Mail October 22-October 28, 2008 

Idaho on Nov. 4

If the presidential election were tomorrow, Barack Obama wins. If the race doesn't change dramatically this month, Obama still takes the White House. And if current trends continue until Nov. 4, Obama glides into office. Campaign dynamics may still change, but let's be certain that Idaho wins on election day. If Barack Obama becomes America's next president, what does this mean for the Gem State? To answer, one must delve further into party dynamics. Currently, Democrats hold majorities in both [national] legislative bodies, majorities that are predicted to increase on Election Day. In Idaho's First Congressional District, controversial incumbent freshman Bill Sali is up against challenger Walt Minnick. Sali, a low seniority ultra-conservative fringe player, would continue to be of little help to Idaho in a Democrat-controlled Congress. In Idaho's Senate race, Larry Craig's vacated seat will go to Democrat Larry LaRocco or Republican Jim Risch. Like Sali, though, Risch's far-right freshman position in a minority party would be similarly unfortunate for Idahoans.

Let's keep an eye on these races. If Obama wins and Democrats strengthen their control in Congress, Idaho would do best with Walt Minnick and Larry LaRocco, two immensely qualified candidates.

—Jeremy Fryberger, Ketchum

Others' Lessons

Why is it that American politicians seem to refuse to learn from the successes or failures of others? On the subject of education, one side says it requires more money and the other side says all it takes is more accountability.

We all seem to recognize that education systems in some other countries (many countries) are superior to ours so why don't we re-model ours after them? Personally, I think it has more to do with lack of curricular substance. Our children spend too much time studying about dinosaurs and Sacajawea.

On the subject of healthcare, one side says make it available free for everyone and the other side says let the "gummint" give everybody money to "buy more insurance." Why do we think "insurance" somehow provides for our medical needs?

Why don't we just identify a country that has good healthcare, examine the costs and methods of payment and re-model (or model) ours after it?

There shouldn't be any shame in recognizing and adopting good ideas from other countries.

—Jim Spicka, Boise

Bye Bye, bus

I have been riding Bus No. 42 off and on for the last two years. It has been a great way to reduce my own carbon footprint and also save money on gas. With the difficult economic times we find ourselves in, having mass transit options is extremely important.

I catch Bus No. 42 at Overland and Five Mile. In fact, on the 24-passenger bus, one-third to one-half are individuals who use this bus stop. Some who utilize this stop don't have other means of transportation.

However, due to a grievance by the union, this stop is now being eliminated. A request was made to move the bus stop to the west side of Five Mile, far enough away from Five Mile to meet the grievance requirements, but close enough to Five Mile/Overland, so riders would have a place to park, but this was summarily dismissed. In a flier to riders, Valley Regional Transit indicated "these changes will have an adverse effect on some riders; however, it is the best option we can put in place at this time." They have had months to work on this. This is a totally unacceptable resolution. And I find it amazing that VRT can get away with treating their "customers" this way. Any other for-profit business who treated their customers in this fashion would soon be out of business. Additionally, the flier insults the intelligence of the passengers by reflecting a completely off-scale drawing of the new bus stop on Cloverdale/Overland which makes it appear to be half way between Eagle Road and Maple Grove. I'm sure VRT management can spin a story for you as to why it was necessary to eliminate this stop, but the bottom line is that riders will suffer because the parties involved couldn't "play nice." I'm so disappointed the powers that be couldn't come up with a better resolution for those of us who are trying to do what is right.

—Bonnie Raper, Boise

No Bikes Allowed

Mayor John Evans: "It validated our position that we have the regulatory authority over the parks and greenbelts in town." (BW, News, "State of the Greenbelt," Oct. 15, 2008.) So, riddle me this. Suppose that the new Waterfront District development in Garden City goes to the Council meeting and complains, "Waaaa! We can't have our garden parties and frankfurter roasts, because all those pesky bike riders keep coming by way too fast." Does Evans believe that he has the jurisdictional authority to arbitrarily block additional Greenbelt access to the undesirables? After all, those Waterfront District people vote, too. (And that is a serious question. I'd like to know if other Garden City stretches of the Greenbelt might be in jeopardy, since Evans and his Council cronies obviously don't envision a valley-wide continuous multi-modal pathway, as do the other jurisdictions.) I hope the bike-riding voters in Garden City keep this chapter of Garden City's colorful history in mind, come Election Day. (And I know there are a lot of bike-riding voters in Garden City ... too bad City Hall doesn't like you.)

—bikeboy,

online

Whoddya Know?

Obviously, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. (BW, Opinion, "McCain's White House," Oct. 22, 2008.) Indeed, I didn't know too much about [John] McCain until recently (aside from the Saturday Night Live appearances and vocal political opinions I heard from him in the past on the news and seeing his name with a star engraved on the POW lists inside U.S. Navy vessels). But I know nothing—absolutely nothing—about Barack Obama. He sounds like a wind-up doll that says the same empty statements over and over. Sure, he's an eloquent speaker, a gifted individual, and seems pretty intelligent (a measure of which is usually in the eye of the beholder), but his lack of experience gravely concerns me, especially on the subject of foreign policy (especially his perceived loyalty to Israel). You make fun of McCain because he's supposedly elderly. Open your eyes. He spent almost six years in a POW camp. It might just be me, but I highly doubt he was given adequate medical, dental, psychological care in Hanoi—anything but—broken bones and all (what a patriot). But today, he's physically active, optimistic, energetic, capable and motivated, not to mention extremely competent and a proven leader. He looks younger to me than most people 10 years his junior, and look at the hell he's gone through. So people should take their ignorant, misled biases and throw them aside, and measure the man for who he is and what he's done for his country. If this measure is used, others may be found wanting.

—Cary,

online

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