City Government

Secret Deal Prompts Call For Probe

Three activist groups opposed to a mountain bike park in the Military Reserve are represented by Boise attorney Bruce Bistline who delivered a letter to the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office calling for a probe into both the process Boise City Council used to approve the project and an alleged open meetings law violation.

It all boils down to the City Council and Parks Department agreeing to accept about $2 million from the Albertson Foundation and keeping it quiet until the deal had been approved by the councilors.

The IDAHO PRESS reported, Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway defended the process, saying although that is a duty of the commission, because the Albertson Foundation did not want the public to know about the donation until it was approved by council, going before the commission was not possible.

Opponents of the bike park have made public record requests to look at memos and other documents related to the project, but 248 of those were considered exempt because of “attorney/client privilege,” according to the packet included with Bistline’s letter to the prosecutor.

“We believe from this record and the Council’s decision (last week) it is now reasonable to conclude the Council was engaging in a private deliberative process ‘via’ a stunningly large number of internally circulated ‘memos’ for the express purpose of concealing that deliberative process,” Bistline’s letter said.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. A. Non E. Moose
    Oct 23, 2018, 3:03 pm

    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

    Must be the mantra of the current politico’s in office in either Ada or Canyon Counties.

    We must stop voting for the incumbent fools and go with a non incumbent. Reminder to vote November 6th.

    That is all.

  2. western guy
    Oct 23, 2018, 7:38 pm

    Just how much clout does Joe Scott (grandson and AH of the decade) need to have in Boise? Throwing $$ everywhere… but it seems to buy him the (hidden) influence he craves.

  3. How much clout does Joe Scott need? As much, apparently, as Dave Bieter will let him buy. Is this one of the reasons the City refused to release around 245 documents in response to a Public Records Act request???

  4. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 24, 2018, 9:25 am

    It is time for regime change in Boise City Hall. Dave Bieter is my nomination for Douchebag of the Year Award for the Idaho division. The corruption in Boise is astounding. Bieter plays the social justice angle for his voter base in the North End, all while giving sweetheart deals to the hospitals and developer scum.

  5. One would think that public officials would grasp that secrecy and covert activities would only further tarnish their already tarnished reputations . So why not be transparent from the start? But that would require belief in the merit of civic virtue – something that is sadly and increasingly lacking from those who enter public life. It seems that public office acts as a magnet for power seeking sociopaths. Particularly on the federal level, but increasingly on the local level. Is it too much that people we elect simply act with decency?

  6. Casmir, see your history books…. ‘Civic virtue’ has always had some scoundrels.

    “William Blount was a Continental Congressman and a signatory of the Constitution. In 1796, while serving as Senator for Tennessee, Blount hatched a scheme to aid the British in seizing Spanish-held territory in what is now Louisiana and Florida. The audacious plan called for frontiersmen and Cherokee Indians to rise up against the Spanish and drive them off the Gulf Coast. The region would then become a British colony, opening it to settlers and allowing Blount—who owned huge tracts of Western land—to make a killing on his investments.

    Unfortunately for Blount, his plot unraveled in 1797 after one of his conspiratorial letters found its way to President John Adams. That July, the Senate voted to expel him from its ranks.
    He remained popular in Tennessee and was later ELECTED to the state legislature and appointed speaker.”

    Idaho has plenty of similar characters. :-/

  7. Actually, 460 of 566 records (80%) deemed responsive to our Public Records Request were withheld as “privileged.” There were two requests 48 records were provided and 212 withheld in one request and 58 provided, 248 withheld in another.

    It is not correct to say “opponents of the bike park” requested the records. I filed the PRRs, and I am not opposed to a properly vetted bike park in the flood retention basin.

    I am concerned that a wealthy donor was allowed to trump the open, transparent, public involvement process promised by Boise’s open-space plans. The “world-class bike-skills park” was planned some two years ago by that donor and leaders of several bike groups.

    Those of us who have worked for decades to protect & paid more than $10 million in taxes to enhance Boise’s open-space reserves deserve a voice in how they are managed and developed.

  8. western guy
    Oct 24, 2018, 2:12 pm

    And where are the 6 Boise City Council members on this, and other shady issues? No one has spoken one word.

    I thought the new hires on the Council might not be like the ol-timers. Evidently the newbies have drunk the Kool Aid.

  9. Casmir: I don’t think they start out as sociopaths. I knew several of our city councilors, actually actively supported their election because of the principles they espoused and demonstrated in their previous work.

    I believe Lord Acton was correct and the ancient Greek playwrights explored the phenomenon in great depth: Power corrupts. If you’ve been in power long enough, you develop a kind of hubris and begin to think you know better.

    Democracy is messy. If I already know what’s best for my people, why waste precious time & energy with public involvement?

    The “world-class bike-skills park” is just one of the “gifts” present council “leadership” (mayor, council president & president pro tem) want to expedite for us. This one is “free” until the city has to maintain it.

    We may end up paying a lot more for some of the others—a desire named “streetcar,” a glass palace by the river, F35s at Gowen field,…

  10. Yossarian_22
    Oct 24, 2018, 3:04 pm

    Amen to Eamonn Harter and the rest!

    Boise City Govt has devolved into a pure rubberstamp for special pet projects and pay2play schemes. And yes, Bieter exploits the SJW angle for vote security from his NPC Districts of 19, 18 and 17 to stay in office (NPC = Non Playable Character = Can’t think critically).

    Maybe I would prefer a bike park too, but I want everything out in the open. If you gotta hide it, I don’t want any part of it. Transparency is this administration’s weakest value.

    Bieter just can’t wait to raise corruption to the California level.

  11. We can hope
    Oct 24, 2018, 7:25 pm

    We can only hope that Bistline’s complaint was correctly and strongly enough worded to shed light on this, but Dem’s usually don’t go too hard on other Dem’s.

    Also, Albertson Corporation is bleeding money. I guess that does not affect Joe’s grandson with regard to his political spending and dealing.

    Keeping the Albertson idea secret required a violation of the open meeting laws. Nobody asked any questions. Consider this: Albertson (et al) wants to see the mayor replaced . . .?

  12. Just Like ACHD
    Oct 24, 2018, 11:28 pm

    Sounds like the Mayor and Boise City Council got lessons from ACHD on how to conduct negotiations via email and memos outside of public view. REVELATION – they do this all the time.

    So what we learn from the ACHD Open Meeting Law violations is that you can go ahead and violate the law because no one cares and non one will prosecute you!!!!!!! Besides who in the world would ever question Mayor Beiter or any of the Council? Heaven Forbid!!

    Goes to show that the media only cares about open meeting law violations if they are done by Republicans not Democrats.

  13. Westerner – Regarding where the other City Councilors are on this? Aiding and abetting antidemocratic measures to cut the public out of a voice in the Bike Park. They are all Bieter’s puppets and fellow conspirators in violating the public trust.

    Just this week, the City Council again went to significant lengths to cut out even hearing a word spoken by the public on the matter. This Tuesday at a noon City Council meeting, two Bike park items were on the agenda. For context – we had learned that the day after the 10/16 Appeal hearing where Council denied the Bike Park Appeal, the City tore up the agreements they had signed with Albertson’s. The City claimed they needed new agreements because now Parks and Rec will build the Dog Park, and not a contractor – when really they are trying to fix past mistakes. On 10/18 Parks and Rec Commission unanimously voted for the new Agreements – but refused to take public comment.

    Then Tuesday 10/23 the agreements were in front of City Council. Council also refused to take public comment – even after Council had to move the Bike Park documents off the consent agenda due to a citizen request.

    Those present were Mclean (who supposedly has aspirations to be Mayor some day), Woodings, Clegg and Sanchez. Not a one stuck up for the public’s right to be heard on this matter.

  14. An analogy for our mayor and council:

    “In a tumor all cells act the same and have the same goal….Multiply and destroy”

  15. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 25, 2018, 2:20 pm

    If the Ada County D.A. blows this off, isn’t that A.G. Wasden’s cue to conduct an investigation? It seems to me that the chief duty of the Attorney General is to ensure that counties and cities adhere to state law.

    EDITOR NOTE–A.G. has no duty or jurisdiction over cities. There is a recent law that gives the office authority over county official’s misdeeds, but that is because the county prosecutor is also the legal counsel for the county officials. County prosecutor is chief law man in each county (sheriffs will argue the point, but prosecutors are the deciders).

  16. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 25, 2018, 3:15 pm

    If Team Dave and the city council don’t get their acts together and respect the people of Boise, I say it’s time for a petition drive for recall. I think even the threat of a recall would instill some discipline into Team Dave.

  17. The Ada County Prosecutor has handed off the Open Meeting Law violation investigation to the Meridian Police. If a county prosecutor feels there may be a conflict of interest at the local level, the case may be handed off to the Idaho Attorney General, as happened in the recent ACHD matter.

  18. EH-
    As a resident of the North End it’s pretty irritating to be referred to as Bieter’s “voter base”. We have an active and vocal community because we are determined to defend it. NE residents have long been civic activists in helping protect historical buildings and homes all across the city. Did you march to City Hall to defeat CVS when they slithered by PDS to tear down affordable housing and build a mega-drugstore? Stand up to preserve the Cabin? Attend, and comment at, city council meetings, community forums or PDS hearings?
    Thats what it takes, folks. Its not a D or an R. Lets get organized and stop this obscene violation of due process now playing out at Military Reserve. Start with the council members who were in attendance on 10/18 and 10/23. Write, call, visit.
    Not my neighborhood, but stopping this pervasive back room dealing is definitely my, and every resident’s business!

    EDITOR NOTE–Well said! Unfortunately, “Northender” refers to a cultural icon north of the river in Boise, just like “Bench Dwellers” brings to mind a much different stereotype. We would certainly favor turning down the volume and having more groups join forces to be heard and have influence at City Hall.

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