Editor, could you possibly educate me (and others) a bit about Boise and its real estate swapping? In every other city in which I’ve ever lived, city government tended to focus on the day-to-day, mundane, “unsexy” aspects of municipal government — fixing the street lamps and the potholes, making sure the police department ran smoothly, running the water department, keeping the parks clean, and, yes, occasionally buying or selling a patch of land for a new school or a municipal hospital wing. Average, regular stuff.
The City of Boise seems to be deeply and obsessively involved in frenetic real estate horse-trading, to a degree rivaling the daily sales of a “ReMax” franchise. Large, complicated land swaps and deal-making to an extent I’ve never seen in other, similar-sized cities. When did Boise stop being a city government and jump headlong into the real estate game, which I thought was supposed to be the exclusive province of the private sector? A little history lesson, please, for any of us unused to living in a town that’s running a land office out its backdoor like the Oklahoma land grab. (And should we start donning gold “Century 21” blazers any time we do business at City Hall?)
Thanks, DAVID KLINGER
Mr. Klinger, You are spot on with your comments! It probably started out with 1970s Urban Renewal and evolved into elected officials telling each other they needed “a vision.” One group wanted a downtown mall and another did not. The big issue was women being forced to go to Salt Lake or Seattle for high end shopping.
The result was an impasse that left the vacant downtown core looking like a “war zone.” Dirk Kempthorne and Brent Coles were both younger mayors with an eye toward “running government like a business.” That created a period of executive car allowances, severance bonuses, phony business travel, credit card (P-card) abuse—all rather mundane and accepted in corporate life, but unacceptable with citizen’s money.
Bieter came in on an “ethics” platform, but he too has succumbed to the lure of having a vision and being able to build, grow, and “get things done.” Trouble is, he avoids bond elections and has spent $$$ on PR efforts and surveys to buttress his personal desires such as INCREASED DENSITY, GROWTH, A TROLLEY, F-35 JETS, KILLING ACHD, INDUSTRIAL PARK, ASSORTED ENERGY DREAMS. Citizens tend to get in his way, so he manipulates the media and stages highly managed workshop seminars and “surveys” aimed at supporting his plans.
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