Boise Councilors Rotate, Reader Questions

Boise’s City Council will take on two new members and see a female majority as the new year begins.

Maryanne Jordan, without question the most knowledgeable member, has now devoted her political efforts to the Idaho Legislature. While legal, we have always questioned the ethics of holding two elected offices simultaneously. Ben Quintana, who we see as the “stealth councilor,” has left in favor of his full time job and family life.

Former legislator Holli Woodings and Lisa Sanchez were elected in November.

At least two views of the City Council are expressed in this timely exchange with a new GUARDIAN reader we felt worth sharing.

“Dear Editor,

I just subscribed to Boise Guardian and started reading through back comments, particularly about whether any of our city council have a vested interested in approving development projects. To that point, I am a “victim” of annexation here in Northwest Boise. I bought my property and built with the (mis)understanding that I would live in the county and enjoy a semi-rural ambiance.

Within a year after, despite vociferous community protests at city council, my neighborhood was annexed. My observation is that, since that time, too many high density and multiple story complexes have been approved. Planning and Development approved a development across the street from my subdivision.

Now the neighborhood association is in battle to preserve the last remnant of open space along Hill Road. Your posting about the foxes guarding the hen house led me to question whether any members of the council, planning and development, ACHD have any kind of interest in approving the proposal from Corey Barton and Trilogy to put 290 units of three story apartments and tract houses along this parcel.

For every proposal that impacts this neighborhood, I have, along with others, voiced my concerns at city councils meetings and in writing. Knowing what the mayor is up to has never quite impacted me before because I used to live in a privileged part of town before I had to move; now I am coming to terms with a realization that city council and planning already have minds made up when citizenry come before them and public input is given a head nod and lip service.

Other than increasing a tax base for spending downtown and improving facilities such as libraries etc., is there anything else that drives the lack of concern for the tremendous impact unchecked growth is having on the city? Is the mayor or are other administrative officials in cahoots with any of these developers? I started to wonder whether political campaigns had backing by these developers, and did anyone at city hall have a personal motive for approving so many of these projects despite outcry from the surrounding neighbors? I would love to hear from you on this.


Dear Kris,

All I can say is that you got it correct. At each election the developers are the big contributors to city candidates.

In their defense, some councilors feel they are “leaders making tough decisions.” All across America planners preach bicycles, increased density, roundabouts, “vibrant downtown,” light rail and other mass transit, community policing, incentives for business which creates demand for more of all the above.

I have never attended a hearing where the council simply denied a project in favor of concerned citizens. They usually defer for a week or two and pass it anyway.

Sorry I don’t have better news.”

–Dave Frazier, editor


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The basic problem is that we are led to believe voting creates some sort of rule by the citizens, when it doesn’t.

    The truth is that money is the control factor. Money is used to totally control The (fake) Corporate Media, and the Prostitute Politicians.

    The Corporate Media tells the citizens what to think, then they do poling to confirm we actually think what they told us to think, and report that as “News”. The politicians then do what the people think they want because they were brainwashed by TV and Newspapers.

    We are trapped in a phony “democracy”, being manipulated en mass by the rich folks for their personal gain.

    Someone said… Voting for a new master to solve your problems is a slave mentality.

  2. Stephen C. Fischer
    Jan 23, 2018, 8:47 pm

    It shouldn’t be legal to hold two offices, but apparently it is. It shouldn’t be legal for developers to contribute to campaigns for local office, but apparently it is. It shouldn’t be legal for a current member of the City Council to be able to develop two tall buildings downtown, but apparently it is.

    Our power brokers move effortlessly and unashamedly back-and-forth between the boardrooms and the legislatures to do the rigging on behalf of each other — and then boast that they made their fortunes purely through hard work and good old-fashioned American gumption.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t good people in business and government, but the American system in general seems fundamentally flawed in that what should be called illegal and corrupt is enshrined in law and flaunted as virtuous.
    I could go on and on about solutions, but will try to wrap things up with one example.

    When I started a petition against the proposed CVS store at State and 16th/17th, I thought it important to include the firm intent to withhold our dollars from CVS with a boycott and to withhold our votes from local politicians at the ballot box.

    Our dollars and our votes seem to be our only effective weapons of peacefulness to stop unwanted development that benefits only a tiny elite to the detriment and distress of Reading the response of the editor, David Frazier, above, is an indication of the absolute necessity of unity when we citizens have lost our uphill battles of local democracy time after time after time.

    I could very well be missing things, but it seems we the people of Boise are doomed unless we come together across various diverse neighborhoods and national political differences in an exceptional display of solidarity.

    Otherwise, we’ll be dismissed and ultimately crushed, as all of our separate protests will be exercises in futility and frustration.
    This is perhaps my final plea — as I’m ready either to move out of the area, or to resign myself to making the best of the tragic defacement and despoilment of a wonderfully special place.
    For the last time, perhaps, I’ll say what I would like to see on thousands of bumper stickers in this region: Keep Boise Unique!!! If real unity will somehow come about (and my wife agrees), I would gladly give $1,000 to the cause.

    I feel that passionate about Boise and its people — but my health is quite iffy, and I need others to step up big time as regular residents on behalf of regular residents, without ego or territoriality or ideology getting in the way.

  3. Yes, that is exactly how it works.

    A couple of free lunches and the new girls will be in the bag too.

  4. High density apartments and other multi-residential projects are not examples of responsible growth. These projects have numerous negative effects, such as overburdening a school district, increasing traffic congestion and air pollution, straining our waste water treatment plants, and challenging our public safety programs. Is it time for a citizen petition to implement a moratorium on high density housing? Or, will Boise City institute a moratorium in response to its concerned citizens?

  5. Ms. Sanchez ran as an outsider who would be a voice for the “ignored class.” I hope that’s not just the homeless, or people who can’t afford health insurance or an apartment. In Boise, it’s pretty much everybody who doesn’t develop subdivisions or live downtown, or in the north end or east end.

    There’s an interesting profile on her, over at the “weekly alternative” website.

    Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I get the impression Ms. Woodings will be yet another Bieter toady. (He seemed mighty pleased that she got elected.)

    EDITOR NOTE–Bieter also paid Woodings $500 toward her run. Also Woodings’ hubby was appointed by Bieter to the CCDC board.

  6. Dave Kangas
    Jan 24, 2018, 2:18 pm

    Maybe it i time for the state of Idaho to pass legislation requiring cities of a certain size to have district representatives in their city council. This would require representatives from West, SW Boise, NW Boise be on the council. Current law does not require representation by district.

    EDITOR NOTE–If memory serves correctly, I think citizens can propose a referendum via petition to get such a measure on the ballot. It is important to retain city vote while having district resident requirement. Generally speaking, Idaho Code allows cities and counties to create their own form of local government.

  7. Constitution of the State of Idaho

    Article 1

    Declaration of Rights

    SECTION 2. POLITICAL POWER INHERENT IN THE PEOPLE. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform or abolish the same whenever they may deem it necessary; and no special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted that may not be altered, revoked, or repealed by the legislature.

  8. From the perspective of the North West Neighborhood Association, I can only echo the concerns of Kris. Our neighborhood, having been recently annexed in a process guaranteed to make us feel powerless, now under a Comp plan that was written before we were part of the city, and without an active neighborhood association, has simply been an easy mark for developers, or a ‘land pipeline’, as some commercial interests put it.

    But, we are changing that. We have a very active neighborhood association now, and Boise at large is starting to wake to the realization that we aren’t special just ‘because’, but due to our quality of life, natural beauty, and small town friendliness — traits that can so easily be bought and sold to leave us like any other strip-malled city of sprawl.

    I know to those with long memories this is just another battle in a long war. But there have been victories — some foothills protection, some river protection — that have helped to make Boise so ‘livable’ and desirable to those who have squandered such gifts. Now we need to realize we have the last farmland to foothills connection in all of Boise on the chopping block here along Old Hill Road (check us out on FB!).

  9. CJ Petrovsky
    Jan 26, 2018, 2:20 pm

    I have high hopes for Sanchez…definitely not a prisoner of the business class as well as smart and feisty. The question is: Will she be the lone voice?

  10. To all Neighborhood Assn.'s
    Jan 26, 2018, 8:13 pm

    There is a zoning meeting each Monday. There is a council meeting each Tuesday. There are over 30 associations. It would behoove you (us all) to be at each and every meeting, sticking up for each other. Just go out on those nights and do something useful. Hey, there are good bars and restaurants down there, and night parking is free. Really, this could be a more persistent presence if it could be made to be more fun. I challenge 5 of any NA to go to PZ on Monday this next week, and council on Tuesday. In fact, great interest could mean better meetings. Better jokes, more sarcasm, more calling out the half-truths and the non-starters. Pengilly’s at 5, and PZ at 6. One drink minimum, one drink maximum. Sit near the front. . .

  11. I do not feel represented by the mayor or city council. I also do not see how the idealism of the new members will change this disconnect. I read an interview in the Boise Weekly and was alarmed and offended by the echoing of DIVISIVE political crap produced by the national liberal agenda machine.

  12. I like the suggestions from ‘To all Neighborhood Assn.’s’. All politics is local. Good government requires diligence of the citizenry, not abdicating to the elected and appointed officials.

    I’ll be there Monday after next. Pengilly’s first (haven’t been there in 30 years), then City Hall.


  13. If you show up there more than three times a year they’ll claim harassment and have the police follow you around until you do something wrong. This is the reason why the citizenry stopped its involvement many years ago. If you think you are going to change the way they do things you got to expect they will push back. Just too much money involved to let the citizens control it.

    However, it is the best actionable idea I’ve heard to solve this problem of ignoring the general public within the current system in a long time.

    Yes, do it but carefully. I strongly suggest you loosely organize and watch each other’s back. You will be infiltrated on the first day by the police, so immediately distance from the goofballs who want to be obnoxious. People sitting on government councils need to feel special and powerful so remember to stoke the ego while telling them no. That’s why they have a big elevated bench. (We should change to have them sit on a folding chair at a folding table in a rented warehouse but that can come later.)

  14. When your at a meeting if you don’t get Dave Bieter or a council member’s attention tell them you’re a developer from Alabama and you want to build a mall, with a food court, by the Capitol. That’s in the CCDC area isn’t it? I think citizenry stopped involvement has more to do with apathy as opposed to a fear of having the BPD follow them. However, if you are driving east on the interstate near mile marker 15 and are being followed by a law enforcement officer there could be some fear levels running HIGH!

  15. western guy
    Jan 30, 2018, 9:34 am

    Wanna make city council, CCDC, ACHD or county commissioners and staff super paranoid: attend one of their meetings, sit quietly in the middle or back. Take copious notes. Never speak. agenda doesn’t matter.

    Attend another meeting a couple of weeks later. Do same thing. I *guarantee* you a staffer will wander over to you at a break and chat you up, wondering who you are and why you are there.

    If you are sitting and taking notes, and someone walks behind you, slowly close your notebook (or turn it over so writing is face-down). That way the visitor does not see what you are writing about. In fact, you are not writing about anything… just notes to yourself to make it look like you are writing!!

    Do this a third time and I *guarantee* you one of the elected/appointed officials will come up to you and chat you up. This tactic only works if you are not personally recognizable to any of the staff or officials in the room.

    Have fun messin’ wit dem!!

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