City Government

Bieter’s Lack Of Understanding Should Serve As Signal To New Crop Of Boise Politicos

We have read two post election interviews with Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and it is obvious to the GUARDIAN that he lost the race because he lost touch with his constituents.

In a STATESMAN piece based on a letter to a supporter, Bieter was quoted complaining that it was terrible to allow “a small minority” to have the power to get initiatives on the ballot governing funding of a library and sports stadium. They did it with a petition drive garnering more than 5,000 signatures.

The mayor should note, voters overwhelmingly supported the initiative he tried to scuttle with 69% and 75% approvals. It takes only a handful of signatures for people like hizzoner to get on the ballot.

He spent public money attempting to manipulate public opinion in favor of basing the noisy F-35 at Gowen Field. Lauren McLean opposed the F-35 and beat him twice in less than a month with a 65% vote in her favor the second time.

In an IDAHO PRESS story, Bieter maintained that many voters are still supportive of him despite his losses at the polls. He pointed to rumors that he would fill the vacated seat of House Minority Leader Rep. Mat Erpelding — who resigned days after the runoff election — as further evidence of his strong standing in the community.

RUMORS? We hate to break the news, but “rumors” are hardly evidence of community support.

During his 16 years in office, Bieter spent thousands upon thousands of public dollars on surveys, public relations programs, and advertising in his attempts to garner support for the F-35, various street car schemes, the library project, and a downtown stadium.

Bieters economic development efforts and “community engagement” led to a huge influx of new residents, businesses, a housing boom, and all the demands those things create.

He appointed himself to the CCDC urban renewal board and has two years left there, despite being voted out of office.

Newly elected Lauren McLean will now be faced with myriad personnel decisions. Among them will be the fate of Airport Director Rebecca Hupp, the highest paid employee in all of Boise. She was an ardent supporter of the F-35 which McLean opposes.

Fire Chief Dennis Doan and his “chiefs PAC” paid Bieter thousands of dollars over the years along with members of the firefighters union. It will be interesting to see if his loyalties switch or if he leaves the post of second highest paid city official.

When it comes to the staff at the mayor’s office, McLean has an opportunity to offer citizens a healthy diet of citizen participation or just more pork.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Well said, Dave…

    Thanks for your part in keeping the people informed. We need more like you.

    Dan Marler

  2. Yeah, it’s amazing how much the City has spent on Bieter’s play things. I’ve thought for a while he’s been acting like a guy that buys the red sportscar during a mid-life crisis. Earlier this year, CCDC appropriated $600,000 for a Trolley study. HOW can a study possibly cost that much?

    While it’s CCDC funds, it’s still $$$ that could go to something useful. If Mclean’s not interested in the trolley – she could try to get CCDC to pull the plug on funds that may not yet have been spent on it. And tangentially, one thing that struck me when looking at maps of the trolley route is that it would cross the Boise River by the Capitol Blvd. Bridge. Right by where the Cabin is … I’ve wondered if the Safdie palace was designed to displace the Cabin on purpose- perhaps for a trolley stop. Speculation on my part.

  3. Nothing has changed
    Dec 29, 2019, 9:57 pm

    I disagree. 16 years of audacious discretionary spending is quite a success story. He will live as a fatcat hereafter. The methods of his success remain unabated. Many of the same players remain at city hall with a fresh pay raise. Those forced out have golden parachutes and will have new jobs for more money.

  4. Bieter does not get it now. And did not get it over the last 10 years. The City Council still does not get it and other politico’s are in the same “non-reality” space.

    More and more we see politicians who could care less about the voters and could care even less about being honest or truthful. And even worse they have those who support the fantasy they pursue. Our challenge is not over and we must stay vigilant.

  5. Romeo Sierra
    Dec 29, 2019, 10:45 pm

    The further into hizzoner’s term(s) it became more obvious he was telling us what Boise wanted rather than asking what we needed. The article you speak of was the tell he has shifted into a different plane of reality. I can’t seriously disagree with your personnel challenges I just hope we will get an early indication from our new mayor she heard the call of the plebeians.

  6. More than anything, I just find all this sad. I remember how excited I was when Bieter was elected for his first term, and how energized the whole community felt. I hate feeling that he lost that connection to the community, but he did. I support a new library, just not the Taj Mahal that was proposed. And I’m not opposed to a new ballpark, but if it’s such a great idea, let private money pay for it (the trolley, on the other hand, is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, for lots of reasons). Maybe Dave himself summarized the problem best this way: the resentment of the acquisition and use of power.

    I have no problem with the acquisition of power; that’s a natural part of our political process. In this case, however, I certainly did resent the way it was used. Hopefully McLean is different.

  7. Boisean Since Forever
    Dec 30, 2019, 1:02 pm

    Getting something on the ballot is a “shame?” It is called self-government and it became painfully obvious that the majority did not want the Taj MaLibrary, ball park, F35s, etc. If D.B. had more integrity, he would resign from his self-appointed CCDC position. Will Bieterville never die?

  8. Mark Richmond
    Dec 30, 2019, 1:27 pm

    I think a bigger issue is that we have a mayoral election in odd numbered years with no other elections being held. You change that to coincide with national elections and mid-term elections and it will be easier for regime change in Boise local government. The turn out for mayoral elections prior to the library/sports stadium election and turnout is absolutely pathetic….but add Mayor to the ballot during a national election and you will see change.

  9. Until we get to vote on city council persons by district there will be no change.

    We simply do not have a single city leader that will step up and even put it as a motion.

    We need an initiative to get districts!

  10. Chickenhawk
    Dec 31, 2019, 9:02 am

    Adding on to Jack’s comment, we will be lucky to see any change since the mayor-elect voted in lockstep with Bieter for eight years. Now we are supposed to believe that McLean will magically repair the damage because she abruptly changed her position on the day of the campaign filing deadline.

  11. Spot on commentary as usual for the Guardian. The emperor had no clothes!
    Thanks for your good work, Dave.

  12. Stand and Deliver
    Dec 31, 2019, 3:05 pm

    Regarding the fire chief, he may choose to retire, being pushed out by the new admin (look for a woman to be police or fire chief). However, Doan will be back, running for city council.

  13. I would like to thank Boise Airport Director Hupp for keeping the airport enjoyable for the public. However, I dislike that she signed her name below pro-F35 Op-Eds ordered by the City of Boise from “Strategy360”. Which obviously did not work out, at least so far.

    EDITOR NOTE–Wonder if her position changes with a new mayor.

  14. Why are you focused on the airport director? The fact that she is the highest paid city employee is simply a function of supply and demand. Hupp is a very capable director and the City will be fortunate to retain her. You have no bone to pick with her.

  15. TF Boy, The pro F-35 campaign made significant efforts to damage people opposed to it rather than simply present the facts as clearly as possible. I will never again trust the people and companies and media outlets involved.

  16. The Mayor can’t terminate the Fire Chief or the Airport Director without a majority of the City Council.

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