Bieter Bashes ACHD, Seeks Control Of Streets

In the wake of the worst series of snow storms in modern history, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter is calling for the demise of the Ada County Highway District.

Long critical of ACHD, Bieter has taken to the airwaves of KBOI AM 670 radio and the Op-Ed page of the Idaho Statesman to make his case.

What we previously thought was a great example of mutual cooperation between local government agencies during the snow emergency is obviously just another Team Dave opportunistic political maneuver seeking increased control and power over the lives of Boise citizens. The citizens of ALL of Ada County voted to create ACHD due in large part to the greed of past Boise administrations.

In the 1970’s Overland Road west of Cole was the poster child for pothole damage. Ada County Commishes refused to rebuild the ancient road because they claimed, rightly so, that if they spent the county money to build the road, Boise City would, “just gobble it up” through annexation. The GUARDIAN has long felt Idaho cities should not be allowed to annex people into the city against their will. Idaho is one of the few states that allows the practice.

We citizens went to the the polls and created a county-wide agency. We also created a county-wide ambulance service. It made sense and it still makes sense on both counts.

Given Bieter’s reasoning about the inability of ACHD to cope with an epic snow storm, the same would apply to the Boise Fire Department’s inability to cope with major fires. Every time there is a blaze in the foothills or a major structure fire, Boise calls for the “mutual aid” of nearby surrounding departments. Boise also returns the favor when needed. It is done in the spirit of cooperation and good government.

Bieter could use a lesson in the philosophy of “mutual aid.”

UPDATE 1/14/17
ACHD Commish Kent Goldthorpe reports, “We’re entering new territory as of yesterday when one of the ACHD contract plow operators was assaulted and punched by a citizen. An arrest was made but I’m wondering if the official rhetoric we are hearing and seeing is contributing rather than helping the problem? Pretty easy answer in my mind. And yes, I am digging myself out as often as anyone else.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Maybe it won’t snow if the city takes over.

  2. The ACHD had their hands full this winter and they never did make it to my street, so I’m not their biggest fan right now. Having stated that, I would have zero confidence in Boise City doing a better job on the south bench than the ACHD. I feel like the bench hasn’t benefited as much as the rest of the city during the Bieter years (decades?). One example would be the upcoming(?) Cole Road expansion. The ACHD originally planned a wider version that would have had an area for grass and trees but the city said that they didn’t have the resources to maintain it so the ACHD scaled it back a few feet. I’m all for smart/limited government spending but I feel that if this expansion were elsewhere in the city it would get the “Boise Bieter Best” version (Curtis and Vista come to mind). Bieter and the city council don’t seem to care about the south bench area. That is evident with their handling of the F35 program, disregarding the people who live here. I doubt the south bench would ever see a sanding truck operated by Boise City. They would be too busy cleaning up Downtown and the North End.

  3. Perhaps the mayor could come up with a plan to fix the dangerous froze heaves in city hall plaza.

  4. Start your own paper
    Jan 13, 2017, 8:08 pm

    Look erico49, DK and Mike: You are so off topic it is harmful to the whole blog. ACHD’s strategic plans for snow removal are inadequate. If the money paid to ACHD went elsewhere the results might be different. This is about safety, strategy and common sense. Keep digging, unless you’re injured from digging, too old, or too busy with several jobs.

  5. The mayor could use the snow plows as trolley cars when there is no snow.

    EDITOR NOTE: MJ you are not far off the mark. As it is today, Team Dave has to seek and obtain permission from ACHD for a trolley. If the city controls the streets, they can do as they please.

  6. The mayor needs to remember he is a mayor not a king. He already taxes us as if he is a king and we are the peasants. He disregards our NO vote on the trolley!

    We, the voters, will decide who is in charge of the roads.

    If we, the voters, feel that the ACHD Commissioners do not do their job we can replace them.

    Placing the inmates in charge of the jail is not the answer.

  7. Mayor’s Plan, for the City in control of its street, would be to declare first Trolley emergence in Boise, and later Trolley (snow) emergency.

  8. Kent Goldthorpe
    Jan 14, 2017, 9:03 am

    We’re entering new territory as of yesterday when one of the ACHD contact plow operators was assaulted and punched by a citizen. An arrest was made but I’m wondering if the official rhetoric we are hearing and seeing is contributing rather than helping the problem? Pretty easy answer in my mind. And yes, I am digging myself out as often as anyone else.

  9. I’m often struck by the same voices whining re “smaller government”, overreach, and regulation overload being the same voices that whine and moan and threaten when guv-mint don’t (sic) show up immediately upon any sort of natural disaster. Want lower taxes and Cadillac service for all “MY” needs, right now.

  10. Typical Idaho. I don’t want to pay any taxes. I just want government to leave me alone and stay out of my life. Oh wait, why isn’t the government plowing my street. If anyone thinks Bieter would use money to maintain the roads you have a short memory. This is the same guy who tries to bond for basic services that the city should already be providing. And you want to give him more money? Foolish.

  11. SR’s comment is right on the mark.
    I do not think Bieter wants to maintain the streets. He wants more taxes incoming.

  12. Steve Rinehart
    Jan 14, 2017, 9:15 pm

    For some impressive whining, excuse-making and fault-dodging, see ACHD commissioner Paul Woods’ piece in the Statesman.

  13. Dear ACHD,
    Thanks for dumping 3 feet of road snow onto my sidewalk- right after I finished shoveling it. I enjoyed the extra workout!

    ACHD failure.

    C. Goldthorpe responses here and in other online forums reminds me of Trump’s tweets.

  14. Eastener, do you really think Boise City plows would NOT plow the snow onto the sidewalk? Really? Where would they plow it to? Frankly, streets like Fairview, 27th, anything with a center turn lane should have it plowed into the center turn lane.

    Funny how both agencies talk a big line about bikes and pedestrians. Hah, look who’s the real boss. CARS. I’ve been saying it all along.

    Oh, and guess which neighborhood is the dumping ground for all that ugly brown snow from downtown streets. Guess.

  15. I agree with Bieter. Buy, it isn’t about snow removal. It is about power, money and having a public body that is responsible to the governments it serves.

  16. boisecynic, you just answered your question right? ” ‘should’ have it plowed into the center turn lane”?
    Still not a great solution, though. Left turns would really suck.

    How bout this idea, pay attention to where the snow is going.

    ACHD came around to clear the schools at 1a.m. to clear access to Boise Schools- neglecting the fact kids (and us parents) can’t even use the sidewalks to get to the school.
    Not sure if they did that for other schools in Ada. But there was a loader and 3 dump trucks, with traffic control, collecting some overtime when I drove past one school at 1am the other morning.

    oh well, better luck next snow storm.

  17. Easterner: “kids (and us parents) can’t even use the sidewalks to get to the school.”

    Hahaha! What a quaint notion! Sidewalks… in use?

    (I’m guessing 70% of kids get dropped off by a chauffeur… 15% ride the bus… and 15% walk or ride a bike. The infrastructure is maintained accordingly.)

    Easterner: “Oh well, better luck next snow storm.”

    The next comprarable snow storm likely won’t hit for 30 years. (The last one was in the 80s.) Or maybe never, if Algore is right.

    (People talk about Global Warming like it’s a BAD thing! haha)

  18. Thanks to Goldthorpe for his postings here. I can’t think of another site where local issues can be discussed without the dreaded Facebook sign-up (other than Betsy Russel’s excellent blog with comments section). Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with Kent, I congratulate him for caring enough to read and respond.

  19. I see the weather experts are predicting another big snowstorm!! The hand-wringers say “up to ten inches!!,” but 3-5 inches seems to be more the consensus.

    If Mayor Bieter can sign an Executive Order to prevent that from happening, I’ll support moving roadbuilding and maintenance back to the City’s purview. (And stopping a measly snowstorm should be peanuts! His man Obama declared that the ocean levels would quit rising, back in ’08 when he got the nomination to be the Democrat presidential pick.)

  20. Clancy Anderson
    Jan 17, 2017, 9:26 am

    Before Bieter starts criticizing ACHD, he should probably look at his lack of enforcement on sidewalk snow removal. This law reads the same now as it did in 1922 when it was written.

    Lack of sidewalk snow removal creates problems for any one who walks for transportation or recreation. This includes school kids, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Mayor Bieter should be concerned about all people during events like this and not just those who drive.

  21. Another thing Bieter and his police force can’t enforce: Idaho Statute 49-937. The muffler law.

    One good thing about this weather, I haven’t heard a single Harley in weeks. I wish it would snow all year!

  22. The mayor missed a major opportunity to show how city government collaborates with other agencies to best serve the public, instead he uses the opportunity to advance his personal war against ACHD.

    It is a well known and oft repeated fact that the Mayor wants control of city streets, so persistent and vocal is he in this regard he has lost all credibility to be an objective critic of ACHD.

    The Mayor’s OpEd is full of criticism but lacks specifics on how ACHD has failed us, and he presents no detailed plan on how he would manage the streets better, only broad sounds bites of putting the citizens first…..

    While I am no big fan of ACHD, I at least believe they take a scientific approach to the use of the public streets and use data and engineering to plan use of the streets, I have no such confidence in the Mayor, his traffic management plan is really about social outcomes he desires, not how public infrastructure can best be used to serve all citizens.

  23. The mayor cannot get HIS police force to simply enforce 20 MPH speed limits on our streets. We have to have ACHD of all people to come in and do what the MAYOR WILL NOT DO!

    ACHD installs speed bumps, puts up radar signs, adds other calming devices for us AND BOISE PD and MAYOR still ignore us and those who go 45 in a 20 zone!

    Maybe we need to give the police dept to ACHD!!!

  24. jj offers some awesome analysis of the stalemate between ACHD and city government!

    The only thing I slightly disagree on… a week ago, city employees were actually deployed, to help clear storm drains, etc., in anticipation of more wet stuff. (Mayor Bieter thinks ACHD dropped the ball, by being short-staffed and ill-equipped.) So there actually WAS some totally-appropriate collaboration between the entities. Private citizens joined the effort, too! THAT, my friends, is how you deal with a once-every-30-years weather event! And we’re not out of it yet, most likely.

  25. Speeders – I agree with you. I feel much better about the taxes I pay to ACHD than those I send into the vacuum of Team Bieter which is almost 4 times as much!!!

    No matter how much you send they want more. More NON ESSENTIAL services like PIO’s, art classes, trips to ride on Air Force One, buying sagebrush on in the foothills, etc.

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