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