Letters to the Editor, 06-23-2013

June 23, 2013 

OMBUDSMAN

Community panel should be next step

The eventual departure of the Boise ombudsman should be embraced as an opportunity for Boise to right a listing ship, one that has allowed its police force to play judge, jury and executioner on a couple of questionable situations.

An impossible task to say the least, attempting to justify a police shooting to a community already leery of a public agency, whose mere presence creates anxiety. To select one person to consider questionable conduct by law enforcement is ludicrous.

Boise has an opportunity to revamp the program with one that is comprised of various members, from all walks of life. A panel that will evaluate the threat presented, the severity of the response, and whether the response was warranted, then make recommendations to the mayor while making their findings transparent to the public. Membership to this panel should not be funded, but volunteered, and the length of time on the panel should be limited to a two-year period.

Pierce Murphy did a fair job, however I question some of his recommendations, I didn't see the transparency in his findings, and he allowed questionable situations to remain that way.

STEVE GRAVES, Star

IMPACT FEES

Mayor should have a broader scope

Once again the mayor of Boise is whining about ACHD and its impact fees. I presume it is OK for the city of Boise to keep raising the mill levy on homes and business on homes in Boise to remodel City Hall, but it is not OK for ACHD to levy an impact fee in order to pay for construction of new roads (30th Street bypass), and maintain the roads and sidewalks in Boise. I guess the mayor thinks it is OK for all the taxpayers and drivers in Ada County to foot the bill for Boise.

Maybe if the mayor and council would put their money where there mouth is, for instance sharing some of the parking meter revenue with ACHD, they would have the right to complain. As it is, they collect parking meter fees and fines on property they do not own or maintain. These roads and sidewalks belong to ACHD. To my knowledge Boise city does not share money with ACHD that the police department brings in from fines collected for driving violations. Mr. Mayor, if you are not paying the piper, don't complain about the tunes he/she plays.

JAMES ROGERS, Meridian

PRIVATE PRISONS

End failed system

Idaho's experiment with private prisons needs to end. It's ludicrous that the Department of Correction won't be allowed to take over operations at the private prison south of Boise just because IDOC board chairwoman Robin Sandy is worried that it "would amount to expanding state government."

Really, Sandy? Even if that would create 200 good, mostly blue collar Idaho jobs that offer a future and a career? Instead, you would continue to hand over taxpayer money to contractors who in turn underpay and overwork Idaho employees in order to squeeze out profits that flow back to places like Nashville, Tenn.?

Sandy still clings to the argument that there is cost savings in privatizing prisons even when that argument is clouded by the loss of millions in taxpayer dollars.

Millions have been lost in multiple lawsuits due to the unprofessional conduct by poorly trained and underpaid private security guards. And how utterly ridiculous and absurd is it to put a private company in charge of a prison the taxpayers of Idaho built and already own?

Idaho's experiment with private prisons should be over, not looking at ways of repeating the same mistake until we finally get it right.

HANK CORLESS, Eagle

TRANSIT CENTER

Seniors need public service

I was dismayed to learn that certain members of the state government and other "highly placed"officials acted to delay or deny the development of the transit mall near the Capitol.

Their principal objection was that the facility would attract transients and other "undesirables" to the area. The elected officials and bureaucrats who have such opinions should remind themselves that they are not our masters and we are not their serfs.

I need to utilize Valley Transit services because, as a Social Security beneficiary, owning a motor vehicle is not possible. The drivers are courteous, safe and reliable. It is my desire that the bus program be expanded to meet the public need.

I am a U.S. Air Force veteran and a former police officer and member of the California Highway Patrol. Also, I am an "undesirable" and proud of it!

MILTON C. GREEN, Boise

CITIZEN'S RIGHTS

No difference

When Bush took away the right to a trial by jury, Republicans told us it was for our own good. Now, as Obama takes away our right to privacy, it's Democrats telling us not to worry. The difference between the parties is not as large as you might think.

BRETT PIKE, Boise

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