Letters to the editor: 09-05-2013

September 5, 2013 

Adler column

While I personally object to sending our troops into harm’s way for somewhat dubious reasons, I find it disingenuous to label the commander-in-chief as acting outside the law.

The Constitution, in designating the president as commander-in-chief, conferred wide discretionary war making powers on the president. The War Powers Act of 1973 was an attempt by Congress to limit those powers. Since 1973, that key phrase for putting our troops in harm’s way has been, “it’s in our national interest.” While professor David Adler certainly has every right to object to certain provisions and interpretations of the Constitution and the War Powers Act, his inference that any past or future military actions deemed “in the national interest are unconstitutional and illegal.”

Professor Adler, shame on you. Making your arguments with half-truths and innuendo is beneath your station. While I agree that an incursion into Syria may not be in our best interest, constitutionally and legally the commander-in-chief has the power to do so.

JOHN ULINDER, Boise

Department of Lands

Is it possible that the Idaho Department of Lands is cooking the books a bit to try to justify its desire to be a player in the commercial real estate and development business in Idaho?

The IDL 2012 annual report attempts to make the case that the return on assets for the commercial properties it manages for the school and other trusts was a remarkable 22.56 percent.

That might be impressive to the casual observer, but on closer examination it’s rather revealing. The actual cash on cash return was a meager 1.29 percent annual net return. That is the real measure of IDL financial performance.

The remaining 21.27 percent IDL is claiming is attributed to an increase in asset value. Was this accomplished using a Ouija board or a certified appraisal? Most of these commercial holdings are in the Treasure Valley and there is no evidence that commercial properties in the Treasure Valley are surging in value. In fact, those values are flat.

Certainly it is fair to assume most real estate values will appreciate over time, on the order of 2 to 4 percent annually. Where in the world did this outrageous 21.27 percent originate? Someone should be held accountable for that deceptive reporting.

This smells of an agenda to perpetuate careers in a field where IDL lacks talent and credibility.

JULIE CHENOWETH, Orofino

Death penalty

In regard to the re-sentencing of Mr. Sivak to life without parole: This is a reason to eliminate the death penalty. The death penalty in this state is rarely, if ever, imposed. The 30-plus years for the courts to get to this point before re-sentencing this creature cost a lot of taxpayer money because of these endless and stupid appeals. I can’t imagine how much money was wasted. It would have been much cheaper for taxpayers if he’d been sentenced to life without parole. These appeals must have had a devastating effect on the victim’s family. Like what the article says, “It’s like going to the same funeral over and over.” It’s not on moral grounds I call for the elimination of the death penalty. It’s purely economic.

JAMES P. DAVIS, Boise

Help mentally ill

Einstein quote: “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it.”

Idaho’s mentally ill populations consistently go through a revolving door. Door swings open to hospitals, jails, released to the streets, and back in again. We urgently need preventative services for the mentally ill people. A sister tells her story about her brother who suffered from mental illness. He continually went through the revolving door, and she was desperate to help her brother. She looked for a solution and found a preventative home for the mentally ill; he moved in and began to thrive. She was grateful and decided to open her own; Dave’s House, for the mentally ill.

Click here for her story.

Idahoans, we can begin a home, just like Dave’s Home; we have the perfect house — the governor’s mansion. The mansion is empty. This house can be turned into a preventative housing program for the nonviolent, independent mentally ill people. We do not need a $70 million prison, which adds to the problem, we need a solution. Preventative care for the mentally ill is not a luxury, but a necessity.

CORINNE TEIGEN, Meridian

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