December 6 - December 12 2006 


Counter to what we reported last week (BW, 8 Days Out Column, November 22), The Potter's Center classes are actually taught by master potter Kevin Flynn, and they run each Wednesday from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

BSU Gets Nasty

I'm assuming you must've started this article (BW, News, "BSU's Nasty November," November 22) prior to the time the attack was recanted. Everything was thoroughly accurate, I think--though it should be noted that Republican students now feel that "intolerance" is being projected at them and have used the same terms legitimate minorities use to describe supposed attacks on their ideology. This is the point made again and again by conservatives like Tammy Bruce and another guy who's name I can't remember, but who feels that campus administration are all lefties who silence any dissent.

Anyway, I would like a follow-up though, as to the Greenbelt incident in general. Nobody's so much as revealed the guy's name. I'm sure an examination of the specific incident and its fallout, and possibly the perpetrator's explanation, would make for a riveting news articles. I know I'd like to know. At any rate, thanks for the article.

--Sean H.,


Taxing Patience

It sounds exciting to say Idaho's sales tax increased by 20 percent (BW, Feature, "How Idaho's Sales Tax Saddles Low-Income Households," November 15). What does that really mean? It means an extra $5 for $100 spent; it means $20 extra if you buy $500 worth of groceries. Your article, which states that this tax increase hurts poor people, is nothing less than palaverous histrionics. Where do people on welfare think their government checks come from, if not from taxes? A flat tax hits everyone the same: Do the math. If Idaho's poor can afford $3-per-gallon gas, plus the time it takes to shop in Oregon's tax-free retail environment, where are the savings? Six percent on a $1,500 flat screen T.V. might be worth their time, I guess. After all, the working and non-working poor in the trailer park next to my house seem to have plenty of money for their beer, cigarettes and cable television. Think of the money they'd save giving up these staples of the American diet. I say, if anything, keep raising the sales tax to discourage people from our mindless consumption habits.

P.S. With two-thirds of Americans approaching obesity, let's raise the tax on food, not eliminate it. We might be poor but we're hardly hungry.

--Brandon Lever,

New Meadows

The Bell Tolls For CIEDRA

Congress meets in lame duck session this week. It is important to speak out against the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act. (CIEDRA) This fatally flawed bill would carte blanche give away 5,120 public land acres to municipalities and counties. These are not "Idaho Lands" for Idaho politicians to willy nilly dispose of. They are national public lands owned by the citizens of the nation.

There are huge negatives with CIEDRA. Giving away prime fisheries and elk habitat SNRA parcels adjacent to Stanley for luxury homes and other commercial development is abhorrent. It would reverse 34 years of exemplary land management progress that has protected irreplaceable Sawtooth foreground views. Since 1972, $65 million in taxpayer dollars have been prudently invested in SNRA scenic protections. CIEDRA would negate much of this hard-won success.

CIEDRA is a hodgepodge of unmanageable moving parts. Grazing buyouts have been taken out. Water rights would improperly be transferred to the state. Commercial outfitters would be granted exclusive levels of use. Locked-in-place motorized corridors would bisect three islands of wilderness. The bill is fiscally unsound, an unfunded mandate, and would severely dilute the visionary 1964 Wilderness Act.

CIEDRA would create many more land, fiscal and societal problems than it solves. As former SNRA head ranger Carl Pence aptly stated, "What the SNRA needs is bold leadership and Congressional support." What it does not need is to be sliced and diced and compromised to death with pork barrel nonsense. I ask that you phone Senator Craig immediately at (208) 334-1953 in Boise, or e-mail his key aide Mike Freese at, to urge the senator to say a resounding no to CIEDRA. Privatization of public lands and waters is unacceptable. Let's keep the SNRA intact. It's up to you to protect the bedrock integrity of your precious Public Lands. The time is now.

--Scott Phillips,

facilitator, retired Coalition of SNRA land managers opposing CIEDRA, Hailey

Airing Out

I have been listening to all of the concerns about our air quality here in the Treasure Valley. Then, I watch the traffic updates every morning and afternoon, and I see the long line of traffic coming from the Nampa area. If everyone sees that, then why is it such a big question on how to work on this pollution problem? Here in Boise, we have a smog check that we are required to have performed on our vehicles every year. I believe that is to prevent excess car pollutants--more than what is deemed necessary anyway. So, if that long line of traffic every morning is coming from Nampa, why aren't they required to perform the same smog checks? Aren't they using the same air?

 I'm not aware of any invisible wall between Boise and Nampa that would stop their pollution from entering our air. However, even if there were such a wall, don't they all still drive over here every day to work and to shop? I think we all see them on the roads every morning and afternoon, if there is any question there.

 --Cher Wada,


Get Wild and see the light

Most folks in this state are still a hearty and rugged bunch who know what the real treasures are here: clean rivers and healthy forests. They are our link to the past and what will continue to lure people here in the future. 

So why does it seem every year there is some new proposal that puts our environment in peril? Last year, it was coal-fired power plants, and this year it is a gold mine at the headwaters of the Boise River. If you stop to consider the simple truth that everyone benefits from preservation, not from cyanide-filled trucks, this should be a no-brainer. 

So should the idea of expanding the Greenbelt or preserving the foothills, which are not a hindrance to an expanding economy. Rather, they are simple measures to maintain a quality of life here in the valley still in step with the true spirit of Idaho. The better the quality of life, the more people want to move here, and in so doing, the very qualities that attracted them to here in the first place are diminished. Since we can't build a fence around the state, we are left with two choices as a populous: control growth or pack our bags for Alaska.

This brings me to the issue of roadless areas in Idaho, which may be in peril under the current administration. No other state has more roadless areas except Alaska. Some folks see this as a problem.All that untapped board feet just makes 'em drool with exploitive possibilities, I'm sure! Others, like me, see these untrammeled forests as a unique circumstance worthy of protection as a buffer and a bastion against a more crowded future.

I was fortunate enough to live and work in the Frank Church wilderness area for three years.  I saw firsthand the transformative power of our wild lands. People from all walks of life would be changed by a wilderness immersion (mostly in a high traffic river corridor). You could see the relaxation overtake their faces. I am convinced that nature is just as potent a form of medicine as laughter.

I saw Cecil Andrus on a few occasions. Dirk Kempthorne cancelled his trip. Never saw Butch Otter or Jim Risch, that's for sure! If I had, I would have given them this humble advice: Get out of your suits and SUVs (like in your campaign ads) and scramble up a mountain once in awhile. Then, you'll have a much clearer perspective of what is really at stake. In one direction, trophy homes; in the other, trophy bulls. I prefer the ones still bugling. 

--Ethan Kelley,


On Not Making a Difference

Dr. Linda DeRosier once stated, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."  Raised in a home without running water or electricity, she was country before country was cool. Did she get my attention? You bet. Public education, the great equalizer, prepared this citizen to one day work with the greatest of modern minds in psychology: Piaget. Yes, that guy that made us understand that developmentally, a 6-year-old thinks differently than a 16-year-old--duh!

In spring of 1987, I taught at Jefferson Junior High under the tutelage of a master teacher, Steve Shake. Steve taught me many things, as did Darrel Deide (superintendent of Caldwell School District). I guess this explains why he didn't support Proposition One.

So let's fast forward to the present: I am a public school teacher and a small business owner. I own my house. Am I concerned about property taxes? Absolutely. Does it bother me that out-of-town developers pimp the Boise foothills for a quick buck? Yes.

I have taught in Idaho for 20 years; just ask [KTVB sports anchor] David Augusto. He suffered through my first year of teaching, where I believe I made every mistake there was to make. Forgive me David; Hagerman High School had no mentoring program, so I was flying solo, so to speak. My principal advised me to yell at any classes that were being too loud, although yelling is not really my style.

I taught David and his sister, Anna, but they taught me as well. Their parents were immigrants from Portugal, spent a few years in Africa, and finally, after a military coup, found refuge on a dairy farm in Southern Idaho. So when Channel 7 reported that Proposition One would raise the sales tax 1 cent, my head started spinning again. Sure, Governor Risch pulled a fast one on us--and the mainstream media didn't get the facts right. So Channel 7, you let me down once again. Maybe I need to watch another channel, or better yet, get my news from NPR and Boise Weekly.

For sports to happen, we need engaged, supported, and motivated coaches and teachers. Every school in Idaho is struggling. We've got to have the Legislature find the solution to funding education in this state.

--Shannon Powers,


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