fingers. I had also deleted the religious reference which came back due to same glitch.

  26. With rejection of the CWI bond, how about removing hospital tax exemption and dedicate resultant tax monies to building CWI?

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