Promoting Growth While Lamenting Lack Of Housing

Open letter to Airport Director Rebecca Hupp from David Klinger

On an otherwise quiet Wednesday evening in September 2019, I returned from a trip to Warsaw, Poland, to the Boise Airport.

I was one of only a handful of returning passengers at the baggage claim carousel around 6 p.m. that evening. Yet sparse airport attendance wasn’t enough to deter one Boise real estate promoter, who had set up an information kiosk on the airport’s lower level, staffed by alluring, model-like employees.

Their purpose? To invite arriving Boise passengers to invest in real estate and to move to this city … and to encourage departing visitors to return to Boise and to cash in on the money-making opportunities in local home-buying.

Two years later, the promotion of Boise continues unabated, as the enclosed photos of “local real estate information” banners in the Boise Airport, taken by me during a recent airport visit, will attest.

The purpose of this letter is to suggest that the time for City of Boise-sanctioned over-promotion of this community is over … and that it’s time for the banners and the advertising and the literature racks to come down.

Mayor McLean has declared that Boise is now in the midst of a “housing crisis”. Home prices are beyond the reach of average Boiseans. Affordable rentals are virtually non-existent. Last night, CBS News declared Boise to be the “least affordable housing market” in the United States.

After a decade’s worth of vigorous self-promotion on the national scene, Boise now finds itself saddled with a predictable housing supply gap, which will not be remedied over the short-term, and whose ultimate solution will forever change the character and complexion of this once-charming city.

I do not believe we should undercut our mayor and City Council’s efforts to grapple with this magnifying social problem in our community. Continuing to complicate efforts to restore balance to our local real estate market through contrived efforts to “goose” the in-migration of new residents is, simply, irresponsible.

Director Hupp, it’s past time for a bit of needed “housecleaning” inside the Boise Airport. The over-sized house-buying banners now need to be taken down and the Boise boosterism and Chamber of Commerce-styled over-marketing need to stop. We have a genuine housing crisis on our hands, partly of our own making. Our challenge now is not in how to lure more people to this community, but to take care of the ones who are already here.

I encourage the Boise Airport to examine its role in meeting this new challenge, and to support Mayor McLean’s efforts to restore some balance to a community that, increasingly, may find its airport becoming a “point-of-departure” for Boiseans who can no longer afford to live here.

Respectfully yours,
David Klinger

Klinger is a local activist who opposed the library expansion/construction and relocation of “The Cabin” literary facility.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Navillus.55
    Dec 7, 2021, 6:18 pm

    Thank you so much, David Klinger. I moved to Boise in 1970 with my family, and Boise was such a nice place to live! Unfortunately, those days are gone forever…

  2. Ah, Boise in 1985, what great memories. The downtown was dead, the air quality sucked, the Albertsons Market Place was half full of failing businesses. Extraction industries and ag dominated our economy.
    Face it, the last 30 years have been very good in Boise, generally. The area is changing quickly, and serious leaders are adapting. Yet, the above opinion offers no suggestions just nimbyism and shut it down. Less boosterism, yes, but offer more than crab cakes.

  3. I agree fully!

    The motives for such pro-expansion policies are not just financial but political. There is a formula at play that anticipates a long term Colorado style demographic expectation to turn Idaho purple via such invitation policies.

    They pretend to worry about homelessness and poverty yada yada…but in every respect you end up with disaster. Look at Seattle and Portland and California and Denver is headed there.

    Recently, liberal authors from the New York Times actually called out Big Blue city leaders for their abject failures that can only be attributed to progressive leaders.

    Watch on YouTube……
    “Liberal Hypocrisy is Fueling American Inequality. Here’s How. | NYT Opinion”

    Unfortunately, they call for MORE government intervention but it did expose the fake intentions of the city leaders.

  4. I too thank you David Klinger. It truly is lamentable the amount of energy and resources the City puts into these various marketing campaigns at the expense of listening and responding to the concerns of its citizens.

  5. Forced Hot Air, look at the voter demographics over the years. There has been substantial growth in Idaho’s population, the right wing has taken control and nutjobs have a stranglehold on Idaho’s politics.

    A link to nonsense is fine, but don’t claim that growth in population has been by design to boost the liberal “agenda.” That is pure crap.

  6. Not betting on the mayor who promotes growth to be able to address housing crisis in any other way besides making it worse. A.k.a. fox guarding the hen house.

  7. As a lifelong Boise resident, I concur with Mr. Klinger’s concerns. Population growth is the LEAST of our concerns right now. We have more people than can be accommodated comfortably, and more flowing in every week. And continued sprawl, or even “infill,” hardly seems like the solution to make our metropolis even better.

    I appreciate TFBoy’s comments – a brief source of levity.
    “Ah, Boise in 1985, what great memories… the air quality sucked…”
    (Implying that the doubling of population somehow improved air quality?)
    “… the right wing has taken control and nutjobs have a stranglehold on Idaho’s politics.”
    (Hardly the case in Boise, however. And, at least the nutjobs aren’t spending $3 for every $1 they collect.)

  8. “change the character and complexion of this once-charming city.”
    “This once-charming city”??

    Mr K, you are saying it is NOT charming today.
    Yet you still live here.

    please tell us when was Boise charming, according to your perspective? Like, WHEN? What year or time-period? And what were those characteristics?

  9. Likely prior to the arrival of some from the East, Easterner.

  10. Easterner: “please tell us when was Boise charming, according to your perspective? Like, WHEN? What year or time-period?”

    Can’t speak for Mr. K, but in my estimation it would definitely have to be pre-1976. That’s the year Manley Morrow – head chef at Manley’s Café – went up yonder. (The café stayed open ’til ’97, but it was never quite the same.) If you arrived later than that, you missed out on “charming” Boise.

  11. When more local business like M-K, Simplot, Albertson’s, Boise-Cascade, Idaho Power, Continental pulled the strings of Municipal government there was an interest in a viable local “charming” community vibe. When internationals like H-P became the largest employer, things changed.

  12. Jimmy D Bus
    Dec 10, 2021, 4:15 pm

    David Klinger, while I understand, and agree with, the main point I think you’re making (the hypocrisy of Boise City government) there is little the Airport (or Boise City for that matter) can do about who advertises at the Airport – or any publicly owned space for that matter. It’s a First Amendment issue. Government agencies cannot pick and chose, other than in some very limited circumstances, who advertises in publicly owned spaces nor can it “house clean” those current advertisers with a message some may disagree with or find hypocritical.

    When Valley Regional Transit (VRT), a public agency, was considering an advertising policy for their buses, there was extensive debate by the VRT Board over what types of advertising would be appropriate. In the end, the VRT Board basically decided it had to allow all types of advertising with some very limited exceptions and accepted the fact that those limited exceptions probably would be challenged in Court.

    As you are probably aware, Poland is seeing many challenges to its democracy. Our First Amendment is one of the keys we have to keeping our democracy vibrant and alive. Whether we like it or not, our Government does not have–because of the First Amendment–the power to limit, except in very, very limited circumstances, who advertises in public places nor the message they seek to promote.

  13. Great point, Jimmy. They could however, ban all advertising.

  14. Talking from both sides of their mouths
    Dec 11, 2021, 9:39 am

    I would say it is time to eliminate advertising from the airport entirely. It is tasteless. Decent art could replace the ads. The income from the ads is probably not keeping pace with the price of housing and taxes anyway.

    The city cannot promote the story both ways and have credibility.

  15. TFBoy…I’m sure that Denverites are telling themselves the same thing today….LOL! You can’t see what you want to ignore.

    I applaud any migration of people who seek to escape Gavin Newsom’s insane asylum on the Left Coast, but along with the “nutjobs” who you say controls everything here are Stage 1 progressive cancer carriers who packed up to escape their own ideology that metastasized into Stage 2 and now Stage 3 Leftism where mobs rule the streets and homelessness is a normal lifestyle with poo poo on the sidewalks. The Stage 1 crowd thinks that Idaho will be that happy little medium and vote Democratic, just like back home.

    Then if enough of them vote in bulk in Boise they can start experimenting with Stage 2 “solutions” and here we go again. Wash-Rinse-Repeat. Fortunately, one seat has been claimed on City Council to hopefully stem the cancer. But the base ideology remains….more socialist “solutions” for problems self created.

    I used to be one of those progressives and drank the KoolAid for many years, but it’s a trap. The corruption steals the show and the hammer of Government is too tempting to wield. Liberty is vanquished in the name of the Collective. Ayn Rand was right after all. It took me forever to see it, but I finally did.

  16. McLean IS worse than Bieter
    Dec 12, 2021, 12:59 pm

    What’s especially irritating is that the mayor/council wants to put taxpayers on the hook to create housing for homeless people. Anything government touches makes it way more expensive. That’s how we end up with a multimillion hardcore homeless apartment building that requires nothing of the residents. Want to stay dunk or drugged? No problem.

    Of course, they’ll raise property tax every stinking year which only adds to the us affordability.

  17. Ban all advertising at the airport, Erico49? Sounds like the airport in Stalingrad, or Beijing. But, okay, whatever to pacify the growthophobes.

  18. As much as I want to agree with Bikeboy on this one, 1985 around here wasn’t all the great. Downtown devoured itself in the goal of getting a big mall (which ended up being Boise Town Square), leaded gas and other air pollution sources were probably more prevalent (the east side of Nampa started smelling way better once Armour closed), and I’m sure there is other stuff I’m missing. However, I will agree we don’t really need to encourage others to come at this point–I really want to quote Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life when he is offered an after-dinner mint, but this might be considered a family forum 🙂

    Biggest problem as I see it, even worse than the advertising is land usage. We are strongly independent here in Idaho (which is something I like), but without a commitment to stronger zoning and development standards, it’s really no surprise what is happening. When you have a farmer who is tired of making a go at it who is cash-poor and land-rich, of course you’re going to have it sold for development when he wants out. Find a better way to solve that problem, and we might have a chance of getting ahead of the problem.

    Eagle Rd is the best example to me. Whoever allowed all that haphazard development along the sides, and then expected traffic to flow might have been spending too much time shopping on the other side of the Snake River over in Ontario!

  19. A Real Idahoan
    Dec 13, 2021, 7:03 pm

    Interesting how so many domestic refugees think Idaho is still such a great place. That it is the mythical Shangri la that the chamber of commerce, land rapers and real estate pimps claim it is. Where outlanders move and immediately think they are magically transformed into Idahoans. Or for that matter that they are now, or ever will be welcome here.
    For these simple lemmings that wonder when Idaho WAS a great place (NOT the current idafornia sewer) I direct them to a time when this valley was called the BOISE VALLEY or just the BOISE AREA. This so called treasure valley gambit was foisted by, you guessed it, a developer pimp in the 1960s and it took swarms of locust people that didn’t know any better to start calling it that.
    According to one of these useless TV motor mouths, Long Valley Idaho is actually THE Long Valley. But then, he probably thinks he is from THE kalifornia and moved to THE Middleton. . .

  20. There are currently more than 3 times as many houses for sale in Ada County than there were at this time last year. Where did all these houses come from? Did Harry Potter wave his magic wand to make them appear as if by magic? The truth is they are being held by so-called “investors” all along who soon enough will realize leverage can be thrilling on the way up, but be absolutely brutal on the way down. A median selling price of over 1/2 million dollars was never going to last in our quaint cow town in the middle of BFE, and will quickly return to at most 3X median local incomes, which by my calculations would be under $180K. OUCH! Hope nobody paid too much.

  21. To some of you
    Dec 23, 2021, 3:25 pm

    Funk Hobo69 – no 180k homes in Boise ever again. It is two income households who are buyers – or mover uppers. This place does have many environmental drawbacks, political drawbacks, and educational drawbacks. If you can afford to stay where you are stay. If you cannot, move to Alabama or Louisiana.

  22. At the risk of sounding redundant, we need to refer to those we call politicos, officials, etc as ELECTED PUBLIC SERVANTS?
    When decisions are made by ELECTED PUBLIC SERVANTS that aren’t for the good of their constituents we need to ask THEM why they aren’t working like the public servant that they are.
    We pay public servants to make decisions for growth. Advertising brings investors into the treasure valley housing market. Probably using 1031 monies, buying up properties that they rent.
    Our elected public servants are deciding, now, if it’s OK for a developer to build a 46 unit apartment, on 3/4 of an acre. Located on the corner of Vista Ave and Targhee st? It will take out 7 or so AFFORDABLE houses?
    The CCDC is like training wheels on a bike. Could have needed the BRA years ago? Is the CCDC needed NOW? Not with qualified public servants!

    There is a thin line between GROWTH and GREED!

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