Monday, January 9, 2012

Citizens Critique Otter's Annual Address to Legislators

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 4:02 PM

In anticipation of today's State of the State message from Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, Citydesk has been listening to citizens, measuring their hopes, expectations and, yes, fears of what may come out of the 2012 Idaho Legislature.

Shortly after Otter finished his afternoon address, in which he proposed a small increase for K-12 public education spending, $60 million for rainy day funds, $41 million for one-time bonuses for state workers, and $45 million in tax relief, we began hearing from our citizen commentators, including a caregiver, a small-business owner, a river guide, a computer programmer and a former inmate who now is a manager of a Boise business.

Scott Deseelhorst, who owns Snake River Winery with his wife, Susan, initially told us he wanted to hear more specifics from the governor but he wasn't thrilled with the idea of government workers getting lump sums of cash.

"Everybody I talked to is tired of government employees. They're doing pretty well in these hard economic times," said Deseelhorst. "Why is he rewarding the public employees? I don't understand how they would ever be incentivized. What is he actually rewarding them for?"

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LIVE COVERAGE: State of the State Address 2012

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM

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Boise Weekly will be live blogging Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's State of the State address today at 1 p.m. Stay tuned for coverage of local reaction following the speech. Read the speech here.

BW reporters are at the Capitol Building filing mini reports via Twitter. The following are a selection of tweets, pics and videos.

Follow them on Twitter:
@andrewcrisp, @stephenfoster1, @thejoshgross

UPDATE: 4:35 p.m.
Idaho Falls Rep. Erik Simpson on the State of the State:


UPDATE: 4:11 p.m.
Rep. Brian Cronin tells Boise Weekly that the governor needs better strategies for job creation and economic development.


And from Rep. Brent Crane:


UPDATE: 4:06 p.m.
Dems slam governor for not addressing ethics concerns in his State of the State.


UPDATE: 4:40 p.m.
Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna reacts to Otter's State of the State.


Rep. John Rusche reacts to the State of the State.


UPDATE: 1:51 p.m.
Idaho Freedom Foundation director Wayne Hoffman tells Boise Weekly what he thought of the governor's State of the State address.


UPDATE: 1:02 p.m.
What does Occupy Boise want the Idaho Legislature to know? They tell Boise Weekly:


UPDATE: 12:41 p.m.
From @stephenfoster1: #occupyBoise making their presence known at the Capitol #stateofthestate #Idaho

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Citizens Voice Their Visions for 2012 Legislative Session

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 11:19 AM

In anticipation of today's State of the State address, Citydesk has been listening to engaged citizens who are offering their own hopes for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's vision and the 2012 edition of the Idaho Legislature.

Earl Mitchell, a 28-year-old computer programmer who recently moved back to Boise, is looking for a conservative fiscal environment balanced by a progressive social culture.

"Idaho's government could stand to be more socially liberal," said Mitchell. "But in the long term, it is much more economically important that the state machinery remain fiscally sound."

Lea Bowman, a social worker who provides hospice care, is looking for greater compassion from lawmakers.

"I find it astonishing that we think we can leave people stranded with challenges like severe mental illness, substance abuse issues, overwhelming disability, or just the ever-more-common story of being laid off, plus cut education and services for at-risk families," said Bowman. "And expect crime rates to stay low, maintenance of a healthy workforce, connected communities, strong families and a good environment for new business."

Scott Deseelhorst, who owns Snake River Winery with his wife Susan, is hoping for an economic climate that is more friendly to smaller businesses.

"It seems like it's not an easy environment to not only start a business but to sustain a business," said Deseelhorst. "[Otter] wants to help ag specifically as far as business, but what about the little guys?"

Jackie Nefzger, who has run Mackay Wilderness Trips with her partner since 1991, wants lawmakers to take greater care in supporting Idaho's natural resources.

"This state is dying and we need tourism," said Nefzger. "The Frank Church Wilderness brings millions [of dollars] to the state."

Warren Bussey, who currently manages a floral delivery service, also knows a thing or two about one of Idaho's largest cost centers: the Department of Correction. Bussey has spent time behind bars at an IDOC prison.

"Lack of education is why our prisons are so overcrowded," said Bussey. "Right now, we spend millions on extended sentences, when many of these people would benefit from counseling and other treatments that would prepare them for earlier release."

We'll be hearing from these citizens and others as we solicit their thoughts on today's State of the State address.

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Governor's Annual Speech Set for 1 p.m.

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter stands before the Idaho Legislature at 1 p.m. today, when he will lay out his own priorities and proposed budget. Shortly thereafter, the Idaho House and Senate will begin the task of embracing Otter's vision or setting out on their own before crafting a new spending plan for Fiscal Year 2013.

BW will be live-blogging throughout Otter's address today, plus we'll be tweeting reaction from each corner of the Statehouse as we once more venture Unda' the Rotunda.

Additionally, in this Wednesday's edition of BW, we'll ask you to consider three important but distinct numbers during the course of the 2012 legislative session.

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BW Interview with New CCDC Director Being Distributed to Board

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 9:16 AM

While many eyes may be focused on the Statehouse today, with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter giving his State of the State address and the 2012 Idaho Legislature convening, another meeting of significance will get under way across town at just about the same time.

The first meeting of the Capital City Development Corporation's Board of Commissioners will convene at noon, ushering in a new era for Boise's urban renewal agency. Today will mark the first board meeting for Anthony Lyons, the new CCDC director.

"It is always an interesting time, starting a new position, and this has been no exception," Lyons wrote in his opening remarks to be delivered later today. "The first month has been rewarding and filled with a lot of listening and learning."

We did a bit of our own listening, sitting down with Lyons for his first interview, which you can read in the current issue of BW.

In our conversation, Lyons spoke about how he never charts his own career, why you'll never see awards or degrees on his office wall, and how his desk is made of saw-horses, weather stripping and a huge piece of glass from a windshield repair shop.

Interestingly enough, we couldn't help but notice that our interview with Lyons is included in today's information packet to be distributed to the CCDC board.

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