Lawmakers make a costly mistake
Idaho voters should pay attention to the fact that the Republican leadership and legislators have chosen not to act on the issue of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
The expansion would be largely-to-fully paid by the federal government (not free but by a fairer tax than the property tax).
Now we will all be paying and, even then, many legitimate health needs will be unmet. Acceptance of the expansion would mean an estimated $470 million in property tax savings over the next 11 years since emergency medical costs are now pushed onto the counties and our property tax.
In spite of pressure from Democrats John Rusche and Dan Schmidt, House Speaker Scott Bedke (working in concert with Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill and Gov. Butch Otter) refused to schedule a hearing, on the premise that there isn't enough time."
Legislators have, in fact, been aware of this issue since long before the beginning of the session. It appears that entrenched ideological opposition to the Affordable Care Act trumps mental health, dental and disability needs, among others, as well as our pocket books.
JANET SCHLICHT AND BARBARA ROBERTS, Boise
Don't be fooled by government trap
Soon you'll probably see ads saying, "Go to your friendly 'exchange' and find out how much help you can get to pay your medical insurance premiums."
It's a trap. You will be required to give the "exchange" all your personal medical and financial information and told what insurance you have to have. If they determine you're eligible for "Medicaid," they will sign you up, whether you want it or not. Everyone participating in the "exchange" will pay a $4- $7 fee, but they can raise them and no one knows how high those fees will go.
The "exchange" will have to pay thousands of "navigators" - people to determine which insurance and subsidies people are eligible for.
Once your information is entered in the "exchange," if you don't buy from them, or decide to drop out, they'll be after you to prove you have their standard of insurance. Insurance companies influenced our "representatives" to install an "exchange" so more people would buy insurance to avoid fines. Christian Care and Samaritan Ministries offer medical cost sharing plans exempting you from fines.
Let's inform people of alternatives before they get trapped in an "exchange."
SHEILA FORD, Caldwell
State asserts power with parking garage
If you don't like to play the game by the rules, take your ball, change the rules and send the other team to the showers. That seems to be the way the our legislators like to play in asserting the state's power over local control regarding the new parking garage to be constructed north of the Capitol Mall and adjoining an older residential neighborhood.
No one denies the need for more parking in the Capitol area, but to over-program and under-fund a major building of forgettable design that will be there for at least 50 years is a travesty not only for the city, but for the state, which has been very conscientious in the design of most of their Capitol Mall buildings.
The project as designed has been through three ascending levels of review by the city and each time the decision of the city's Design Review Committee has been upheld. If this were a private sector project the reasons and objections being raised and potentially over-ridden by legislative chutzpah would not be tolerated. I would like to see what individual in our Legislature will be willing to put their name on the completed project.
THOMAS M. ZABALA, AIA, Boise
Higher education goes to new low
When UI students fall from balconies and out of windows, it tells me higher education has reached a new low. Every Idaho taxpayer ought to be up in arms about this as we are the ones paying for lawsuits against the state for all these injuries even though it isn't our fault. So who is to blame; school board, parents, students or alcohol manufacturers?
The media says it is a "rite of passage" or everyone is doing it; wrong. I attended three colleges and no one ever fell from a window or balcony. The students didn't need it.
Maybe I'm biased since I've been in several alcohol-related accidents. Some folks say you can't have a party without alcohol. That's a lie 'cause I have more fun than anyone. I don't need a designated driver, don't wake up with a headache and don't hurt anyone at the party or on the way home. I even have lower insurance rates. I guess I never grew up enough to need alcohol.
Thanks to President Duane Nellis for wanting to tackle this issue. Together let us raise the bar for higher education!
CURT VIESELMEYER, Boise
Tragedy in North End is waiting to happen
After the testimony of dozens of citizens, ACHD granted permission to a developer to build heavily in a small, steep-sided canyon in the North End.
Neighbors are extremely concerned about the only access to this canyon, a very narrow, blind curve bordered by a house on one side, and a steep embankment on the other. Two cars can only pass at the same time if they make use of the narrow, slightly raised sidewalk being proposed.
The fire department plans to use the sidewalk when it tries to access this canyon in an emergency. With only one way in and out, how will all the families evacuate this box of a canyon?
Only one commissioner actually took the time to visit this site. Because she saw it, she adamantly voted "no," stating that this curve was far too dangerous for pedestrians, bikers and cars.
Children from Boise Heights use this road to walk to school. It is a straight shot to Longfellow Elementary and North Jr. High. This is a tragedy waiting to happen, and the four commissioners who ignored the protests of the dozens who have testified, and have never even visited the actual site, should be held responsible.
ELIZABETH LUCE, Boise
Columnist highlights media's liberal bias
In a recent column (March 9), liberal columnist David Sirota argues that legislators "hugely" overestimate their constituents' conservatism, resulting in a political system that is "utterly unrepresentative" and deeply hostile to the "mainstream" public. Is Sirota really that stupid?
The "new study" relied upon by Sirota is, in fact, a deeply flawed working paper prepared by two graduate students living in California and Michigan. They did not survey legislators but rather candidates (half of whom lost), apparently failed to screen for likely voters, and considered just a handful of issues worded so as to skew the results (e.g., "implement a universal health care program").
The underlying reality is that "conservatives" in America outnumber moderates and dominate liberals (2 to 1), as consistently shown in dependable polls conducted by Gallup.
Sirota is not stupid, but he is a striking example of muddle-headed liberalism and shoddy journalism. The overriding problem in our modern political life is not that politicians overestimate the conservatism of their constituents, frustrating the will of a liberal electorate. The problem is that so much of the mainstream media has become a biased organ of the Democratic Party, mindlessly and even deceitfully advocating for increasingly liberal policies.
JOHN N. ZARIAN, Eagle
Letter hit the mark
Angela Bush's letter to the editor March 10 has my total support.
According to the Declaration of Independence, "all men (not women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness ..."
In this endless controversy about pro and anti-abortion, women are not allowed to be endowed by the men's Creator but are being endowed by men who want to replace the Creator of the universe with their own persons.
It would appear that women are allowed to worship capitalism and seek fame and fortune as long as it does not interfere with the fame and fortune men want for themselves.
In my mind, it is obvious that there is a Creator. But the conduct of men and women who occupy the positions of power in our government appear to be enslaved by special interests that buy them the fame and fortune they want for themselves without "endowing by our Creator" our citizenry with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It would appear that women choose to be enslaved by capitalism, fame and fortune. Hollywood makes that obvious.
CECILIA B. LANGLAND, Boise
For decades, Shakespeare has been an iconic landmark of Boise. Originally located in ParkCenter, their amphitheater was moved east of Harris Ranch so that their productions would not be a noise burden to the city. Today, the closest home is a quarter mile away.
Tahoe Homes now wants to build the proposed Barbermill Estates 400 feet from the front of Shakespeare's stage on what is currently a field of sewage ponds and a delightful herd of goats. This land is zoned Rural Preservation. Tahoe's plan is to tear down the sound barrier berm on this property, directly exposing the 23 new high-end homes to the sounds of Shakespeare. This will not end pretty. A noise lawsuit from these affluent new homeowners would soon ensue, possibly forcing Shakespeare to shut down.
Save Shakespeare. Tell the City of Boise to say no to Barbermill Estates and to uphold Boise's existing zoning laws.
RICH PAGOAGA JR., Boise