Wednesday, September 30, 2009
THE GUARDIAN received the poll conducted of downtown business owners on the issue of TVCC in Downtown Caldwell. The Results came out 82.4% against locating TVCC downtown and 17.6% in favor of locating TVCC downtown. This serves to remind us all that "in God we trust" but all others must bring data to the table. Sample size was 17 businesses with only three approving of the below question. The poll done by a couple of concernened citizens is much more than has been brought to the fore by the Mayor and Team Garret.
The poll sheets were hand carried by downtown business people and read as follows:
"Considering that at the downtown location of the TVCC college it will be necessary to buld a muli-level parking structure at the price of $15-$18,000 per parking space with no room for expansion for the school in the future, and it will be necessary to acquire land to build the parking structure where as at the skyranch (sic) site. which is also city owned land and already paid for, plenty of room for expansion and parking for up to 900 vehicles that can be developed at approx 1/15 the cost per vehicle, do you as a downtown business person support the location of TVCC College in downtown." APPROVE DISAPPROVE Signature and name of business
Mayor Nancolas and TEAM GARRET, site all the non-data support for putting TVCC in downtown. It is fairly easy to hit the speed dialer and get people pro-mayor to show up and speak to this project. A data supported position is hard to refute.
THE GUARDIAN has seen three different options offered up by private developers at no cost to the taxpayers for TVCC. The Urban Renewal option downtown for a building that is admittedly too small and has been acknowledges as too small by both the mayor and chairman of the urban renewal board.
You could not run a private business in this manner and expect to survive. Caldwell taxpayers should be outraged at what is going on here and demand voter oversite of this boondoggle project.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 8:30 AM
Saturday, September 26, 2009
THE GUARDIAN has received several calls from the private developers in the Caldwell area about TVCC and it appears TVCC is a bride with many suitors.
First, we had the photo-op groundbreaking out at Sky Ranch Business Park for the TVCC project in August of 2008. Urban Renewal land at 4.13 acres and developer to build the building. The deal caved in on itself when bankers learned the tenant (TVCC) was not the entity who was going to pay the rent. It looked shaky to the bankers structured this way. The developer lost his financing as TVCC was going to occupy a 60,000 square foot building virtually rent free. Urban Renewal was going to pay the rent for five years for the TVCC Bride in waiting via a subsidy by Caldwell taxpayers.
Second, this past week, THE GUARDIAN learned of yet another fantastic offer to the deciders at TVCC. This site was 21st and Chicago in Caldwell. The developers this time around were going to build a 30,000 plus square foot structure for TVCC. The deal was at no cost to Caldwell taxpayers or TVCC and the building would be on the tax rolls. The deal did stipulate a lease payment of $12/square foot. TVCC declined this offer for new digs.
Third offering is Plan B from Urban Renewal and the City of Caldwell after the false start at Sky Ranch. The deal is to build downtown at taxpayer expense for the deciders of TVCC in the hopes it will be an economic engine for downtown.
How can private enterprise compete with free stuff from Team Garret and Caldwell taxpayers? Free land, free rent can be a strong incentive to take a building they know is inadequate.
More stuff is floating to the surface regarding TVCC and Caldwell operations. There are some people floating the notion TVCC returns $1MM a year back to the Oregon operation. A freedom of information request yielded that $325,000 a year goes back to the Oregon Campus. The amount gets divided into 225K to the general fund for distance education and $100K for a building fund are what went back to Oregon this year.
Mayor Nancolas and the Chairman of Caldwell East Urban Renewal admit the facility that will go downtown is too small for the needs of TVCC before the place even gets built but it is full speed ahead with Team Garret on a fairy tale exercise for TVCC at Caldwell taxpayer expense. The answer to this is ..."We'll just build yet another building for them when the need arises."
Millions are about to be spent on TVCC for a downtown project for TVCC, and Oregon based community college at Caldwell taxpayer expense. We have to ask why no advisory vote to Mayor Nancolas and Chairman Waite of the Urban Renewal agency. Their answer is they are not seeking bonding for the project so a vote is not necessary. We already are taxed at the maximum allowed for College of Western Idaho and this redundancy seems wantonly wasteful of Caldwell taxpayer money without voter approval. Mayor Nancolas and Mr. Waite of the Urban Renewal agency have done everything in their power to circumvent a vote of the citizens of Caldwell on this project.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 1:52 PM
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Mr. and Mrs. Guardian went to the new Vanburen School open house last week. What a swell place for our kids to go to school. We can't wait for new Washington school to open as well. While we were there a school official was complaining about the cost of plan checks and permit fees for the schools. Same set of plans two different locations cost the Caldwell School District $382,000.00. We were amazed at this cost to Caldwell School District patrons.
THE GUARDIAN looked into this and here is the deal. The permit and hookup fees for Washington School are $203k and Vanburen $179k. We thought this to be a little steep and filed a public records request for the Caldwell YMCA for their permits and hookup fees. The cost to the YMCA was $0.00! (see editor note below)
We took the time to ask what the deal here was to a city councilor and was told the Caldwell City Council waived the fees for the YMCA. The city councilor also said there was a deal with the school district that the land for Vanburen was donated to the school district by Urban Renewal and it was a land for fees deal.
THE GUARDIAN filed yet another public records request for the memorandum of understanding for the land for fees deal with the school district. No such records exists for the land for fees deal. There is a record of the Urban Renewal agency transferring the land for Vanburen to the school district.
There was plenty of opportunity for the Mayor and City council to step up to the plate on this school deal but it looks like a classic double standard when you compare this stuff. The YMCA gets a free ride at taxpayer expense but the hallowed halls of education pay the full freight for permits and hookups.
Editor note: We received a letter from Mayor Nancolas today (9/28) YMCA fees for utility hookups were paid by the foundation in the amount of $76,196 and $57,142 in building and fire plan reviews were waived by the Caldwell City Council. School district paid and the YMCA did not for the building and fire plan fees.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 2:30 PM
Saturday, September 19, 2009
THE GUARDIAN has been made aware of a level of service for the Oregon based TVCC project that no developer has ever received by Caldwell city officials. The following is an excerpt from an email that went out to city officials:
I believe that I have included all the pertinent staff in this email. Attached to this email is a DRAFT time schedule for the plan review, building permit issuance, construction commencement and the date of the new TVCC building to be constructed where the H&H Heating and Cooling building sits right now.
Please note the most applicable dates to reviewing staff:
10/23/2009: Submittal of Grading and Foundation Permit Application
10/30/2009: Permit issued for Grading and Foundation
12/08/2009: Submittal of Building Permit Application
12/15/2009: Permit issued for Building-Core and Shell
We will have 6 business days to review and issue the foundation permit.
We will have 6 business days to review and issue the Core and Shell Building Permit
Hopefully this is enough advanced warning that we can plan accordingly....."
The Guardian would like to point out no developer that has come to Caldwell has received this much fast track service. To that end city officials dragging things out have cost Caldwell the loss of three BIG BOX RETAILERS. Word from developers is Caldwell elected officials would not even take the time to meet with one of the three BIG BOX STORE development people when they came to town. Their comment was "we don't really want $8-$10/hr jobs for Caldwell". (BIG BOX 1, a membership retailer, BOG BOX 2, a building materials retailer, BIG BOX 3 a food and merchandise retaler.)
Millions of your property tax dollars are about to get spent without a vote, any input or oversight. Mayor Nancolas proclaims, Urban Renewal board confirms and we get to pay.
We have governance by Mayoral Proclamation in Caldwell. They do not want nor need voter input on big dollar city projects. Consensus building and voting are not needed in Caldwell. Urban Renewal money is Caldwell property tax dollars diverted to the urban renewal agency. They spend your money with no voter oversight on all of these big dollar projects.
Mayor Nancolas needs to tell us just who asked for TVCC in downtown, how much the project will cost taxpayers and where the money will come from to pay the bills on this project. At this juncture there has been zero taxpayer oversight on this project. No advisory vote as promised in the spring of this year has taken place yet tens of millions will be spent on this project before completion.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 3:43 PM
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN the Mayor is using BLACBALLING and ARM TWISTING to intimidate candidates as well as a local businessman via a former city councilman talking directly to people and making intimidating calls.
The owner of Fiesta Guadalajara restaurant on 10th Avenue got a call from the former councilman and was told that having a banner for candidate running against the incumbent Mayor Nancolas would not be good for his business. A reverse look-up ID'd the caller and his home address.
The Fiesta Guadalajara manager went to the Caldwell Water Department to take care of some water business and was told by the young lady behind the counter city employees would not be eating at his restaurant due to the anti-incumbent banner on his restaurant property.
A city council candidate was told he should not be associating with certain people in the community. "It would not be good for his election efforts if he continued to do so." This statement came from the Mayor to the former city councilor who is working on Mayor Nancolas's reelection effort to the candidate. Slimy, really sort of understates this business and methods.
Strong-arm politics is alive and well in Caldwell.
This election should be about the issues and the records of the incumbents along with what they have or have not accomplished for the citizens of Caldwell.
THE GUARDIAN does not endorse candidates but will post issues as we move forward for this election.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 11:44 AM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Caldwell Planning and Zoning Commissioners met last night and approved a text amendment to the Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency plan. The text change clarifies the equality of of the terms educational facility and college.
The next steps will be to acquire additional properties in downtown Caldwell to meet parking requirements and construct a 30,000 square foot building that will be used by TVCC. The urban renewal agency is in the process of making offers on additional property for parking needs and the TVCC site.
Heard in town about the latest acquisitions about to transpire are everything from the LUBE SHOP east and south of Indian Creek to Blaine. Also on the table is the first of what may be many ordinance changes to the downtown ordinance to allow surface parking withing 150 feet of Indian Creek and other variances. Parking changes are in the hands of P&Z staff per Mr. Waite.
Finance Director, Eljay Waite also spoke to the eventual need for two sites for TVCC in Caldwell. Meanwhile the Sky Ranch Business Park site and $150k in plans remaining in limbo. Mr. Watie said "someday we may build out there". The TVCC site downtown will be at 6th and Arthur on the H&H Heating property once it is purchased from the Hardy family.
Also, brought up at the P&Z meeting was the matter of letting the public weigh in on TVCC for Caldwell. Mr. Waite shared with those in attendance there were not going to be any revenue bonds issued, therefore there would be no advisory vote of the public on this expense by CEURA. Earlier this year Mayor Nancolas indicated in an article written in the IPT an advisory vote for TVCC would take place. No costing data was released by Mr. Waite at the P&Z meeting for the TVCC project as it moves forward in downtown Caldwell.
A lot of old buildings are going to get demolished as this process moves forward. Probably not a bad thing in this respect. Too bad the Urban Renewal people can't seem to let the voters in on their big buck expenditures
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 6:56 AM
Thursday, September 10, 2009
THE GUARDIAN received the following letter from Mr. Eugene Smith of Caldwell. Mr. Smith submitted the below letter to the local paper per their stated requriements. He received a call from the Opinion Page Editor that his letter would not be published.
THE GUARDIAN is publishing Mr. Smith's letter in the spirit of a debate about the issues of the day.
Idaho Press Tribune
1618 Midland Blvd.
Nampa, Idaho 83651
Recently there was an announcement on the radio that business was coming back to downtown Caldwell. Has the attitude toward business by Mayor Nancolas, the City Council, and city department heads changed? If change has occurred, is it because there is an election looming? Those are important questions to ask. A survey of most businessmen in Caldwell would indicate the City of Caldwell is not particularly business friendly and our downtown is dying.
A recent example is the “BIG BOX” retailer who wanted to locate a store just east of the Flying J and new freeway off ramp. Instead of expediting and welcoming this project to our community, city officials stretched the time envelope until it was clear to the retailer that economic conditions had become so negative they could not precede.
Caldwell lost several hundred much needed jobs and a significant amount of tax income. The retailer is moving the project to a nearby community that already has a large expanding retail base.
The real question here is: Are Mayor Nancolas and the incumbent city councilors serious in their attempts to make Caldwell a business friendly community, or is this just another case of election jitters and political smoke and mirrors? They clearly lost sight of the fact that “time is of the essence” with real estate transactions.
It should be obvious to most people business will tend to locate in business friendly environments. The “environment” starts at city hall and how folks are treated when they come to our community. Business friendly environment is something that has been missing in the city of Caldwell for quite some time.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 12:13 PM
Caldwell Planning and Zoning will hold a "special meeting" Monday September 14th to fly this request below the radar of Caldwell Citizens. One has to ask why this request could not wait until the regularly scheduled meeting.
The above graphic shows the layout for TVCC in relationship to the Dept. of Labor building and Thomas Jefferson Charter School and the parking spaces for the TVCC project out at Sky Ranch. Why isn't Team Garret providing the same graphic to the citizens of Caldwell showing the same content. The P&Z meeting on Monday evening at 6:00 PM will be the first of many variances to the downtown ordinance. We like to call it governance by Mayoral Proclamation.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Dear Caldwell Planning and Zoning Commissioners:
I am writing to ask members of the Caldwell Planning and Zoning Commission to deny a request by the Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency to include TVCC as an educational facility per the agenda before you today.
This move by CEURA is a precursor to locating TVCC in downtown Caldwell. If you approve this request it will clear the way for millions of property tax dollars (tax increment on Caldwell property owners) to be spent on a facility that has no room for expansion. Also, parking in downtown is inadequate to accommodate the suggested 800 students that will attend TVCC.
Caldwell Downtown Zone Ordinance says there can be no surface parking within 150 feet of the Indian Creek Corridor as the creek project develops. City ordinance parking schedules call for 8 additional parking spaces per classroom and two per administrative office. Or one additional parking space per 300 square feet of floor space as an alternative.
CEURA presently owns nearly 3 acres in Sky Ranch Business Park in East Caldwell. (CEURA had a ground breaking ceremony last year for TVCC on this property.) TVCC would have access to nearly 900 parking spaces in Sky Ranch via cross access agreements that already exist with the Thomas Jefferson Charter School, an existing park, and the Department of Labor.
CEURA already owns a complete set of architectural plans for a 64,000 square foot facility for the original TVCC project that was to be located in Sky Ranch Business Park. Taxpayers paid $150,000.00 for these plans.
If you approve this request by CEURA they are going to build a structure that will allow TVCC to occupy only 20,000 square feet of space. This is not a plan nor is it a solution to any educational needs of our community. It is, however, an ill conceived project for downtown Caldwell. TVCC downtown is quite simply very poor planning for our community.
I thank your for taking to time to consider this request to Not Approve CEURA’s request in this matter.
Paul L. Alldredge
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 7:50 AM
Monday, September 7, 2009
The Wall Street Journal had a front page article this weekend about the tough choices faced by the State of Michigan due to the implosion of the auto industry. Michigan is now forced to shut down entire prisons and release thousands of inmates.
The United States now has five times more people in jail and prison than they had in the 1970's. The graphic above shows the spike in prison populations since the implementation of the Nixon era WAR ON DRUGS.
California decided to get tough on crime and enacted a three strikes law and you spend the rest of your natural life in prison. They now have people arrested for stealing cookies in prison for life! All due to the get tough on crime legislation they enacted.
Canyon County now spends about $84/day for each inmate in the Canyon County lock up. Voter are going to get the opportunity to vote up or down a jail bond to build a new jail facility. Initially the facility will be about 650 beds. Ultimately it will be built out at 2,000 beds!
The bond measure to build the new jail will cost homeowners and business people $32.94 per $100,000 on net assessed valuation. Operational costs will rise as the population rises.
How much can we afford as a society to keep nonviolent people behind bars? We hope there will be a lot of debate and exchange of ideas and issues as we move toward the bond election for a new jail.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 4:52 PM
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Caldwell East Urban Renewal is calling a special meeting to pass a one agenda item. This will be to let the contract for demolition of the site for TVCC in downtown Caldwell.
Meeting will be held September 8th at high noon to pass the one item agenda on the demolition project.
What is really confusing is the Urban Renewal District owns a large parcel of land out in Sky Ranch where the original site for the TVCC project was going to be constructed. Plenty of land, plenty of parking (900 spaces) in and around the site.
In any event, the old buildings getting cleared away will be a plus for downtown. The haste in all of this is questionable. Worried incumbents want to show some progress, any progress in downtown prior to the election.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 3:58 PM
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Team Garret has deciede after 12 years in office they would like your opinion and the following survery is floating around the internet.
"Good afternoon everyone!
I am on the subcommittee for the Downtown Revitalization Master Framework Plan. All the subcommittee members have been tasked with soliciting ideas and feedback from our peers regarding the revitalization of Downtown Caldwell. If, when you have a few minutes, you could possibly please respond to the following questions and email me your answers I would be most appreciative. Your responses will remain anonymous to the subcommittee as I will not pass on any names.
1. Do we need an event center downtown?
2. Should we have an event company partner with the city to bring events in year round?
3. Do we strive to leverage the Snake River Valley wine opportunities and gather complimentary ideas to foster this business greatly downtown?
4. Please list any ideas you might have on how to improve the 10th Avenue access and perception from the horizon view on the overpass overlooking the downtown core?
5. What are your thoughts on purchasing the old Southwest District Health building, demolishing it and building an outdoor year-round market place?
6. Most important – what are the types of eating, drinking, event, retail establishments that you want in downtown? In other words, what types of places need to be in the downtown for you to spend time in the downtown? Please be as specific as possible.
Answering any or all of these will be most helpful to the subcommittee in coming up with recommendations for a master framework plan.
I thank you in advance for any help you can give me on this. And again, I will keep all responses anonymous. OH, also please feel free to forward and/or print out this email to anyone you know and have them respond to me as well. The more responses the better!"
The above survery did not go out under the Mayor's Signature.
Team Garret is apparently feeling the pressure of the upcomming election as well as the record of nothing happening in downtown for the past 12 years except a five block addition to the city park system and a lot of ticked off property owners in downtown.
This survey is the best they can offer after 12 years of mismanaged opportunity.
We would have hoped a plan would have been determined for downtown by now.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 5:49 PM
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Team Garret and the Urban Renewal crew are ready for the first step in "force feeding" TVCC down the throats of all Caldwell property taxpayers.
A special meeting of Caldwell Planning and Zoning has been scheduled for September 14th at 6:00 PM September 14th to modify the Caldwell Urban Renewal plan to permit TVCC to move forward in Downtown Caldwell. Mayor Nancolas has a photo-op scheduled for the 19th of September at the Indian Creek Festival for everyone to take pictures of sleghammers swinging at old buildings. They want to start breaking ground the first of October before the Mayoral Election this year.
Team Garret is poised to spend millions of your tax dollars on a project that most of the downtown business owners we spoke with do not want TVCC in downtown Caldwell. THE GUARDIAN has spoke with several on this subject and the concerns are parking and if they build it there will be no room for any growth. The project is perceived by these people as a feeble attempt to show progress in downtown without regard to long term viability and enhanced economic development in downtown Caldwell.
We as citizens will get no say in the expense of this project and are getting it shoved down our collective throats with no debate, input or vote on this matter. Mayor Nancolas and Urban Renewal have done everything they can to circumvent any voter input on this project.
No question in the minds of Caldwell business owners, economic development is a priority for downtown but not this project and not without their input.
Foie gras anyone?
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 7:04 PM