citydesk 

Protest politics and shooting ranges

Protest politics

This past week, citydesk reached Lauren Barclay, who traveled to both the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Barclay, a Boise native who lives in Eugene, Ore., went to both conventions to protest war and capitalism and, in her words, "pretty much everything."

Barclay joined thousands of protesters at this year's political conventions, though she admits she agrees more with Sen. Barack Obama than with Sen. John McCain. But she says she does not have a real choice in this election, calling Obama the lesser of two evils.

Barclay cites Obama's positions on growing the military and his reaction to protesters—that they just need to get to know him better—as negatives.

And she said that, as a woman, McCain's choice of Sarah Palin was annoying.

"I'm really frightened if McCain becomes president," she said.

Barclay was arrested in St. Paul, Minn., on the first day of the Republican convention with a group of protesters. She was held for almost three nights and released early in the morning on the final day of the convention. More than 800 other protesters, journalists and bystanders were rounded up throughout the week.

While she was behind bars for most of the GOP convention, Barclay is still glad she went. And she hopes the charges—presence at an unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor—will be dropped or lessened further so that she does not have to return to St. Paul to appear in court.

Barclay said the heavy police presence in both Denver and St. Paul needed to be challenged.

"I was glad to be there," Barclay said. "People need to be defending their rights."

Barclay works at a natural foods store, a vegan patisserie and is a bike messenger in Eugene. She hopes to attend an organic farming program in Spain in the near future.

Shooting ranges

The City of Boise will acquire a shooting range in the Foothills near Military Reserve Park in a three-way land trade.

The Mountain Cove range, which Boise police have rented for training for 30 years, is owned by the Boise Police Association, which has sought for several years to sell the property.

"City ownership gives us the ability to manage and improve the facility in a way that keeps top quality training available to Boise Police officers, and it keeps the site compatible with the surrounding areas," said Boise Chief of Police Michael Masterson in a news release.

According to the city, the range is appraised at $750,000. It will be acquired under a land exchange with Surgical Hospital, LLC in which the city gets the shooting range and an industrial property located at 950 Citation Court, valued at $415,000, in exchange for the city-owned former Vocational Technical building at 25th Street and Fairview Avenue, valued at $975,000.

war in Iraq

And on this week, Gen. David Petraeus turned over command of U.S. troops in Iraq to Gen. Ray Odierno, whose son lost an arm in Iraq and is among the casualties below:

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, 4,158 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,377 in combat and 781 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 30,634. In the last week, no U.S. soldiers died.

Since President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, 4,008 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 87,534 and 95,533.

Source: iraqbodycount.net

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $554,560,994,564

Source: costofwar.com

—Nathaniel Hoffman, all week long at citydesk.boiseweekly.com

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