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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TVCC Enrollments Decline to 591 Students

Once again THE GUARDIAN feels vindicated in the need for voter approvals in capital projects.  TVCC has reported a decline in enrollments to a mere 591 students or a 22% decline in enrollments. 

THE GUARDIAN asked Mayor Nancolas and his Finance Director Eljay Waite repeatedly to let voters weigh in on this project with a simple advisory vote and was rebuffed each time.  The fear was the vote would be a resounding NO and it would kill the project.  TVCC may have been the first community college to locate in Caldwell but it was hit with the reality of voter supported College of Western Idaho. 

Nobody knows the real costs to taxpayers for TVCC but the building cost $6MM, the furnishings cost another $1MM, the snack bar cost an additional $110k (two operators could not make a go of it), they are occupying the building on a half rent cost with additional money funneled to them for maintenance and upkeep to the tune of something north of $20k/year along with other perks from Caldwell Urban Renewal.  When does this financial failure stop bleeding Caldwell taxpayers?

It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN, Caldwell Canyon Economic Development Director, Steve Fultz has been directed by Mayor
Nancolas and Mr. Waite to help market and boost enrollments at TVCC.  How can Mr. Fultz be held accountable to keep this ship afloat? 

The only question is:   What will the building be used for when TVCC finally pulls the plug on this very bad decision by our Mayor and Finance Director, Mr. Waite.  We can only wait and see how Mayor Nancolas spins this into a success story for Caldwell.

THE GUARDIAN has been a long suffering critic of how urban renewal agencies in both Caldwell and Nampa, they have run rough-shod over property taxpayers in both cities.  Caldwell now has TVCC as a millstone around the necks of Caldwell residents and Nampa has the Idaho Center and the yet to be completed Library Project under construction by Gardner Company who recently pulled out of the private part of the much heralded public private partnership in Nampa.

In summary:  Why has one man, Eljay Waite, been allowed to punish the city of Caldwell?  He has been allowed to operate CEURA with impunity and virtually no oversight for the last 15 years.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Caldwell Business and Property Owners Present Resolution to Caldwell City Coucil.

Here is a copy of the RESOLUTION submitted to Mayor Garret Nancolas and his City Council at their meeting last night(April 7, 2014).  The seeds of discontent have been festering since an earlier meeting at the Caldwell Train Depot on February 28th.

"RESOLUTION No.____________________________________________

Submitted to Mayor Garret Nancolas and The Honorable City Council of Caldwell, Idaho

Urban Renewal in Caldwell has spent in excess of $60 million, with little proven tangible results to be of any benefit to the citizens of Caldwell, its downtown, its businesses, and its property owners. Additionally, any input from those business and property owners have fallen on deaf ears by Chairman Eljay Waite and the board members of Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency.

In the interest of all the Citizens of Caldwell, we the undersigned Downtown Caldwell business
and property owners request for immediate Caldwell City Council consideration the following:

1. Immediate dissolution of Caldwell East Urban Renewal Board, and its functions to be taken
over by the Mayor and City Council, ensuring a direct line of accountability in all matters of
urban renewal to the voters of Caldwell.

2. The remaining “Urban Renewal Increment” money, with exception to monies currently
required to pay current obligations and revenue bonding debt obligations, to be redirected
to the betterment of Downtown Caldwell.

3. Facilitation, via select committee, as to how to appropriate any remaining unencumbered
funds flowing to urban renewal. Any recommendations brought forth by this committee
shall be subject to approval by City Council of Caldwell.

Respectfully submitted by the citizens, business owners, and property owners of downtown Caldwell."

The above resolution was presented to the Mayor and City Council by former County Commissioner Glenn Koch.  It was reported to THE GUARDIAN there were about 35 business and property owners at this city council meeting.

Additionally, there was an Ordinance document presented to dismantle Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency and put all their functions under the Mayor and City Council.  This would put some degree of direct accountability to voters and taxpayers.  Currently, urban renewal laws written by the Idaho Legislature give wide powers of spending and no accountability in all financial matters conducted by urban renewal boards in Idaho.

Oddly, there was no date defined for when the group wanted an answer back from the Mayor and City Council.  Perhaps this will come out as the group moves forward. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Gardner Company Wimps Out on Library Office/Retail in New Nampa Library Project

Gardner Company sent Nampa Development Corporation (Urban Renewal) a letter backing out of the retail/office part of the Nampa Library Project.  They said;

 "We have reached this determination after diligent efforts to pre-lease the buildings on the parcels and to finance construction,"

Translation to all this is there were no takers, no matter the price for this grandiose project in downtown Nampa.  Mayor Tom Dale and his URA board failed to see and learn what happened at the Ada County Courthouse retail part of that project, it was a huge flop.

Nampa Officials may very well have another "IDAHO CENTER" financial flop on their hands and it will have to be fed property tax dollars until the building site is re purposed.  When you hear the words "PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP", become very nervous.  It is a game of they win and taxpayers lose.

THE GUARDIAN tried to get Nampa officials to back off and let the people vote on this project by taking legal action but had to back off when faced with the possibility of paying NDC legal fees.  NDC spent $108,000.00 to fed off THE GUARDIAN the only issue was to let the people of Nampa vote via a bond election for the library and the police building.  THE GUARDIAN now feels vindicated in efforts to head off this boondoggle project.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Big Brother Is Watching and Violating Your Constitutional Rights

March 31, 2014

Idaho Police Sued in Federal Court for ‘License Plate Profiling’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:43 am
idaho-state-police-trooper-marijuana-license-plate-profiling-640x344A civil lawsuit has been filed in Idaho Federal District Court by plaintiff Darien E. Roseen alleging that several defendant Idaho law enforcement agencies including the Idaho State Police, the Fruitland City Police Department, and the Payette County Sheriff’s Office committed acts under the color of law which deprived Roseen of protected rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges the ISP and other law enforcement agencies target vehicles traveling in Idaho and bearing license plates from states such as Washington and Colorado which have legalized the possession of marijuana.  It implies that when necessary, the ISP and others have used pretexts to stop vehicles and then intimidate vehicle operators to give consent to search vehicles without sufficient probable cause.
The lawsuit was reported in the Denver Post online article dated March 29, 2014, and headlined Colorado man sues Idaho police over “license plate profiling” in marijuana case.  It was also reported on the website on March 28, 2014, in a post entitled Troopers ‘License Plate Profiling’ in Idaho for Marijuana.
The 25-page civil complaint supporting the allegation was filed in the Federal District Court of Idaho on March 26, 2014.
Nothing illegal was found during the search of Roseen’s vehicle

This post came from OPEN CDA Blog run by Bill McCrory there are several links on his blog you might find of interest:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Downtown Caldwell Business and Property Owners and Urban Renewal

THE GUARDIAN attended the last two meetings of the Affiliation of Business and Property Owners of Caldwell and the message headed to city hall is they are not happy after a decade and a half of "urban renewal".  Downtown Caldwell is worse off today than it was before current Mayor Garret Nancolas took office and Caldwell East Urban Renewal got its start.  (Downtown Caldwell was initially left out of the URA boundaries but was added to the district boundaries in 2001.) 

Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency's bonding of projects will sunset the end of this year. Downtown Caldwell business and property owners have awakened to the reality what they now see is all they may get when the agency sunsets.  Their concerns are they have paid nearly three to four times the property taxes they had in 2001 and what have they received to enhance business and rental incomes in downtown.  Their answer is a resounding "not much"!

Property owners are faced with the reality of low rental income against all the tax  increases caused by Caldwell East Urban Renewal.  Property taxes took off like a shot when CEURA made more than a dozen property purchases and as a result the County Assessor raised assessed values to reflect his mandate to assess properties at 100% of full market value. 

Downtown property owners have paid millions more in property taxes over the last 13 years gone directly to CEURA and they have had near zero input on urban renewal money spent in downtown.  Money spent by CEURA has also had near zero benefit to businesses, rent incomes and there are more closed up storefronts today than ever before.  Right now there is a palpable sense of being cheated out of any input or participation in how CEURA funds got spent in downtown.  Additionally, the property owners who would like to sell can't because of high property taxes and exceedingly low rents.  Downtown property is at best a questionable investment.

"Increment URA Property Taxes" will continue to flow to CEURA for the next eight years and it is this money and how it gets spent that is on the collective minds of business and property owners in downtown Caldwell.  A storm is brewing and headed toward Mayor Nancolas and the City Council.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

DBSI and What You Might Find Interesting

DBSI is nothing short of Idaho's version of a Madoff Ponzi Scheme.  It has robbed investors in Idaho and around the world of money.  The end game was to declare bankruptcy leaving investors holding the bag.  They sold unregistered securities with returns that were not realistic nor were they sustainable.  Yet people sunk their life's earnings in this Idaho fraud company. 

Here's a link to KTVB and their investigation into DBSI:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Property Taxes Predicted Up by 23% This Year

THE GUARDIAN did some quick calculations on expected property taxes this year in Caldwell and guess what?  Up by 23% this year due to increased assessed values, school levy costs and because they can do it to us is the best answer. 

I took the time to look up my own home and it went up by nearly 25% over last years value.  Now figure in the exemption for homeowners (a feel good tax shift that has to be made up elsewhere) of 50% of $90,000.  And add it all together and our overlords of spending as much as they can as fast as they can and voila I come up with a 23% increase in my property taxes this year.

 We can all wait to see what the new and improved values will be  and that bit of the puzzle will come out in late May or early June.. always after the elections.  Then we get the actual bills late November as an early Christmas present.  The election season will bring forth a long list of those preaching their smaller government, lower tax mantra in the hopes of garnering our votes.  The reality is a super minority will be doing the picking of the princes of government as we move into the May primary vote.

In theory as the assessed values go up the levy rate should go down but the reality is it probably won't.  The beasts who spends our tax dollars have an insatiable thirst for more and more money from all of us.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Can't We All Just Get Along, King's Building, Optimists, And Plaza in Downtown

The Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency met today to once again resolve the issue to demolish or not demolish the King's building in downtown.  All those at the meeting got ample time to get the issues and opportunities out on the table and here is what was decided:

1.  The Optimists Club boxing program can use the building but agreed to vacate the building if given as little as a week notice to vacate once the demolition permit has been issued.  Also, the Optimists were advised to see if the old Catholic Church gymnasium could be used for their program v. spending any money on the old King's building and pouring money into a building destined for demolition.  The Optimists have been pouring all the profit from their rodeo booth into their boxing program and rent and utilities have drained their finances.

2. CEURA Chairman, Eljay Waite will get City Engineer Brent Orton to advertise for demolition permits immediately. This was a unanimous decision by the board.  ( we will see if this gets done by next month)

3.  There was discontent voiced from two downtown property owners; Joe Lombardo and Bob Carpenter and myself over the visuals vacant and boarded up buildings present to the outside world. What they don't do to promote Caldwell as a "going concern" to investors when they come to town.  Sky Ranch Business Park looks fine but when they take a look at downtown it is not a place they want to bring their family to live work and play.  It presents a picture of benign neglect and is ultimately a deterrent to investors, jobs and investment by others in our community.

4.  A 7000 sq, ft. steel building has been donated to the Optimists for their boxing program and the site is the property across the street from the Municipal Pool and Tennis Courts.  Parks and Rec. have about $300k in their savings account for this project. They will also use the building for all their various programs and will terminate using the YMCA for this effort. Parks and Rec. now pay the Y about $600/month rent to use the YMCA.  The total cost to fill the gap is about $100k and City Finance Director Eljay Waite and Councilman Rob Hopper were unwilling to commit city funds from the LGIP to fill this gap or any urban renewal money. 

Oddly, THE GUARDIAN had a conversation with Mayor Nancolas about using this very parcel as the site for a skateboard park prior to the one out in Sky Ranch got built.  I was told it could not be done due to deed restrictions. It leaves us all to wonder if the deed restrictions will accommodate  this new use.

5. Chairman Eljay Waite made a point of "forgiveness" of THE GUARDIAN for all the things written about the Chairman and the Agency over the years.  THE GUARDIAN is pleased to receive these kind words of absolution for perceived wrongs directed to the Chairman and the Agency. 

If any errors have been written about the Chairman or the agency I stand ready to correct them.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What Is Sen. McKinzie's Address

THE GUARDIAN received a reminder via email today that questions where Idaho State Senator  McKinzie actually lives.  It is a big question mark that needs to be resolved for voters in McKinzie's district.

Senator McKinzie lists his address in the Legislative Directory as 412 W. Franklin St., Boise, Idaho 83702.  His address when running for Sentor is on Candlewood St. in Nampa.  The question around this address is who is actually living there; Sen. McKinzie or his ex-wife?

Voters may want to get a clear answer to the residence question for these two Legislators.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Councilman Mike Pollard's RANT on Downtown Meeting

The following rant email was forwarded to THE GUARDIAN from Joe Lombardo of JOE'S EMPORIUM in downtown Caldwell.  Messer's Lombardo and Carpenter put the meeting together so downtown blight issues could be presented.  The following is the email response from Caldwell City Councilman Mike Pollard:

"Bob and  Joe - you should be ASHAMED at what happened at the Caldwell Train Depot last week.  You embarrassed yourselves!  Joe, you know how you threatened my life a. few years ago with MANY witnesses. Bob you also knows the lies you told about me.  If you continue this crucifixion of our city leaders I will happily let everyone know your true colors.  Neither of you are qualified to lead this city!  BTW feel free to share this with the press because I have proof of everything I said."

Mike Pollard
208 402-4624 Voice
208  249-4417 Text

Within the hour Councilman Pollard added the following email sent to the spouse of Bob Carpenter at 9:54PM on March 4, 2014:

"Bob and Joe- I'm sending this again to make sure you understand my position.  If you or your buddies Joe Lombardo or Paul Aldridge (sic) continue to spread lies about me or Mayor Nancolas you will hear from my legal representation at the Huntley Law Firm in Boise.  I'm not going to tolerate your stupidity any longer!"

Mike Pollard
(208) 402-4624 Voice
(2080 249-4417 Text

There just isn't much anyone can add to the rants from Councilman Pollard except that he takes issue with the rights of citizens to meet with and question city leaders.  Apparently he has made similar threats to other citizens during his meanderings around downtown.