City Government

Political Payoffs Perpetuate

We couldn’t help but note the various financial ironies in the Monday news reports about local elections.

BSU RADIO reported that of 11 candidates running for city council in Twin Falls, seven raised no campaign funds and the highest fund recipient among the other four raised $900.

Meanwhile in Boise we noted several candidates were paid well over $20,000 and one reported payoffs of about $30,000.

Lauren McLean, the darling of the CONSERVATION VOTERS, has been favored by the national political group despite receiving a donation of $1,000 from her opponent, Dave Bieter, last year, according to BoiseDev.

Fire Chief Dennis Doan impressed us when he ordered his union firefighters to pull ads supporting Bieter which inappropriately included images of Boise fire equipment and uniforms (and the mayor himself).

Then we learned from BOISE DEV that Doan’s Fire Chief PAC has been using city offices to conduct business in support of Bieter.

This year’s city election has attracted more political payoffs than any we can remember. The GUARDIAN simply cannot sanitize the payoffs by characterizing them as “donations.” That sounds too much like a legitimate charity rather than the tawdry QUID PRO QUO that it is.

A former U.S. Attorney friend of the GUARDIAN contends, “There is no reason for the pro quo without the quid.” (a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something)

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 22, 2019, 9:19 am

    And in the Eagle elections, the Avimor folks are paying off Jason Pierce and Charlie Baun. Avimor wouldn’t want to get annexed into Eagle, would they?

  2. Maybe all donations should go into a blind trust. Candidates would be able to see the balance, but not where the money came from. Anyone could give all they want, but anonymously. I bet “donations” would dry up.

  3. Here’s another strange “payoff”:

    The Protect Our Library PAC — kicked off with a $1,000 transfer from Bieter’s mayoral campaign — was set up to discourage citizens from signing the petitions to require a vote before Boise City spends public money on a $25+million library/civic-center or a $5+million stadium/sports-complex.
    Joining hizzoner’s attempt to discredit the citizen initiative were former Democratic candidate for governor AJ Balukoff ($10,000), former Micron exec Marc Durcan ($5,000), city councilman Scot Ludwig, and CCDC chair Dana Zuckerman ($1,000).
    Most of the $18,000 was spent on propaganda, including several Facebook “pushes.” Most curious, however, is a $5,000 payment to the Idaho Democratic Party for “Wages, Salaries, Benefits, and Bonuses.”

  4. Quid pro quo:
    a Latin phrase used in English to mean an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is CONTINGENT upon the other:

    Something like, “I’ll release this money AFTER you do an investigation for me”.

    “paid” and “payoffs” to city candidates??? wow.

    Doesn’t seem like anything above is CONTINGENT upon 1 thing or another; ‘expected’, perhaps.

    I’ll make an important note here: the referenced BoiseDev story is for Boise Fire CHIEF Officers PAC, which is not the BFD PAC related to the ads (Boise Fire Local 14). The latter (not ladder) is contributed to by BFD employees through their payroll. IF it did not exist, the HR dept could reduce the BFD fire payroll by the contribution amounts and the fine city employees would have the same take-home. Ergo, should CITY POLICY prohibit payroll deductions to any PACs?

    Boise Fire Local 149 owns office property on Orchard Street which is exempt from property tax..(to the tune of $8,000+/year)(they pay a small amount for the parking lot though). Much like the city not paying taxes on land– effectively the PAC has the same benefit as using free admin at the BFD office- a drain on tax dollars. And someone is worried about occasional mail being delivered to a city office?

    BFD PAC is going to contribute to the mayor’s fund, regardless of who is sitting in the mayor’s office. Not contingent on anything.
    And I’m willing to bet the mail/phone service is a standard with every similar PAC. Perhaps the Postal Inspector should be monitoring such things for govt offices. Seems small compared to personal use of vehicles, storage, and other personnel violations of ALL govt agencies.

    But then, just like Mulvaney said, “We do that all the time.” “Get over it….Elections have consequences.”

    public service at it’s finest. 🙁

    business as usual, from the White House to City Hall.

  5. “Dennis Doan impressed us…”

    That was the whole point. He saw the union’s ad before it aired and told them to fix it. So how did this non-issue become a news story? Simple. He made it a story by having his staff write and circulate it. “Hey, look what I did”.

    All part of his campaign to remain in the public eye. Doan 2021.

  6. BFD Local 149 ALSO uses City Hall West for mail service.
    See Local 149’s current Ada County Assessment.

    Chief Doan probably gets his utility bills there too, for the city secretary to handle. Ha!

    NOTE: “Boise Fire Chiefs PAC” is not
    listed on the State’s Sec of State site- Probably should be? although it is listed as an official PAC.

    And Local 149 is on the Sec’s site as an association but not a registered PAC. Maybe it listed instead as “Boise Fire Fighters PAC” instead, which is a registered PAC, but not a legal entity.
    So are there 2 or 3 BFD related PACs?Correct names ought to matter in that game. And when they use the same city address, it’s tough to distinguish which one is doing what.

    The Idaho Fraternal Order of POLICE PAC
    ALSO uses City Hall West as their address– to Josh Jagosh.

    Looks a fresh memo needs to go out to some VERY experienced city employees.

    Throw in their burnout funds,the police PAL groups, and the Fire/Police trust fund for health care being administered in Washington state and before you know it, there is a lot of possibility for missteps.

    Bottom-line- these calendar models are lucky not to wrap a jet boat around a giant concrete pillar (oh wait…) and yet they are now expected to follow detailed administrative rules– like uniforms in a commercial or where their mail goes? smh

  7. Intentional Choice
    Oct 22, 2019, 7:07 pm

    Those BFD ads that Doan pulled were probably planned that way from the start. The ‘bad” (extra) media attention for having to pull those ads was worth more than what one would have to pay to place ads in the first place. “Look what I did” was probably the hidden agenda from the start – which earns a nice kickback from the Mayor?

  8. western guy
    Oct 22, 2019, 7:13 pm

    Boise Fire Dept union controls the FD itself, City Council and Mayor’s office in Boise (and many other cities).

    BFD also controls Whitney and North Ada County (formerly Cole-Collister) fire districts via ‘contracts’. There are BFD employees on the governing boards of other local fire districts (Star, Eagle, etc), and BFD union wants to take over the Eagle FD. Watch, it will happen…

    When will folks get the picture of this cabal?

  9. Eagle Writer
    Oct 23, 2019, 8:05 am

    Eamonn Harter: That is an untrue statement. Annexation is important to those of us who live in Eagle proper. It is a far better route to growth than the density plan the City Council has been following.

    If you had been at the candidate meet and greet last evening you would have heard full disclosures of interest and any potential conflict by the candidates with regard to Avimor and surrounding land.

  10. True violation
    Oct 23, 2019, 9:36 am

    True violations should be investigateable (sp?) by the Secretary of State, shouldn’t they? How can that process be set in motion?

  11. Eagle proper?
    Oct 23, 2019, 11:07 am

    Eagle Writer: The various county maps show Avimore as not being within the defined (annexed) city limits of the City of Eagle, nor is it within the legally adopted boundary of the Area of Impact (AOI) for the City of Eagle. But it is within the Eagle Fire District (EFD) boundaries. These are three entirely separate parameters, as the EFD is not part of the City of Eagle, they are their own governing entity.

    Decades ago, the former Ada County Commissioners believed the B.S. from the development industry that Avimore, as a Master Planned Community, would be its own little island of self-sufficiency. And now the real estate industry probably uses the phrase “Eagle proper” to make this area sound like it is the City of Eagle, when it is not. Or maybe the real estate reps don’t understand the different jurisdictional boundaries between a city, an AOI, and a fire district.

  12. The fact that some people are throwing candidates under the bus because they’ve gotten endorsements from developers/developments is crazy. Instead of assuming the worst, maybe you should think that those developers know that a change is in order and they want the BEST candidates to win so that something can actually get done for a change in EAGLE!

  13. Lone Eagle 1974
    Oct 23, 2019, 11:51 am

    Yes, Jason Pierce and Charlie Bond have accepted contributionsfrom Avimore. There is nothing wrong with taking their money. Both have a long record of opposing high density, large number of homes subdivisions. It does not necessarily follow that they will be doing Avimore’s bidding. They have both been long time vocal opponents of the current council’s willingness to give them free rein.

    They both support putting the Eagle Foothills under the control of the Eagle City Council because they have more faith in the city council’s protection of the type of neighborhoods the Eagle residents desire then they do Ada County’s government.

    I support Jason Pierce, Brad Pike, and Charlie Baun and their promise to protect Eagle from rampant development.

    While they may have accepted contributions this cycle and why they will probably take meetings with Developers to discuss their plans, I do not believe that they can be bought for $20,000. I also believe, that should they win, developers will be so unhappy with what they get from the new city council comma got their campaign contributions will be going back to the Democrats exclusively for years from now.

    The current city council has a demonstrated track record of closed-door meetings, last minute agenda items being slipped onto the schedule, and standing up to the developers only in the weeks immediately preceding the election. Yes they voted down a large development this month, but that was only because of the pressure in the room and The Nearness of the election. Had it been November 8th rather than October 8th, that plan would have sailed through.

    Eagle residence, it is time to vote for Jason Pierce, Brad Pike, and Charlie Baun and remove the current crop from office.

  14. Rick Gilmore
    Oct 23, 2019, 3:45 pm

    First off, understand what a contribution is. It’s not a payoff. Anybody that believes that 1000.00 or 500.00 is enough to buy an election needs to stop watching CNN and cartoons together. That is ludicrous.

    First, stop talking about Avimor like it’s some enormous resort development in paradise. And, stop acting like it’s going to be annexed tomorrow. Both are false assertions.

    And the term payoff is really bordering on Defamation, Libel, and Slander. No one took a payoff. Candidates, ALL, took donations.

    So if you’re going to be fair here Eamonn should I conclude that because Mayor Ridgeway accepted money from Republic Trash that there is a contract coming up for renewal and that they are seeking an automatic renewal from Mayor? Or shall I assume that Mr. Hadden who accepted 100.00 from an friend of his who owns a consulting firm downtown Boise will automatically be selected for consulting for the City of Eagle if he wins? Do you see how insane this is?

    Are you accusing EVERY citizen that donated to be paying off the City?
    Even you Mr. Harter could have ulterior motives right? I mean, what if you wanted to submit a permit for a large addition to your home? Are you saying that a donation from you could be construed as bribery of an official in hopes of receiving a quick approval?

    Do you see how this can spin out in lunacy?
    If you want to really speak to the issue then do some homework, get some documents from the City via FOIA requests, and start connecting the dots. Oh, and start coming to the weekly meetings with the Mayor and Council and hold them accountable.

    Jason Pierce, Brad Pike, and Charlie Baun for the team of people that will stop the uncontrolled over-development with high density housing, they’ll stop the Suez deal, they’ll help Eagle preserve our quality of life you’ve come to know and love. Eagle First as Jason says.

  15. Eagle Writer
    Oct 23, 2019, 5:22 pm

    Eagle proper: You are wrongly lecturing the wrong person about the wrong issue. My point has nothing to do with “real estate reps,” or county commissioners, or “decades ago” anything. And I know where I live – very near downtown Eagle. In the city proper.

  16. Mr. Rick. What do ya think if nobody could give or receive any kind of political donation whatsoever? I think we’d get an entirely different and better quality of politico.

    Hell yes politicos are more responsive to those who donate. Just look at the entire history of the world. Call it whatever the hell you want to call it to make yourself feel better but it is what it is, and absolutely everyone knows it.

    What this news blog is about is the politicos ignoring the needs of the many in favor of the desires of a few large donors. Even $1000 is a hell of a lot more than I give so that’s 1000 times more attention that donor will get. It’s wrong.

    I will also recommend not one single government job at any level should be a better compensated job than the average private sector job. Government sector choking the life out of the country. This will loosen the grip. Perhaps whatever health insurance policy all the Eagle government employees have should be extended to all families in Eagle. Why not, all those families are directly paying for it.

  17. Again, Easterner, you can’t help yourself. No matter the topic at hand, you must vent your vile bias. Perhaps your example could read: I’ll release the funds if my kid has his high dollar do nothing job. I won’t be dishonest and inaccurately use quotes.

  18. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 23, 2019, 11:36 pm

    OK Eagle Writer, what is your real name? Not Pierre Delecto I hope! And it sounds like I triggered Rick Gilmore up above. My only motivations are wide open spaces, fresh air, clean water and doing right by the citizens and not developers. The actions (or lack thereof) of the Eagle city council will have ramifications for decades to come. Like traffic and smog? Then vote for Pierce, Pike and Baun.

  19. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 23, 2019, 11:50 pm

    This was posted on Nextdoor:

    I have researched the contributors to the various campaigns for offices of mayor and city council of Eagle Idaho. Here is a summary of my findings and my opinion about those findings.

    First my opinion. There appears to be strong link between one mayoral candidate (Pierce) and two of the council seat candidates (Baun & Pike). Based on the amounts donated to each candidate and the same interests who donated to each I think that there is an effort to take over the Eagle city government. Each had three land developers (Mace 1 LLC, C15 LLC & James Clyde Homes) in their contributor records. Also, each had several other contributors of the same name giving the maximium $1000 to these candidates. Note that Mace 1 LLC, C15 LLC & Clyde Homes all have reported Eagle addresses. Please remember that TWO council seats and the MAYOR’s votes are a controlling majority in council decisions.

    In the mayor’s race there are three candidates. Hadden, Pierce and Ridgeway the incumbent. Hadden is nearly 100% self financed.

    Only Pierce and Ridgeway have a sufficient number of contributors in the filings. Pierce has 33 contributors reported with 19 having contributed the maximuim of $1000 and 14 from outside of Eagle. Ridgeway has reported 66 contributors with only one giving $1000 and 16 from outside of Eagle.

    There are 5 candidates for the 2 council seats: Bastian, Baun, Mitchell, Parrie, and Pike. Of these only Baun, Mitchell and Pike have significant contributors.

    Baun and Pike, as stated above, have significant support from property developers. Baun reported 13 contributors with 9 from outside of Eagle and 9 contributing $1000. Pike reported 7 contributors with 2 from outside of Eagle and 3 giving $1000. Interestingly Mace 1 LLC only gave $800 to this campaign. Mitchell reported 6 contributors, all from Eagle and none above $500.

    Given all of this information, my votes go to:
    For Mayor: Ridgeway
    For 2 Council Seats: Bastian & Mitchell

    From: Doug Davina
    Eagle Hills, Eagle

    Data source for above information:
    Go to Page 2 and year 2019.

  20. Eagle proper?
    Oct 24, 2019, 10:52 am

    Eagle Writer: Not lecturing anyone, just providing jurisdictional boundary facts. It has been my experience that people are not very aware of the difference between the municipalities boundaries in relation to the AOI and Fire District boundaries. With elections coming up, it is useful in a string of comments such as this, for others to have a chance to realize that Eagle Fire (District) is not the Eagle Fire Department.

  21. Eagle Writer
    Oct 24, 2019, 11:12 am

    Eamonn Harter: You asserted that “…the Avimor folks are paying off Jason Pierce and Charlie Baun.” If you have evidence of a payoff please notify the proper legal authorities.

    I like our (Eagle) mayor and our city councilors. What I do not like is the coming hundreds of high density apartments behind (generally) Albertsons, plans to destroy the historic look and nature of downtown, plans for a Green Eagle New Deal informed by a Left-leaning advocacy group, failure to protect our water, failure to work to protect the foothills, and actions leading to our long-serving law firm refusing to further represent Eagle.

    Thus I am voting for Jason Pierce for mayor and Brad Pike and Charlie Braun for council and to keep Eagle as Eagle.

  22. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 24, 2019, 3:45 pm

    What’s a Growthophobe like me to do? Vote for Avimor or more apartment buildings, I guess. Apartments seem like the lesser of the 2 evils when looking at the donors behind Pierce, Pike and Baun.

  23. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 24, 2019, 10:29 pm

    Eagle Writer, did you even read the article about political payoffs?

  24. Why shouldn’t the firemen support Hizzonor? They got a 7% raise this year.

  25. Our financial system is based on gambling (the stock market), and our political system is based on bribery!

  26. Eagle Writer
    Oct 25, 2019, 9:09 am

    Eamonn Harter: Let’s review how this works. If I ran for Congress (I will not) I would campaign on a strong 2nd Amendment. I would likely get contributions from people and organizations who agree with my position. Critics would shout that I was bought and paid for by gun rights advocates. But I was already a gun rights advocate.

    A payoff would occur if an anti-gun rights advocate gave me money and I then changed my position to theirs.

    Having worked in the campaign world for decades I fully remember the Ronald Reagan episode when his campaign received a sizeable donation from a gay rights groups. His staff thought he should refuse it and send it back, but Reagan said (paraphrase), “no, they are giving me money because they agree with my position, not because I will change my position to theirs.”

  27. This is starting to look like Brazil when the Marxists were in power. Thankfully, they are OUT of power and running for the hills.

    The $$ machine down there corrupted as many as they could and Brazilian taxpayers were robbed to support candidates that robbed them even more. DisMisInfo ops kept us up here totally in the dark as to what was going on.

    Thanks to Guardian and BoiseDev for shining lights on our own Marxist activities.

  28. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 25, 2019, 8:46 pm

    Eagle Writer, we are not talking about guns or gays here. We are talking about a land developer trying to buy a city government. Ada County is a no-go for expanding Avimor due to recent election results, so the next best thing is Eagle. Overturning the 2nd amendment would require a constitutional amendment ratified by 3/4 of the states, so that will not happen in our lifetimes. But the results of a city election with the mayor and 2 council members could annex Avimor. This is an apples to oranges comparison.

  29. Eagle Writer
    Oct 26, 2019, 11:02 am

    Eamonn Harter, this isn’t FB so I won’t continue the argument here. It is clear you do not understand my point, the example, or how campaign politics work. But you have asserted that candidates are being paid off – if you have evidence of crimes being committed please notify the authorities.

    EDITOR NOTE–The GUARDIAN is likely a contributing factor here. We use the “payoff term” because we feel “contribution” is a sanitized version of what amounts to “quid pro quo.” No one contributes to candidate with the understanding the candidate will NOT reflect the views of the donor or refuse the donor an audience etc. You can bet Frank VanderSloot gets his calls returned by Republican politicos.

  30. From what I understand much of the development in Eagle over the last 4 years (too rapid & so many multiple units in my opinion)
    during Mayor Ridgeway’s tenure occurred as a result of contracts put in place by PREVIOUS Mayors/Councils. With the 2008 financial down turn slowed, building projects halted. Many(leveraged)developers sold land WITH development agreements attached to the land. Please correct me, but I believe that has tied current Mayor Ridgeway’s hands with regard to implementation of those existing contracts.

    On the Avimore dilemma. This huge plot of land, across multiple jurisdictions will require that very smart people stand firm what will and will not work for our community as outside investors will take the path of least resistance. Very challenging reality! And we need representatives who will not back down.

    Years ago, out of state investors/developers took advantage of our grid roads, cheap land, acres of foothills. As long as profitable future for them,they will not go away & will continue to promote to Eagle residents that annexing & developing another 22,100 acres (beyond the current 900 approved by ADA county)is a wonderful idea for our sweet town.

    Is it possible that ADA county and Eagle could agree to
    get together & say FORGET It Avimore, your type of development is too big of an intrusion & too sprawling for our way of life.

  31. Eamonn Harter
    Nov 2, 2019, 10:23 pm

    Lisa Mayer: Yes, Mayor Ridgeway was elected originally to fix the problems caused by the Merrill and Reynolds governments. Nancy Merrill was very gung-ho in developing the foothills.

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