Dirty Laundry in Campaign's Final Stretch 

City Council, Rocky Canyon Hot Spring and Boise Bike Reccomendations

Less than a week remains before Boise's City Council election. By next Wednesday, the election will most likely--barring any Afghanistan-like or Florida-like shenanigans--be over. But there is still a place you can get your election questions answered, and it is called Electionland: Electionland.boiseweekly.com.

We launched this Q&A forum with candidates just a few weeks ago, but the candidates for Council Seat 6 have been particularly active, answering and even asking one another questions.

For example: Maryanne Jordan and David Webb agree that the economy is the most important issue facing Boise in the next five years. That's original.

Jordan writes: "Businesses have more choice than ever as to where they locate. We must keep Boise a healthy and vibrant city that will keep and grow local businesses, as well as attract those who can choose to locate almost anywhere."

And Webb adds: "The Boise City Council needs to re-group from several years of poor business development in my opinion. The next five years are SO important because of this recession. The direction the council decides to take now will ultimately affect Boise's economic vitality either positively or negatively. Tell your councilmen it is time to stop wasting your money and start investing in your future."

That sound bite is best followed by the second part of Jordan's answer: "Civil public discourse. More than ever, we have to have in-depth conversations as a community. The important issues we face cannot and should not be reduced to sound bites."

Candidate Lucas Baumbach also tried out Electionland, registering his opinion on the streetcar and on his favorite street in Boise: Roosevelt.

KBOI hosted a surprisingly civil debate Saturday with three hours of town hall-style questions to the candidates. But the race turned a bit uncivil in its dying moments as comments on a Boise Weekly story brought to light a child TJ Thomson chose to give up to the mother when he was 21.

Thomson submitted his response, which wound its way into other media outlets.

"About 12 years ago, I was in a serious relationship and we had a child. Abortion was never an option and child support was always paid. I commend the mother today for her decision to choose the gift of life, as I did then."

Thomson added that he has never tried to hide the incident.

"The mother and I mutually agreed that, as I understood that she was in the planning stages of a wedding, the best option would be to allow the child to be raised in a strong two-parent household," he wrote.

And Thomson opponent David Litster also submitted his own version of a bankruptcy that Boise Weekly reporter Andrew Crisp reported on last week.

To that story, we append this clarification: Dave Litster's $80,000 credit card debt was discharged in his bankruptcy filing, but the remainder of his personal debt was reaffirmed, meaning he continued to pay off his mortgage, car loan and other items.

If you think the City Council race, particularly Seat 4, is hot, you should meet some of the Southwest Idaho hot spring enthusiasts who are steamed at the Forest Service decision to remove a series of cascading pools that a yet unnamed man built at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs near Crouch.

The Forest Service and the Shoshone-Paiute Indian tribe assert that the rock and mortar pools were built illegally and need to go.

Hot springers on a Yahoo! Idaho outdoor listserv and a hot spring blogger are making calls to try to stop the imminent reclamation of the slope down to the Middle Fork of the Payette. Some are even calling Boise Weekly to ask for a reprieve, one woman even ranting about Indians and welfare to make her point.

Recall, dear soakers, that many hot springs are sacred to the Native American tribes of Southwest Idaho and also that the hot spring in question is on public land, and thus held in sacred trust to all Americans. As Sho-Pai cultural resources director Ted Howard told KTVB-7: "What we prefer is to leave it in its natural state. Nobody is saying (people) can't go and enjoy themselves at the hot spring. Just leave it natural. It's a spiritually significant site."

Finally, the City of Boise is out with a final draft of its bike safety recommendations after studying the issue all summer. The recommendations are largely the same as in the previous draft, which was presented to the public and available for public comment in August.

One important debate since the Bike Safety Task Force took its recommendation public is the retention of a "when possible" clause to the three-feet-to-pass ordinance. The summary of the report notes that this was a controversial addition, taking some teeth out of the proposed ordinance, but that it was necessary to make the law relevant on narrow city streets. Some cyclists maintained that if there is not three feet available on a particular street, motorists should wait to pass, said Michael Zuzel, a Task Force member representing the Mayor's Office.

The recommendations fall into several categories, including new city ordinances like three-feet-to-pass, an anti-harassment of cyclists law and a reckless cycling law. There are also education initiatives and recommendations to prioritize certain street engineering projects--widening and bike lanes--to be coordinated with ACHD.

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