Thank you for the timely article by Carissa Wolf, "A Powerful Minority" (BW, News, August 9) concerning Ada County politics. The current three commissioners are doing a great disservice to the future of Ada County. For one reason or another, all three agree that high-density subdivisions are the best bet for the county's foothills and open space. I have yet to meet any registered voter who agrees. Voters did themselves no favor by voting in commissioners without first demanding to hear their stand on the major issues, including growth in housing.
The commissioners have forgotten who they represent, which is the reason why Judy Peavey-Derr lost the primary election. The sad thing is she remains in power until January. I can hardly wait to vote out Commissioners Tillman and Yzaguirre, as well.
After reading Ms. Wolf's article, Paul Woods seems to have the right platform to win a commissioner seat. If elected, his vote may not make any difference, as a majority of two carries the commission's vote. On the other hand, he may be able to convince another commissioner to vote against high-density housing in the county and foothills.
By the way, Idaho Code says the county commission is to be non-partisan; i.e., neither a commissioner nor a candidate should be labeled a Democrat, Republican or whatever. The Idaho Statesman makes that error, as well. Boise newspapers would do a great service to voters by keeping politics out of articles dealing with county commissioners.
Perhaps, as we near the November election, Ms. Wolf will write another commission story and concentrate on a candidate's platform. By doing so, she could educate the voting public and current politicians that the Commission is required to be non-partisan, and that voters need to vote on the issues, not for the party.
The Idaho State Tax Commission says this is how Governor Jim's tax deal works: Homeowners will get 40 percent of the tax break, California land speculators and corporations will get 60 percent. Meanwhile, Jim is increasing our sales tax 20 percent. Idaho families will pay 67 percent of this tax increase. Tourists will pay 7 percent, California land speculators will pay none, and corporations will pay 27 percent.
Gee, Jim. For 20 years, property taxes have been shifted from corporations to the homeowner. Now we Idaho families get 40 percent of a tax break and pay 67 percent of a tax increase. Meanwhile, the schools are $50 million underfunded, so a tax increase "for schools" is pretty well guaranteed in the next few years. How perfectly Republican of you.
Jim's tax plan is nothing but another tax shift. Once again, corporations, which use our roads and schools to make a profit, pay less. Idaho families pay more. But I don't want to hear any whining. Privatizing profits and socializing expenses is exactly what Republicans brag about doing. It's our place to just shut up and be glad we didn't elect Democrats.
I appreciate your coverage of the Ustick Road widening issue, but I'm not sure you recognize that the picture is bigger than a neighborhood squabble with ACHD. ACHD has basically said that their plans trump city plans--and that means comprehensive plans that Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star and Kuna have worked hard to put together are not worth the paper they are written on. If this holds up to legal challenge, it's time for the Legislature to step in and give the cities back some legal clout.
ACHD's mission is to move traffic efficiently. This is important, but it shouldn't come at the expense of existing neighborhoods. People are--or should be--more important than cars. I don't live on Ustick, and I don't have a business there, but I have looked at where the ACHD survey stakes are, and I sure wouldn't want to live with a five-lane highway 10 feet from my living room window. We live three blocks from Fairview and we have plenty of traffic noise even at that distance. ACHD, still planning on ramrodding this through, is negotiating with Ustick property owners to purchase only the land needed for their right-of-way expansion, and is not offering to buy homeowners out. If the homeowners can't tolerate the miserable quality of life coming their way, tough luck. They won't be able to sell their house and the remainder of their lot, because who in their right mind would buy it?
I don't think the Ustick expansion is justified in the first place, especially when I look at the traffic flow. It's intense for about an hour in the morning and again for about an hour in the evening. Is it worth destroying a neighborhood for two hours a day? If you Ustick commuters can go to work 15 minutes early or a half hour later, you'll find very little traffic. But we need to expand to handle traffic from future growth. Expand Fairview and State Street, which are already sacrificed to the almighty car.
One final thought. If you live on Warm Springs or any of the other "minor arterials" in Boise, you are as protected by Boise's comprehensive plan from road-widening just as much as Ustick residents are. According to ACHD, not at all.
Today, people are blaming the oil companies for high gas prices. Unfortunately, the people should be blaming the creator of this situation: the federal government.
Oil would normally take a secondary role to nuclear energy in our fuel cycle evolution. However, massive government interference in our free market system has stifled production of nuclear energy and oil. We are awash in oil, but Congress refuses to allow drilling in the huge tracts offshore and in Alaska. We also need more oil refineries. None have been built in the last 35 years because of government regulations. New nuclear power plants also have been stopped by regulations. Congress is prohibited from regulating our energy sources by our Constitution. But, Congress does it anyway because our voters are not paying attention to the unconstitutional laws being passed. This is an election year so Congress is more willing to listen if voters demand that these regulations be removed. Also, voters should know that if the oil industry gave up all profits, the price of gas would only drop about a dime per gallon.
--Christopher H. Fogleman