citydesk has obtained a copy of Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter's Select Committee on Health Care report, referenced in his State of the State speech. The document forms the basis of this week's Unda' the Rotunda, which hits stands in the morning.
The Special Olympics just released an initial list of dignitaries attending the games:
Vivian Fernández de Torrijos, First Lady of Panama; Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Amina of Morocco; Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa); Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho); Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (Idaho); Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (California); Maria Shriver, First Lady of California; Vanessa Williams, Actress/Musician; Tom Arnold, Actor/Comedian; Johnny Knoxville, Actor/Comedian; Mariel Hemingway, Actress; Darius Rucker, Musician/Artist; Kenny G., Musician/Artist; Scott Glenn, Actor; Lt. Andy Baldwin, TV Personality (ABC “The Bachelor”); Scott Hamilton, Olympic Figure Skater; Bart Conner, Olympic Gymnast; Nadia Comaneci, Olympic Gymnast; Donna de Verona, Olympic Swimmer; Sam Perkins, Former NBA Star; Lucas Radebe, South African football player; Teófilo Cubillas, Peruvian football player, Billy Kidd, Olympic Skier; Casey FitzRandolph, Olympic Speedskater; Carly Patterson, Olympic Gymnast/Singer; Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Figure Skater...Any suggestions on who BW should interview during the games? First Lady of Panama? Teófilo? Or perhaps, Nadia Comaneci?
In his lead to the recent New York Times story on boise's smog problem, William Yardley refers to Caldwell, in relation to Boise, as, "this high-desert capital and its outermost exurb."
A Lesbian couple from Nampa is challenging the city's policy of denying family recreation center memberships to same-sex couples.
"It's pretty obvious they're discriminating,” Rachel Dovel said about the Nampa Recreation Center's refusal to sell a family pass to her partner and their son.
Dovel and her partner, Amber Howard, wanted to get a family membership pass to the Nampa Recreation Center for themselves and Howard's 4-year-old son, Logan Henderson. According to Dovel, the Rec Center staff at first told them that they could get a family pass if they had legal documentation proving they were domestic partners—documentation that Dovel and Howard have because Dovel carries Howard on her insurance plan.
But when Howard returned to the Rec Center with the papers, the Rec Center denied them a family pass because Dovel and Howard aren't married under Idaho law.
“We are a family even if we can't get married,” Dovel said. “The Rec Center is standing behind those laws as a cop-out.”
The family pass policy, which states that "the primary member and spouse must be legally married," didn't add up to Dovel. The Nampa Rec Center gives family passes to single parents. Moreover, Dovel and Howard checked with Howard's sister and brother-in-law, only to find out they hadn't been required to show their marriage license to get a family pass.
The Rec Center's policies have nothing to do with sexual orientation, Dale said, but he said the center gives out passes only to families as defined under Idaho law—laws written to exclude homosexual couples from getting married in Idaho, adopting children together, or being recognized as a married couple if they were married in another state or country.
Marriage rights aside, Nampa's policy discriminates against gay couples by charging them more for identical services: Individual passes for three at the Rec Center would cost $400 a year more than the family pass, Dovel said.
Fortunately, the Caldwell YMCA allowed them to buy a family pass, which is good at YMCAs across the Treasure Valley. Although the costs are slightly higher than the Rec Center's family membership prices and they would have a longer commute, Dovel is grateful that the YMCA recognizes her family.
Other gyms, including the Idaho Athletic Club and Anytime Fitness, have also told Dovel they offer family memberships to gay and lesbian couples.
Dovel and Howard could still have gotten a family pass for Howard and her son in a single-parent family arrangement, while Dovel bought an individual pass, Dale said.
The Rec Center's family pass prices are so low they have to draw the line defining family somewhere, Dale said. “We have to protect the integrity of our funding structure,” he said. Otherwise, he said, “Any two people who happen to be roommates and say, 'Hey, we're family, give us a discount'—we would suffer financially.”
The Rec Center is funded strictly by membership dues, not tax dollars, he said.
Dovel said she plans to fight the Rec Center's policies. She and the editor of PrideDepot.com and members of other LGBT groups plan to rally and protest in front of the Rec Center.
“We want to make this as big as possible because LGBT issues that are going on here aren't as out in in the open as in other places,” she said. “We don't want to get it changed just for us. We want to get it changed for everyone.”
A letter from the Dalai Lama's office that just came across the citydesk indicates that an invitation to attend the Special Olympics World Games opening ceremonies in Boise next month was withdrawn.
"This invitation was still open when the Dalai Lama unfortunately decided he could not attend. Although regrettable, we respect this decision and hope that this inspirational leader will be able to celebrate Special Olympics with us at a future event."
At last night’s Obama Inaugural throwdown at the Linen Building, TJ Thomson, local 2009 “Grassroots Organizer of the Year” and leader of the Idaho for Obama campaign announced his intent to run for the seat now held by Jim Tibbs on the Boise City Council.
Though Bush countdown clocks have only recently settled at zero and Obama supporters are still nursing their celebratory hangovers, citydesk wastes no time bringing the focus back to local politics. We chatted up Thomson this morning about his upcoming campaign and vision for local change.
“I spent the last two years speaking with people all across Boise while leading the Obama campaign and it gave me the opportunity to hear their thoughts on what needs to be corrected and improved,” explained Thomson. “Based on my experience, I felt like I could come up with the initiative to solve those problems.”
Thomson’s platform is dotted with pretty standard local bullet points: protecting the environment, promoting water and air quality, increasing open spaces, managing growth and urban sprawl and advocating a light rail system.
Some of his more specific platform points include: focusing on green energy development, increasing the number of dog parks, integrating modern technology into local decision making and promoting small local businesses and start-ups by reducing cumbersome bureaucratic requirements.
“In terms of the economy, I really think it’s important that we work closely with the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce,” said Thomson. “I want to bring a high profile to small businesses in particular.”
Thomson is getting a jump-start on the city council races; none of the council members, including his presumptive opponent, two time mayoral candidate Tibbs, have indicated at this early date if they intend to run again.
Thomson hopes that his closeness with Mayor Bieter and their similar political viewpoints will help the City Council to unify and accomplish more over the coming years.
“I’m a big fan of [Bieter] and it’s no secret that I’m a supporter of him. In that regard, it’s going to be a very close working relationship in terms of our similarities and the fact that I know him as a friend and I’ve worked with him in the past,” noted Thomson. “Those initiatives that I’ll be working on will compliment what he’s doing, but at the same time help take some things off his plate. So I think that we’ll be able to work in unison.”
We've been thinking about ways to make boiseweekly.com more useful and beautiful of late.
In Boise State Radio personality George Prentice's final recordings from D.C., listen to Latin star Marc Anthony, for a warm up, and then listen to Obama's intro to his dance with First Lady Michelle Obama.
citydesk and Boise State Radio correspondent George Prentice checks in from the ball scene in Washington, D.C., hours before he may get a chance to boogie with the prez and first lady.
Boise State Radio personality George Prentice, the voice of Morning Edition in town, is up early and feeding us more sound from Washington, D.C.