Letters to the editor - 07-28-2013

July 28, 2013 


"Idaho's Wi-Fi Contractor" - Education Networks of Idaho is a Nashville, Tenn.-based company. Like Diogenes with his lamp, I search in vain for an honest politician. We give contracts to out-of-state companies with "benefits." At the same time, we boldly spout "Buy Idaho." Also, remember the fiber optics contract that was given to Qwest over the low bidder - an Idaho company. This again points out the same old system.



The Idaho Conservation League is lobbying to encourage Obama to proclaim the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains a national monument. This is a mistake. While the area deserves enhanced protection, wilderness designation is warranted for the roadless areas.

The proclamation process often excludes public input. It can be a useful defense against existential threats, such as when surface mining is nearing approval.

However, there is no new, imminent, credible threat to the Boulder-White Clouds. The reasons advanced by ICL focus on recreational, economic development. This rationale is not appropriate under the enabling law - the Antiquities Act of 1906. Specifically, the act provides for "the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest." The act does not provide for creating tourist attractions.

There is ample evidence that heightened public awareness resulting from monument designation leads to rapid increases in visitors. This in turn leads to inevitable and irresistible calls for more infrastructure. What results is an expanded, branded, brochured, paved, homogenized, maintained, fenced, signed, serviced, rationed, policed, user-fee'd, Disney-esque, ecological disaster.

National monument status for the Boulder-White Clouds does not stop an existential threat, it creates one.



Boise Mayor Dave Bieter makes some interesting points in his article, July 13, on impact fees assessed by ACHD. As he mentioned, impact fees are assessed to new development that will have an impact on the agency's transportation infrastructure. Normally the "ring" of influence can be a quarter to half a mile. Outside the ring, the development has less of an impact on the system. Impact fees for transportation are normally related to the system capacity.

Some agencies assess an impact fee for long term capital improvements within the ring and have new development make current upgrades adjacent to the project. This allows improvements to take place where needed and provide funding for future upgrades, with a lower amount paid for in impact fees.

Perhaps all mayors in Ada County should work with the ACHD commission and management to modify and provide for a more reasonable impact fee. One would think that ACHD would not want to have impact fees so costly that they slow or discourage new development.



"What is Labrador's future?" This column by the Lewiston Tribune questions why Labrador would vote against federal spending that funnels down to Idaho. Perhaps he is in Washington using his best judgment to try to spend money wisely regardless of where it is going.

Decisions can be made for reasons other than just trying to get elected to an office. Many of the problems we face, especially the fiscal ones, would be easily solved if we had leaders that tried to make solid decisions rather than just ones that benefited their constituents, therefore themselves and their election. Congressman Labrador has shown this quality. I wish we had more like him.



I see that extremely rare behavior of a wolf made the front page news in the July 13 Idaho Statesman. In the U.S., 4.5 million to 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year according to the CDC. In 2012, 35 people were killed by dogs. People killed by wolves - zero! Let's stop exaggerating the threat of wolves. The real threat for front page news is the domestic dog, not the wild wolf.


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