Thursday, April 30, 2009

Boiseans to get new trash, recycling bins

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM

The city launched a PR campaign today to let residents know about the new, standardized trash and recycling bins that will be delivered to an alley near you sometime in late June, July or August. Yes, the Allied Waste garbage trucks are getting robotic arms, as you can see in the video below (video provided by city Public Works Department).

For more information or to order a smaller can visit the Curb It site.

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Biden 101

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Lateblogging again, on the 101st day of the Obama administration. citydesk participated in a call for regional reporters with Vice President Joe Biden yesterday. We never got a chance to ask our question, but here are two clips from the phone presser that we found interesting.

A reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune asked why is still so lame despite promises of unheard of transparency with stimulus funds. The site, which promises to track stimulus dollars down to the village level, is still a collection of press releases and fancy graphics.

Biden, who we understand is personally very interested in this site, had an answer to which we can relate: he blamed the Web guys. (Sorry about the mono.)

The final question for the Veep had to do with healthcare reform. Biden talked about not supporting single payer during the campaign, but said negotiations are in the works on a healthcare reform plan.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Uncle Butch caught buying out-of-state Joe

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 11:52 AM

The chatter this morning at the Capitol Annex is not so much about Gov. Otter's relative position on transportation funding. No, it's more about where the Guv gets his morning coffee.

Early last Thursday morning, about 6:30 AM, Dave Ledgard, owner of Dawson Taylor Coffee Roasters was at his keystone shop on the corner of Eighth and Bannock Streets. According to an interview with Boise State Radio's George Prentice, he saw Otter emerge from the competing coffee shop across the street, Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

There has been scuttlebutt over where Otter takes his coffee for more than a year. Last March Boise Weekly reported that Otter had switched  coffee shops, a charge that his spokesman denied, at the time:
"Of course, coffee shop affiliations can be a touchy topic. While numerous sources reported that Otter was once a frequent visitor [at Dawson], Hanian was quick to deny that the governor was doing any caffeinated flip-flopping."
Ledgard's customers--Dawson has a distinctive group of regulars--had urged him for some time to confront the governor over his choice of Spokane-based Hammer, which has nine shops in Washington and Idaho. And last week he did, approaching the governor as he left the shop.

The Boise Picayune blog told the story on Saturday, including allegations that Hammer is not a properly registered Idaho business and that a security camera appeared trained on Dawson after the Dave v. Butch showdown.

"I just wanted to engage him in the merits of buying Idaho," Ledgard told Boise State Radio's Prentice. "He is the face of Buy Idaho."

Boise State Radio talks to Dawson Taylor owner Dave Ledgard.

Buy Idaho is the state's marketing arm, pumping everything from potatoes to coffee, and Otter is, literally, its face.

Otter's message on the Buy Idaho site:
The “Buy Idaho” message is simple but profound: Doing business with the family helps us all. That was the idea 20 years ago when I helped found Buy Idaho, and it’s still the idea today.

But the Otter-Ledgard exchange grew heated, curses flew and the two executives came to no resolution.

"It ended with him telling his head staff member that his staff is only to go into the out-of-town shop from here on out and that kind of lit me up a little bit more," Ledgard said. "Unfortunately, I backed him into a corner, what could he say? He was caught red handed, I was a card-carrying Buy Idaho team member so to speak."

According to an AP report, Otter spokesman Jon Hanian asked why the governor ought to shop at a place where the owner cusses him out. And Thomas Hammer, owner of Thomas Hammer, suggested that he may benefit from the "brew-ha-ha."

"This is huge. We might have to become the official coffee of the state of Idaho," Hammer said.

This morning, Ledgard was lauded by his regulars as he arrived at the coffee shop, the hero of locally roasted, uh, Salvadoran and Ethiopian beans.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Democracy Now!, in Boise

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Amy Goodman, who was in Boise last night delivering a speech at the Linen Building to benefit Boise Community Radio, stuck around to film a fascinating show this morning in the studios of Treasure Valley Community Television.

Goodman produces Democracy Now!, an aggressively reported radio and television news show that delves into issues often ignored in the mainstream media. For her show in Boise, Goodman had a timely conversation with Bethine Church, widow of the late Idaho Sen. Frank Church, about the Church Committee, which investigated overreaching by the CIA and FBI in the mid-1970s.

Goodman also spoke with Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center about the rise of right wing extremism in the United States and a recent Homeland Security report that warned of a spike in racist incidents in recent months. She also spoke with a Boise survivor of the 1937 bombing of Guernica, in the Basque Country, on the 72nd anniversary of the strafing.

Watch the entire show here, at citydesk.

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BW to blame for roadway failure?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Capitol Confidential blogger and Times-News Reporter Jared Hopkins recounted our recent exchange with Rep. Scott Bedke, who is apparently still  miffed about a recent Unda' the Rotunda in which we spit roasted his economic theories. (Why hasn't anyone added that article yet as a source on Wikipedia?)

Bedke, responding to our perfectly reasonable question, laid blame for potential future road and bridge failures squarely at the feet of Boise Weekly. But Bedke has no idea how much effort we put into the viability of the sidewalks outside our office, the time spent shoveling, beautifying and sweeping our little corner of downtown Boise. And driving our big truck, pictured above, very gently on the road surface. writer Jill Kuraitis, who once penned her fair share of Unda' the Rotundas, suggests that "Boise Weekly" may be a House Republican Caucus code word for "this meeting is over."
"Was the mere mention of the Boise Weekly…alarming? A sign of the apocalypse? A prearranged signal to disperse?"
For our part, we think Bedke is right. If society, including those of us who work at Boise Weekly, are not asked to pony up for our roads, than we all share some of the blame when the break-up hits. Asphalt break up, that is.

The same day of the Bedke-Moyle-Denney-Roberts press conference, we ran into Darrell Manning, chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board, on his way into the First Lady's Office.

"You've never seen a breakup," the retired adjutant general who grew up in Preston told citydesk.

We didn't even know what he meant, but Manning said that when the highways used to fail and turn to rubble, the state would put up signs reading "Highway Breakup, 35."

"If you went 35, you might lose your oil pan," Manning said.

By the way, Rep. Bedke, citydesk is looking for a horse.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Statesman's Popkey in Gay Republican flick

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 5:29 PM

No, no, not THAT kind of gay Republican flick. This one is a documentary from Kirby Dick that opens Friday at the Tribeca Film Fest in New York.

It's called Outrage and it features interviews with Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey, who spent months--perhaps years--investigating allegations that former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was gay, prior to Craig's arrest in the Minneapolis airport men's room in 2007.

The LA Times writes that Dick takes aim squarely at hypocritical votes by closeted gay Republicans.
Dick's world view is best expressed in the film by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), one of the few gay congressmen who has voluntarily come out of the closet, who says: "There is a right to privacy, there's no right to hypocrisy."
But he also takes aim at the media for not picking up on the hypocrisy angle. And his aim is long and, well, wide. According to one blogger who saw the film:
It's a well-packaged effort covering the Reagan years and the birth of the religious right to the present, wrapping up the stories of Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock, former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, Mark Foley, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign manager Ed Mehlman, former GOP National Field Director Dan Gurley, former Arizona congressman Jim Kolbe, former Louisiana congressman Jim McCrery, and current congressman David Dreier, into a tightly wound exposé of closeted D.C.
IndieWIRE also has a review. The film opens in four more cities on May 8. No word on when it's coming to Boise.

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Obama, Elmore, on nuclear power

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Yesterday, President Barack Obama made a major speech on America's energy future from the floor of a former Maytag plant in Iowa that is now a windmill factory.

In the speech, Obama made only two, brief, mentions of nuclear power. He dropped the name of Enrico Fermi, the man who helped build the first nuclear reactor, and he said this:
"We also need to find safer ways to use nuclear power and store nuclear waste."
The rest of the speech focused on harnessing wind at sea, ramping up domestic oil exploration and creating millions of "clean energy" jobs, not least of which will be in energy efficiency retrofits.
"The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy – it’s a choice between prosperity and decline. We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy. We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs working to prevent its worst effects."
That evening--Earth Day, it was--in Mountain Home, some 200 people gathered to state their minds on a nuclear power plant proposed for their commmunity. The so-called Idaho Energy Complex would be located in rural Elmore County, some 60 miles from Boise. Though the three county commissioners are just now considering whether the land where the plant is proposed should convert to an industrial use or remain farm ground, it was clear to everyone in the room that lines were being drawn around the sensibility of pursuing nuclear power.

You can read more about the hearing now at

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

citydesk gets a Brazilian

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Dispatch from Brazil:

Uwe Reischl, the lucky Boise State prof whom we wrote about in March, has helped a Brazilian engineering team take the Design Award at the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas.

Reischl has been teaching and doing research at the Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais (UEMG) in Brazil this year and advised Team SABIA on the design of its ultra-fuel-efficient car. 

The car, SABIA-6, pictured above, achieved 237.1 miles to the gallon during the competition. While not the victor in fuel efficiency, the Brazilians took the design award for achievements in ergonomics, aesthetics, choice of materials and technical feasibility.

The distance winner, the Alerion Supermileage team from Laval University in Quebec, Canada went an amazing 2,757.1 mpg in its concept car.

While we are not sure about using the word "eco" and Shell in the same sentence, the cars are pretty cool. Now why doesn't the oil giant mass produce them and send them to Boise.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Wednesday farmers market denied

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 3:50 PM

The Boise Department of Parks and Rec won't allow a group of small farmers to use Capitol Park as a venue for a Wednesday night farmers market, according to a memo presented to the Parks and Rec Commission yesterday.

BW covered the Wednesday market story a few weeks ago. A small group of local growers sought permission to sell produce on Wednesday evenings at the park on Bannock Street in front of the Statehouse.

Now they are asking Mayor Dave Bieter to overturn the denial.

According to the memo,  Parks and Rec director Jim Hall felt the proposal did not match existing policies for Boise parks, and sent the market coordinator, Lindsay-Rose Medoff, a letter explaining why.

Among the reasons for denial: for-profit vendors are generally not allowed in any park, vendors can be approved for events, but not as the event itself, concerns with turf conditions and parking. 

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Politicos weigh in on tea bagging

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 3:17 PM

While Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch sent boastful letters to Idaho Tea Partiers this week, and Rep. Mike Simpson sent good tidings as well, Idaho Democrats had a a message for the throngs as well.

The Idaho Democratic Party released the following statement on the “tea parties,” laying blame for deficits and corporate malfeasance on the Bush Administration and praising Rep. Walt Minnick's leadership:
"Idahoans agree that we must take aggressive action to get our country out of the current recession. Americans are frustrated that eight years of irresponsible policies pursued by the Bush administration have left the economy in a shambles with record deficits, record unemployment and record home foreclosures...

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