GUARDIAN Takes A Victory Lap


Now that Gov. Brad Little has signed HB 217 into law, urban renewal abuse SHOULD be restrained. Projects that use urban renewal funds in Idaho would require a vote of the public if more than 51% of the total dollars come from public funds of any type – except federal dollars. The law will take effect on July 1, 2019.

I have spent hundreds of hours and considerable effort to restrain Boise City and other local governments from thumbing their noses at the will of the people for well more than a decade. The merits of ANY project has never been at issue. I only wanted to have the City seek permission from “we the people” for any extended debt.

First it was the proposed police building at 2900 Fairview which was stopped in 4th District Court. The current location saved about $10 million in taxpayer expense.

Then it was the illegal attempt at building a parking structure at the airport without citizen approval. The Idaho Supreme Court stopped that with a ruling in my favor. However, high pressure lobbying from the cities and expenditure of public money resulted in a constitutional amendment which exempts public hospitals and airports from seeking voter approval of debt.

The high priced library project and potential baseball park finally angered enough people that a strong opposition to Mayor Dave Bieter’s Team Dave was generated. Vanishing Boise, Boise Working Together, and strong feelings in the Idaho Legislature all came together to pull back on the urban renewal spending reins. Gov. Brad Little signed his stamp of approval on the bill Tuesday.

Boise City Councilor Scot Ludwig is openly in favor of the stadium proposal. He told the GUARDIAN, “I will need to review the final version that Gov. Little signed to see if that version impacts the stadium project financing. If it does, then the new law needs to be followed.” He was also open to debate the issue if the law did not impact the financing.

Despite reams and reams of news copy and quotes from the mayor’s office, Executive Director of GBAD, Pat Rice, told us there has never been any meetings by his agency on current proposals regarding the use of GBAD funds for a stadium.

My final legal battle came when the Greater Boise Auditorium District wanted to expand the convention center. They spent $750,000 in legal fees to prevent any public approval of their debt plans. The money was laundered through the CCDC which owns the building and rents it back to the GBAD. Citizen approval would have been an easy sale since the funding comes from hotel room taxes, not local sources. Under the new law, they would not be able to complete such a scheme…voter approval would be required.

That funding model was planned for the library project and barring a hurried reckless spending spree and blatant attempt to circumvent the voters, that financing plan will be dead. If the City tries to manipulate a bond sale prior to July 1, the intent will be clear and could mean political suicide for those who espouse a rush to judgement.

BOISE DEV has a detailed story about the bill.

Previous GUARDIAN.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Branden Durst
    Apr 9, 2019, 3:21 pm

    And if the city tries to push the bonds for the library through before July 1, I hope that the public is prepared to retire the mayor and any council member who is complicit. Elected officials should never fear a vote of the people. Never.

  2. Does anyone know the specific process for issuing bonds?

    Is there any required period of notice, or can they be issued – literally – overnight? Is there any specified time period when they can be on the market and bought – or not bought – by investors?

  3. Ron Haberman
    Apr 9, 2019, 4:17 pm

    Thanks Dave, we appreciate all your good work. I think all Taxpayers will be glad for this.

  4. Dave your diligence is appreciated, Thank you!

  5. Miss Scarlett
    Apr 9, 2019, 6:01 pm

    No doubt you are VERY much needed when the Statesman publishes these gems the very same day this legislation is signed.

    Articles of how CCDC has “saved our city.” And how we “need” another new renewal district on the Boise Bench.

    Interesting timing.

    That the video is produced by CCDC and published by the Idaho Statesman as an “article” is disturbing. A newspaper should objectively report facts, not unquestionably promote political agendas. Propoganda.

    The legislation is a great victory but there are still so many outstanding concerns and questions about the influence and concentration of power of CCDC over City Hall that need to be thoroughly investigated.

    Not to mention the very legitimacy of CCDC’s continued existence— if Boise is the fastest growing city in the country, why do we need public-private development “partnerships to “spur” economic development? Who really benefits?

    Thank you for your hard work Boise Guardian.

    And keep digging deeper.

  6. THANK YOU for this update, all the hard and seemingly never-ending work, and your dedication.

    Greed ruins everything. Every time.

  7. Injunction?
    Apr 9, 2019, 6:30 pm

    Yes, Good Job Editor!
    Good Job legislators!
    DB and his pack of money wasting libs are still in Idaho after all.

    That said I predict TeamDave hires a much better lawyer and ignores the law for several years. They will waste millions as it creeps through the courts. Expect a liberal judge to issue an injunction any day now.

  8. There are always unintended consequences of hurried legislation – this one too shall show problems later. Let’s keep updated on it.

    I predict URDs working on HUD projects (to get in the 51% federal funding) for subsidized housing, and BUS terminals for USDOT funding.
    You gotta spend the money on sumpthn. The flow of diverted money has not changed!

    Regardless, the 51% threshold will be an easy hurdle- example CCDC money used for 40% of a stadium. Everyone is okay with that, right?
    Apparently so, even the readership here is okay with it, since there is no objections to the bill.
    Forty % from CCDC and 60% from a nonprofit organization funded by Boise construction companies, rich architects in Chicago, and friends of baseball. Imagine McAlvain donating 6million to “Friends of a Library” and then getting a 10million contract.
    40% CCDC money and 60% from a baseball company?

    CCDS spend 10 million on wholly owned project without a citizens vote- we object.
    Spend 50 million on a 40% funded project? okay.
    great! let’s celebrate?

    The policy of wasteful URDs is still wrong and the bill doesn’t fix it.

    But once again, THIS bill is not about the two Boise projects or related projects- it is about some Idaho cronies being in control of the process.
    Add this to the same group of people trying to restrict the citizens initiative process and so we continue to see one result “WE WANT THE CONTROL”.
    “We” the Legislators, not We the People. Why not? They were elected.

    Instead the Idaho Legislature OVERRULES the vote of the people- term-limits, Medicaid, tabling bills, censorship, etc.
    It’s pretty much the same gang for the past 30 years and they’re in cahoots on their agenda.

    Their motto, “We’re for the vote of the people as long as their vote matches ours.”

  9. Heinrich Wiebe
    Apr 9, 2019, 9:49 pm

    Many thanks Editor for reporting this on going story for all these years. Boise isn’t struggling with blight and this doesn’t mean the dreams of CCDC/TeamDAVE are canceled. It only means there’s a greater chance that the public will get a chance to vote on huge projects. How wonderfully democratic!

  10. I must say I first met Brad Little at a private event at the arid club where he discussed the then proposed Obama Care proposal and health insurance exchanges. While most republicans were opposed at all costs, Brad took a middle of the road approach that the Obama proposal was bad but less worse than the alternative. Then when he allowed the donkey coffee vendor to sell coffee on his land when “progressive Boise” said no, I further entrenched my support for Brad. His latest actions further entrench my support.

    Never been one to get too involved in politics as I think both donkeys and elephants screw us equally just in different ways; but Brad Little has my support.

  11. Thanks Dave, again I make an annual donation to the Guardian as this is better than the daily rag and encourage others to so the same.

    I will match other contributions up to my contributing an additional $300 for those who respond this week.

    Dave, send me the bill.

  12. Eamonn Harter
    Apr 9, 2019, 11:14 pm

    We are taxed six ways from Sunday and maybe the legislature finally got the message from their constituents and tuned out the Chamber of Commerce which just wants to feed at the trough of public money. Any guesses on what the results would be from a possible vote on library or stadium funding? Sixty percent is a pretty high hurdle to clear. If Team Dave rushes through bond issues before 7/1, that would be political rocket fuel for a challenger in the fall.

  13. I think this is just a first step in needed reforms of tax increment financing programs. The second step would be a required annual financial disclosure for these agencies. The people should be able to see how their money is being spent. The third should be required separation of city government officials and the urban renewal agency, meaning that elected or appointed government officials should not be assigned to leadership positions of the urban renewal agency.

    I applaud all of those that spoke up and took action on this matter.

    It is sad that people like Dave Bieter and many of Boise City council’s members see this as an affront to them and the city’s success, when in fact this legislation is because of them and their abuses of tax increment financing. To show this one has to look no further than Boise’s new Gateway UR district, this is neither an area of blight nor an area in need of government monies for development. This area is merely the first step in Bieter’s plan to move to create a land exchange to move the Chevron fuel park away from the bench (see step two: new Bench Urban Renewal District). Much as was the case with the massive property taxpayer funding of the cleanup for the Esther Simplot park on the former Bob Rice auto dealership site, will be a much more massive cleanup of the Curtis fuel depot sites. I feel sorry for the residents of the Blue Valley park, as they are going to be fighting much more than a distribution center in their back yards very soon.

    One can only hope that the citizen movement in Boise does not stop here. We need to have a change in administration at city hall as the group that currently sits as city leadership has grown so overripe that their thought processes and planning are overpowered by their own stench of righteousness.

  14. Eagle Writer
    Apr 10, 2019, 7:34 am

    Thank you and congratulations Mr. Editor. While I very much believe in representative government, here meaning City Council, there just HAS to be a dollar amount where they must go to those they represent. HB 217 is a good attempt at that. Thanks again for your persistence.

  15. western guy
    Apr 10, 2019, 8:38 am

    What? Boise isn’t suffering from blight? Take a close look at neighborhoods… which Team Dave himself said were a priority during one of his past ‘Elect Me!’ campaigns.

    Even though most of Downtown’s blight is being eaten up by new hotels and apartments… look at bench areas. Look at the ratty neighborhoods just off Fairview from Orchard to Cole.

    ’nuff said.

  16. Score one for the state Legislature, and Governor Little! (And score at least two points to the Boise Guardian, for consistently advocating “government by the people and for the people.”)

    (Of course, the Legislature is quick to override the will of the people when it comes to such matters as Legislative term limits.)

    In my mind, this just clarifies the notion that public debt can’t be incurred without a public affirmation. (Even Overlords as benevolent as “Team Dave” don’t have the power to pat us on the head and spend away.)

    Easterner has a point… what will the Overlords do with the piles and piles of property tax money that they are collecting from us between now and the next economic downturn? (It will NOT occur to them to perhaps let us keep a little bit of that money.)

  17. Boiseansinceforever
    Apr 10, 2019, 10:23 am

    Thanks for your vigilance. If the mayor of Bieterville felt “targeted” maybe it is a signal that the people want more of a voice in city government than what he perceives as a blank check every election cycle. I can’t wait for the new library rallying cry: “We HAVE to go ahead. We already spent $10 million for the architect.”

  18. This forum is a huge benefit to our community. This is more true now than ever. I really, really do not want Boise to become Portland. I want to curb growth to a trickle. I am very afraid of Team Dave’s power to indoctrinate, assisted by the non-education system and MSM propaganda. Fake News is at its zenith, hailing from the pillars of the legacy giants. Lies and omissions are at peak strength. All we have are folks like Dave F that hold the line with bailing wire and gum.

    Take a bow, good sir.

  19. I wouldn’t be crowing about this yet Mr. Guardian …. as in many cases….”The devil is in the detail”. I would wait a while to do your victory lap.

  20. Thank you for your work and vigilance!

  21. Cafe Mule fan
    Apr 10, 2019, 2:30 pm

    JJ, Richard the Mule is definitely not a donkey, and the coffee is free. Trekking to where Cafe Mule is serving trailside is a wonderful social event where many new friends are made! Matt (the human behind Cafe Mule) has gone from a free coffee stand in the Foothills to a thriving local business, and he donates a portion of his sales to Ridge to Rivers. You should check him out sometime, either on the trail (see Cafe Mule on Facebook) or at one of the many locations his beans and brew are available: He’s a super nice guy with a great product! And most times Richard’s nice too – he is, after all, a mule 🙂

  22. Idaho’s Local Economic Development Act properly applied can be an important tool for improving truly blighted urban areas. City Hall’s response to these recent amendments does not bode well. With the recently proposed Bench additions, Boise is approaching 8 percent of its land area in “blighted” urban renewal districts, more than half of which is undeveloped desert land. If the mayor and his cronies continue to try to use CCDC to evade voter approval of large city building projects, they endanger the legitimate uses of this tool.

  23. Watch the Watchers
    Apr 11, 2019, 8:46 am

    It’s time for the citizens of Boise to use the legal process to uncover the opposition research accumulated by TeamDave. TeamDave used tax money to hire outside firms to identify and surveil those who dare oppose them. Let’s turn the tables and show the world their true colors.

    Would not be surprised if the program was used to blacklist and harass opponents.

    (This money for snooping was briefly in media. Then silence in typical local media fashion.)

  24. I think that is a reasonable idea
    Apr 11, 2019, 12:13 pm

    Yes. Let’s find out what the watchers are saying and doing.

  25. Thank you for fighting the liberal TeamDave and cronies with their grandiose schemes and plans to tax us to death. Hopefully someone decent will win the next election.

  26. The More Informed, The Better
    Apr 12, 2019, 1:26 pm

    An earlier comment by DB suggested, “The second step would be a required annual financial disclosure for these agencies. The people should be able to see how their money is being spent.”

    The CCDC is required to follow Idaho Code regarding financial disclosure and this information is available on their website. I hope more people wll take the time to locate and read these documents, which can be found at:

    2. Click “Menu” at top right corner
    3. Scroll down list on right side to “Resources, Reports, & Studies”

    You can view Annual Reports, Audits, Annual Budgets, 5 Year Capital Improvement Plan, specific URD plans, and more.

    In additon, the CCDC’s monthly meeting agendas and minutes are on the website where you can see specific project details, costs, and approvals/decisions.

    Any citizen can attend these monthly meetings, or you can listen to the meetings at any time, as they are audio recorded and attached to the meeting files on the website.

    Knowledge is power!

  27. Atta Boy, Dave!

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