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Boise’s Devious Dirty Deed


No doubt about it. Boise politicos view the citizens as an adversary group when it comes to the library issue.

Last night the council passed a “special question” ordinance which is nothing more than an opinion poll to be placed on the November ballot regarding the proposed library and sports stadiums. The law has no teeth, is non-binding, and in our opinion serves as a way to confuse voters and justify an end run of the Idaho Constitution.

When local governments want to spend more than they can take in during a single year, the legal solution is to ask permission from taxpayers to approve a bond (mortgage) to pay for a project over an extended period up to 30 years. It is article VIII, sec. 3 of the Idaho Constitution.

Section 3. Limitations on county and municipal indebtedness. No county, city, board of education, or school district, or other subdivision of the state, shall incur any indebtedness, or liability, in any manner, or for any purpose, exceeding in that year, the income and revenue provided for it for such year, without the assent of two-thirds of the qualified electors thereof voting at an election to be held for that purpose…

Boise officials have tried to launder funds through the urban renewal agency to avoid the voters, but the legislature put a stop to that with house bill 217. Citizens gathered signatures seeking to have any high-end projects approved by voters. Mayor Dave Bieter’s campaign operative worked to derail the signature drive and failed.

Councilor Holli Woodings publicly noted citizens probably wouldn’t approve the funding of a bond, but continued to look for ways to get around the constitution, supporting the non-binding opinion vote.

While neither the Idaho Secretary of State nor the Ada County Clerk have not offered a definitive opinion, it is entirely possible Boise is without authority to place their question on the ballot.

It is frightening to think advocates for a proposition would have control of non-binding ballot language and then use the results (or not) to claim, “people voted for it. We don’t need to have another election.”

The citizen initiative will be on the ballot, but the question posed is essentially, “Should we vote to approve library projects in excess of $25 million?” It is NOT a vote to approve or deny a library project.

If the non-binding vote is placed on the ballot with a slanted question such as, “Do you favor improving and expanding the library?” the politicos will claim they have public support regardless of any other outcomes. Two questions about the same topic on the same ballot is nothing but devious.

The only clean and HONEST way is to follow the constitution and have a bond election with a simple question such as: “Shall the city go into debt in the amount of $85 million to be repaid over 20 years?”

Comments & Discussion

12 comments for “Boise’s Devious Dirty Deed”

  1. It is a shame really that the best for Boise always, and I mean always involves some form of sleaze.

    Does this man or even the members of all of the city / county/ state forms of government derive a perverted delight of some sort ignoring the citizens and acting like a spoiled brats when they don’t. No wonder we have such unchecked growth.

    Wonder what is in the City Hall water supply that makes these people into IDIOTS!

  2. How much longer can someone on a fixed income afford to live in Boise??? $100M Library, Boise raising property tax 3%, ACHD trying to reach back and get more taxes and Boise raising fees on almost everything. I’m sure I missed something.

  3. Oh and I forgot CWI is still trying to get more.

  4. DJ: It’s Ada County that’s proposing to claw back past taxes. I haven’t heard that the highway district has made such a proposal, altho they are facing similar fiscal challenges. ACHD is a separate government agency from the county with its own elected board of five commissioners.

  5. Weather it’s Ada county or ACHD they still want more money from us.

  6. It appears that Boise’s “leadership” team, led by hizzoner, are trying to carve a new path around gaining voter approval for its attempt to turn a needed, $40-million to $50-million library-expansion project into a $104-million “cultural” center.

    Faced with having to put before voters the question of lease-financing $32 million to $37 million for the library through Boise’s urban renewal agency at an additional cost of more than $15 million in interest and fees, the mayor now wants to pay $30 million to $50 million with “cash.”

    There’ll be “no new taxes” we are told—just past taxes reserved for other city needs, like siting a new branch library, building promised fire stations, adequately staffing the police and fire department, and maintaining the city’s vehicle fleet.

    Apparently, by taxing property at the maximum three-percent-plus-growth over the past several years, the mayor and council have been able to ferret away millions of dollars in “reserves” and “capital” accounts that can be shifted to pet projects at their whim.

    Now, faced with a citizen initiative asking voters if they’d like a simple majority vote to enable the city to proceed with a $25-million-or-more library, the city council has come up with a new ruse to confuse the issue:

    Once they figure out how to fit the $104-million Safdie WOW! palace into the now-$85-million budget, they’ll hold a hearing where citizens have three minutes to comment on the plan that’s taken more than a year to devise. And, maybe they’ll follow up in November with a non-binding advisory vote, which a couple of councilors have told us is “the best kind of public hearing.”

    The “leadership” team that created this mess by approving the Safdie design before knowing its cost—the mayor, council president, and council president pro-tem—will also be on that November ballot. When the review team vetted the Safdie proposal, they questioned “if we can afford it (and if we can control the design to meet budget)” and ranked it third of the six proposals submitted. The mayor and council leadership were WOWed by Safdie and awarded him the project even with the budget still “in the realm of $65 million.” Whether Safdie could “commit to designing a project we can afford” was questioned.

  7. SO now we learn that the Auditorium District (GBAD) has $16 MILLION!!!! sitting around that it can spend as it pleases????????? (story in the daily rag)

    Boise has $50 million it can spend on a library now the $16 million at GBAD it can spend on a sports stadium – – why don’t we REDUCE TAXES and quit spending?!?!?!

  8. Apples & oranges: GBAD (Greater Boise AUDITORIUM District gets its revenue from hotel room taxes, not city property taxes. The law establishing auditorium districts recognizes stadiums as a legit, tourist/hotel-occupancy-related investment.

    When the previous stadium proposal was on the table, the mayor and council were planning to throw $3 million of city general funds at it. That’s why the initiative for a vote on any stadium project costing $5 million or more was floated, and GBAD funds would be counted along with Boise City revenues.

  9. Boise City’s ELECTED PUBLIC SERVANTS will now be known as Devious DAVE & his MASTER BIETERS. Unfortunately all else remains the same!

  10. I agree that this is a dirty-deal all together, but where within these organized movements that we are seeing are the candidates to run for office to remove people like “Devious Dave & his Master Bieters?”

  11. Cabal politics 101. Always justify debts for the “public good” with BS campaigns.

    The goal is to target people that pay little or no taxes to vote for these candidates because their progressive and make the city “hip.” Meanwhile, taxpayers foot the bill of “progress” which is just a term for shiny baubles and trophies.

  12. The proposed library deal might be dirty because the leaders – whoever they are – didn’t have confidence that the public would pass a bond. Too bad they didn’t try a bond though, because that was the legal way. Now there is an advisory vote, and that’s not legal either. Groupthink. All their names would go on the defendant column. Using tax money in legal battles just promotes the position that is being questioned. I have seen the state do it many times. No the city. Vote them out. We now have a NE candidate. We need a SW and a bench. C’mon peeps.

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