Letters to the Editor, 12-21-2013

December 21, 2013 

Thank you ...

I recently retired. The last 20 years of my career, I rode my bicycle to work (year-round). I live in Meridian and rode to three different offices during that 20 years (two in Boise and one in Nampa). Much of the year I rode in the early morning dark.

It’s safe to say I have a long-term perspective on how motorists treated me, and I want to give a big “Thank You” to the wonderful people in this valley. Almost without exception, everyone did their very best to keep me safe. They did this at their worst time — when they were in a hurry to get to work or eager to get home after work.

Friends would ask me about “obnoxious motorists.” In all those years, I had only a handful of aggressive experiences. What obnoxious motorists?

I am grateful to have finished my commuter years healthy and in one piece, mainly due to the great people all around me. Thanks again to all the courteous and kind people who were willing to share the road with me.


As I entered the main Post Office building last Saturday, Dec. 14, I saw the line ahead of me was long. Twelve people were ahead of me, but that quickly changed as a man who identified himself as the postmaster started helping everyone in line. He instructed people how to mail their packages and letters without standing in line. He even gave an elderly lady a stamp from his pocket. I was through the line and out of the building in three minutes. Congratulations and thank you, postmaster.


We just wanted to say thank you to everyone involved in the wonderful Christmas concert we attended at Timberline High School on Tuesday evening. The choir and orchestra were all so excellent. It made our Christmas season so much more enjoyable. Thanks especially to all the teachers for their dedication and time they take to put on such a beautiful program.


It’s comforting to know that although we are moving through the busiest time of the year, there are friends among us still paying attention to people in need. These heroes can come from unexpected places. Last Thursday (Dec. 12), a hero from Boise City garbage and recycling (Allied Services) saved my mom.

Tim was driving his residential trash route in Boise when he spotted my mom lying on the icy ground. He jumped out of his truck and ran to help. My mom, Helen, had slipped while returning her trash cart to her house. She hit the ground, badly breaking her arm, and could not get up, and nobody could hear her calls for help.

Temperatures were in the teens; she was very cold. Tim scooped her up, carried her to the house and called 911. He bundled her and kept her distracted until the paramedics arrived. With surgery, physical therapy and good care, Mom is looking forward to a full recovery. In the meantime, she can’t say enough good things about the good-looking young man who saved her and stayed with her until help arrived. She looks forward to thanking him in person.


Connecting Idaho

Continuing “Connecting Idaho.” I add my thanks to Bob Bruce’s thanks to Chuck Winder for his leadership in the attempt to improve and maintain our deteriorating transportation system. I also want to commend Bob for his proposal for a “paradigm shift” that would treat our transportation system as the “public utility” that it is. We should treat the fees and taxes that we pay for the system as user fees and taxes, and convert our gas taxes to a system based on miles traveled and impact to the roads rather than gallons of fuel purchased. (Oregon is experimenting with such a system.)

This would help reverse the fact that we have been seriously underfunding our transportation system for at least 30 years. This has resulted in the situation documented in the “2012 Report Card for Idaho’s Infrastructure” by the American Society of Civil Engineers — I participated in creating this report — whereby the “State Highway System” was given an overall grade of D+. This report included recommendations calling for an addition of $155 million for “operation, preservation, and restoration” and $207 million for “capacity and safety” to be spent annually on state highways to reverse this unacceptable situation.

L. KENT BROWN, Garden City

Sediment in Snake

Anyone claiming Lower Snake sediment management will cost taxpayers an annualized $800,000 is misinformed, naive or lying to the public.

The average volume of sediment dredged from the Snake/Clearwater confluence over the past 21 years is 177,950 cubic yards per year. At 2005/06 dredging costs of $12.75 per cubic yard, dredging alone would cost $2.24 million on an annualized basis. The Corps’ estimate of $15/cy for 2013/14 raises this cost to $2.64 million, excluding an additional 17 percent for Corps contract management. Also not addressed is a predicted increase in future sediment loads in area rivers.

By January 2013 the Corps had spent $16 million developing its sediment management plan. If this amount is amortized over 20 years, add another $800,000 in annualized cost, plus additional planning costs from January 2013 well into 2014.

Thus based on historical levels of required dredging — with no consideration for increases in sediment load, inflation, contract management or ongoing planning costs — a conservative estimate of the taxpayer tab largely for keeping the Port of Lewiston’s marine operations functional is $3.44 million per year.

Claims by some barging supporters of an annualized cost of $800,000 constitute a public hoax.


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