Letters to the editor: 12-10-2013

December 10, 2013 

Eagle park

Sam Sandmire, of Boise, attacks the county commission over not wanting the problems and liability of allowing a commercial development on public land. She views it as depriving our (Boise’s) children of their right to snowboard someplace other than Bogus Basin. She has made the claim that this Eagle project has been well vetted but does not mention that most who testified in favor of it were citizens from Boise and ski sports business representatives.

I wonder how she would feel if this were being constructed close to her home with the increase of noise, traffic and immediate environmental changes? Not to mention the noise of nighttime grooming and late-night lighting of the area.

Some of us from Eagle who are actually affected by the downsides of this enterprise have actually asked the county to protect us from this flawed concept. Our City Council has done its best to obscure citizen feedback by poor notification tactics, such as the neighborhood meeting on Dec. 11 to vet rezoning and annexation of the park. It notified only those who live within 300 feet of the borders.

If this park is so great for Boise, then build it in Boise.


I believe that the Eagle terrain park would boost Idaho’s freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Last year, I competed at the USASA national competition at Copper Mountain in Colorado. I was at a major disadvantage because I did not have any good-size jumps to practice on. I think that if I were able to practice at a place like the Eagle terrain park, it would greatly improve my riding, and since the park would be so close, it would not be a hassle to get there and back.



I attended a meeting Nov. 25 at the Oregon Department of Transportation in Ontario. A representative for the megaload company of Omega Morgan was present, as was the press.

The load is headed for Canada through Eastern Oregon and Idaho. My home is on the proposed route of the megaload on the small Malheur County road of Clark Boulevard in Nyssa, Ore.

I expressed my concerns several times. They include:

1. Public safety.

2. Potential impacts on infrastructure.

3. Potential impacts on the environment.

A reporter for an Oregon newspaper chose to ignore my concerns, none of which were printed. I guess little old ladies who live out in the country are to be ignored and their opinions appear to be unimportant.


Here it comes. With the power of 1,500 horses and the weight of 90 African elephants, or is that twice the weight of the Statue of Liberty? I was waiting at the traffic light at Franklin and Eagle roads and was wondering how much does the Statue of Liberty weigh? That great behemoth “Megaloadon” creeps across Idaho’s “fragile” ecosystem at 35 mph. Sorry, you can’t say that you were not warned. The Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell reports along with the headline that says “Megaload” will take a “circuitous journey” through our blessed state. Worse yet, it is “controversial.” The Statesman will make darn sure of that. This gargantuan is carrying “massive refinery machinery” — egad! — to Canada’s tar sand oil fields.

Who will save our planet from the certain global warming caused by these burning oil fields? Maybe we can call on the environmentally aware people of the North End of Boise to intercept this giant beast and attach themselves to it much like the “rate suckers” from the auto insurance advertisement. Better yet, all show up Dec. 21 at Hyde Park, burn candles, release doves and celebrate winter solstice, therefore, accomplishing two tasks for mankind. Oh, the humanity!



The 10th “Stories to catch up on” (Nov. 26) titled “Study: Methane a bigger problem than thought” is just a tad misleading in its attack on “fracking.”

First, the U.S. is not “spewing” methane gas as the article states, nature is. The tiny amount of methane gas leaking from man’s “fracking” or ranching activities is insignificant compared to methane bubbling from oceans, seas, lakes, fissures, land, massive peat boggs, landfills, biomasses, composts, decaying matter, etc. And even with all of nature’s “spewing,” methane in the atmosphere is still less than 2 parts per million, 10,000 times less than atmospheric water vapor! It is insignificant to the earth as a greenhouse gas.

Second, the article calls carbon dioxide “the most abundant global warming gas.” This is false. Atmospheric water vapor is at least 50 times more abundant than carbon dioxide (at 380 ppm). Water vapor’s physical properties and abundance in the atmosphere make it by far the dominant “global warming gas” rendering carbon dioxide insignificant. And to the IPCC’s chagrin, its computer modeling the past 20 years confirms this.

Without the generous greenhouse effect of water vapor, we could not exist on planet Earth.


Holiday scams

Recently, KTVB ran a story about panhandling. The story said that with the holidays coming, we should know that many panhandlers are scam artists.

While it is true that you can give more wisely by donating to wonderful organizations like the Rescue Mission, the tone of the article was disappointingly judgmental.

Do we want to teach our children to assume the worst of people in our community? Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting that everyone start giving money to panhandlers. But there is something distressingly callous about dismissing them as scam artists, which stigmatizes them.

Perhaps some panhandlers wake up in a warm house with a full refrigerator and decide that standing in the rain for 10 hours to make $20 sounds like a good time. Indeed, some panhandlers may well be scamming us. But surely many, if not most, are not. Surely there are empty plates, and unpaid medical bills. Surely there are tragic childhoods, and mental illnesses and irreparably broken lives. One could not possibly know the difference at first glance. One can make the informed decision to keep her wallet closed without deciding that a fellow human being is most likely a scam artist.


Property taxes

Property taxes — have you compared prior years to 2013? My taxes are up 6.9 percent this year and were up 17 percent in 2012.

The levy, the percentage that is applied to your total taxable value, is up 43.3 percent comparing 2008 with 2013, and the total property tax is up 10.3 percent.

The homeowner’s exemption is down 19.8 percent from 2008 to 2013 and down 3.5 percent 2012 to 2013. These numbers determine your property taxes and are the factors behind my increased property taxes. The assessed value will be catching up to the market, so brace yourself to the probability of a 10 percent or more increase in your property taxes for 2014 — it is in the cards. Seventeen percent in 2012, 6.9 percent in 2013, potentially 10 percent or more in 2014 with the trend line up for the future. I don’t mind paying my fair share but what amount is my fair share?


IHS vets

My wife and I adopted our dog, Ava, from the Idaho Humane Society one year ago. Since that time, the bulk of her medical care has been provided by the IHS veterinarians. More than once I have found myself somewhat jealous of my dog as I wish that my own medical care were as compassionate and thorough as the care that she receives.

We very much want to continue to have Ava treated by the IHS veterinarians.

The point of view of the private veterinarians is understandable — they are being asked to earn their living on an uneven playing field as their services are taxed more heavily.

I hope that the state Legislature will carefully consider the effect that any restriction on IHS veterinary services will have on the animals in need and the families that struggle to care for those animals.

If the Legislature feels that it must do something to protect the interests of the private veterinarians I hope it will find a compromise position that allows my family to continue to use the IHS veterinarians. We would be happy to be charged a higher price than that paid by a less fortunate family.


American dream

So, President Obama stated that “the American dream is in trouble.” Odd. Perhaps I simply didn’t get the memo on this one, but at what point did the rank redistribution of wealth from the ants to the grasshoppers become part of the American dream?


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