Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, March 29, 2012

War on Drugs and Incarceration Nation, $1 Trillion Spent

If you have a copy of TIME MAGAZINE with the pictured cover you might want to read the article by Fareed Zakaria on INCARCERATION NATION, costs and statistics of the war on drugs and the total failure of this effort over the last four decades.  We have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the prisoners.

All you have to do is follow the money trail in the War on Drugs to realize it is a political issue that appeals to liberals as well as conservatives.  State prisons now have a good portion of their prisons ran by private prison companies with powerful lobbyists protecting their interests.  These firms are hailed as great for the economy in places with few other options for employment. Money spent by states has risen six times the amounts spent on education.  It costs on average $8,600 to keep a kid in college and $45,000 to keep someone incarcerated for a year.

We have spent nearly $1 Trillion dollars on the war against drugs over the last four decades.  Nary a dent has been put in the availability traffic and potency of drugs.   According to Adam Gopnik who writes in the New Yorker...." Overall, there are now more people under "correctional supervision' in America- more than 6 million than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height."

Currently, the US has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens in jail or prison.  This is 7-10 times the incarceration rates for any developed country in the world.  Japan has 63/100k, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, Great Britain has 153/100k of population.  In 2009, 1.66 million Americans were arrested on drug charges.

The result of the war on drugs is we are creating huge numbers of prisoner underclass population at a huge cost to taxpayers all in the name of a war we have already lost by any logical measurement of success.  The justice system from arrest to conviction and incarceration costs have created a huge burden for taxpayers.

Canyon County is now looking to build yet more space to incarcerate more of our citizens at a very high cost to county taxpayers.  Recently, they shut down the entire 4th floor of the old jail due to a leaking drain pipe that could have been repaired with a Epoxy/fiberglass liner installed in place. ( )  There is nothing like a capacity crisis to give citizens a reason to build more and more jail space.

The world wide numbers suggest we are fundamentally out of line with our approach to the drug war.  Yet we continue to throw billions at a losing proposition.

Here's a link on a report on the war on drugs

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Commishes Let Cat Out of Bag, Revenue Bonds In Our Future

THE GUARDIAN attended the meeting on the County Campus Master Plan this evening and learned much about what the plan hold for taxpayers.

All three Commissioners gave a short presentation, Comm. Ferdinand gave a historical perspective on how Caldwell became the county seat and how the existing courthouse came to be, Comm. Rule presented the consultant plan for growth and Comm. Alder gave the financing plan to initiate the initial big dollar projects.

The short version is County Commissioners will approach the Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency to issue Revenue Bonds in the amount the county can expect from 2016 through 2022 which will come to about $9.5 Million plus underwriting and interest charges.  The first capital project will be a new Juvenile Detention Facility and a conversion of the current juvenile facility into an 85 bed jail for male inmates.  The juvenile occupancy loading in the current juvenile lockup is averaging about thirty per day over the last couple of years and has trended downward by about 40% from what it was just five years ago.  The new juvenile facility will be located on the corner of 12th and Albany and cost an estimated $1.9 MM.

Next will be a new county administrative office structure built on the current parking lot across from the current courthouse at 1115 Albany Street.  This has an estimated price tag of $8.4MM.  The plan calls for a parking area on the street level under the office building and two stories at 41,000 SF per floor for at least two floors with the footings built to allow for additional floors at a later date.  The Commishes anticipate just using one floor of the new building with the second floor of the office space to remain unfinished until a later date.

The existing courthouse would be converted to courtrooms for judges with the closure of the Nampa Courthouse in discussion mode and to accommodate more judges sent to the county by the State of Idaho.  Also, the Public Defender would occupy space in the existing courthouse.

The prospect of the county budget getting cut by another $2 Million this year with property values and expected revenue tanking to be the budgeting reality.  The current CAP on taxes is making the usual 3% hike in property taxes a no-go deal for budgets for not only the County but for just about all taxing districts.

The main pitch by Comm. Alder was this approach would not raise any taxes but at the same time the expected windfall and reduction in property taxes would not happen if REVENUE BONDS are issued for this expected revenue.  Additionally, there would be no voter approvals on this if CERA agrees to issue revenue bonds for Canyon County.

THE GUARDIAN hopes the Commishes give some consideration to an advisory vote in this matter.  We are talking about spending more than $10 MM of taxpayer dollars.  The public meeting efforts are appreciated but the only way to really know the degree of backing for this is via a vote on the question by those paying the bills.

Caldwell Mayor Nancolas Spending Public Funds

The following is a Letter to the Editor in the IPT  and we are putting it up for your review with permission from Mr. D. L. Maitland.

Nampa Mayor Tom Dale should consult with Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas to really get into the thick of things on how to spend public funds and really look like the good guy.  Mayor Nancolas has a Community Relations Project Fund in his budget for $30,000.00.

These funds are disbursed for such things as sponsoring the Chamber of Commerce luncheons at $500 a pop, three times in 2010, to the DARE girls for a night out at the YMCA in 2010 for $348.00 and for the DARE Boys' night out to the YMCA for $348.00. 

These are just a few examples of how this fund is used.  There are other donations of sponsorship's of all kinds.  Public funds that were spent by this fund in 2010 were over $20,000.00.

I am not saying that funds were spent illegally, but according to former State Attorney General Wayne Kidwell in case No. 78-44 issued on Dec. 19, 1978, his opinion seems to say that this could be an improper use of funds.

I guess what appalled me the most was the Chamber of Commerce accepting these funds.  I naively thought that they stood for free enterprise and less government intervention.

I see in reading a recent edition of the paper that they are going to team up with the city and do studies on how to attract more commercial enterprise for Caldwell.

It is very evident that since 1998 the chamber and our city elected officials seem to have been asleep.  All you need to do is compare the commercial progress that the city of Nampa has made in comparison with what Caldwell has done in this same time, and I think you can get a pretty good picture of what I am talking about.

D. L. Maitland,  Caldwell, Idaho

Thursday, March 22, 2012

County Commishes to Host Growth Plan Meeting

The following is a press release. I hope you will take the time to attend one of these meetings in your local area.  It is all about how your tax dollars are going to get spent moving forward in Canyon County for big ticket projects.

Commissioners To Host Town Hall Meetings Near You
Canyon County Commissioners have scheduled a series of town hall meetings to present and discuss their proposed strategic plan. The proposal was developed after input and research by Carter Goble Lee, an architecture and planning firm based in South Carolina. The strategic plan outlines several phases for dealing with future growth and county needs – including a new juvenile detention center, a new administrative office building, a new adult jail, and future parking areas. “This series of town hall meetings gives the public a firsthand look at possible solutions proposed by planning experts to County growth issues that the elected officials face,” said Commissioner Steve Rule.

The goal of the proposed plan is help ease jail crowding issues, develop more courtroom space, and also make it easier for Canyon County residents to access the services they need. The proposal also centers on keeping county services at the current Caldwell campus, which Commissioners’ believe is essential to gaining the public’s support. “We know that we must provide space for the increasing inmate population and have attempted various plans over the past four years,” said Commissioner David Ferdinand.  “With the new input from Carter Goble Lee, we believe we can utilize property near the courthouse to solve the space needs of the county and resolve the jail needs over the next few years.”

Scheduled Town Hall Meetings

March 26th at 5:00 p.m. -  Nampa City Council Chambers

March 27th at 5:00 p.m. -  Caldwell Police Station

April 2nd at 5:00 p.m. -  Wilder Ambulance Station

April 3rd at 5:00 p.m. -  Melba Senior Center 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Canyon County Commishes Urge to Splurge

We learn this week about the plan to start spending more taxpayer dollars.  THE GUARDIAN broke this story a while back about CEURA sending $10.4 MM of taxpayer cash to Canyon County.  Also mentioned was a new administrative building in the works. The local paper finally dug further and has done a very good job of getting Canyon Commishes on the record as well as the "plan" out to those who will be paying the bills.

Commissioners would not listen to citizens on their choice of jail projects and three bond issues have failed miserably.  Instead of calling in critics of their jail efforts to participate in the process; they paid $50K for yet another consultant to give them a nicely bound document full of very nice photos, charts and diagrams.

Canyon County Commissioners will receive a revenue stream from CEURA in the amount of $1.3 MM a year for eight years when CEURA sunsets in 2014.  They can do anything they wish with this revenue stream and it looks like we're headed for a shiny new county administrative office building costing taxpayers $8.9MM and not voter participation in this decision.  The tone of the article appears they intend to leverage the cash flow from CEURA into and "easy pay plan" in violation of Article 8 Sec. 3 of the Idaho Constitution, rather than use a bond election or waiting until they have the cash to pay in full.  The building will be 41,000 SF and will sit in the current parking lot in front of 1115 Albany St.

Step C of the plan calls for a 65,000 SF addition to the county jail.  It would require demolition and removal of the $3MM recently constructed TENT structure on the corner of 12th and Chicago Streets. The TENT was put up in 2005 and our Commissioners at the time said it would last 30 years.

Commissioners have spent over $2MM for the property out on 20/26 and I-84 and an additional $1MM or so on engineering and plans for this site.  They have mentioned nothing about selling this property before hopscotching to a jail next to the current courthouse.  Add to this is the property owned by the Fair Board out on 20/26 and Madison area.

Public meetings are scheduled for taxpayer inputs and you can read more in the IPT article published this past Thursday.  Here's a link

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HB 495 Dies In Senate Committee Id. Land Board Will Buy Up More Businesses

Bill to stop Land Board business purchases dead after no motion in Senate panel
By Dustin Hurst March 14th, 2012

Deafening and bill-killing silence.

That’s what backers of a bill to stop the state Land Board from buying and running businesses were treated to after testimony concluded on their measure to end the practice. After two days of testimony on House Bill 495, senators killed the measure because no motion was made on the measure.

Committee chair Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, ruled the bill held after a few minutes of silence.

Last year, an identical bill fell on deaf ears when a House committee chair refused to hear it, saying it was not needed. This year, the measure cleared the House on a 63-3 vote before being muted in the Senate panel.

The legislation was pitched by Reps. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, and Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise. In testimony Monday, the duo noted that when the state buys a private business, local governments, including schools, are hurt because the property is taken off tax rolls. Vander Woude, a business owner himself, said that government purchase of businesses unfairly harms the free market because government doesn't pay the same taxes and fees private companies do. “Any business will have a difficult time competing with all these disadvantages against it,” warned Vande Woude.

Vander Woude also opposed the practice on ideological grounds. “What’s the proper role of government?” he asked. “To be in direct competition with the private sector?”

The bill was spurred by the Idaho Department of Lands’ (IDL) 2010 purchase of a commercial storage rental facility in Boise. The business, Affordable Storage, cost the department $2.7 million. The legislation would have forced the agency to sell the business and not buy any more companies.

IDL director Tom Schultz, speaking on behalf of his department and the Land Board, opposed the legislation, explaining that the storage facility purchase meets the panel’s responsibility to maximize returns. While critics have argued commercial properties have returned little more than 1 percent through the last 10 years, Schultz says Affordable Storage has returned about 8 percent since its purchase.

“We’re trying to carry out our constitutional duties,” Schultz said. “The returns on this investment have outpaved anything else that we’ve done.”
The Land Board voted 3-1 last week to oppose the legislation. The panel suggested any legislative attempt to control the board’s authority might be unconstitutional. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden was there in opposition to the legislation, which is key because he could have sued the Legislature over the bill.

Schultz rebuffed criticism that the investment strategy is socialism. “We don’t directly run the businesses,” he said. “That’s all done through third parties. We pay for professional services to run those commercial assets.”
But Jason Hancock, representing Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, the lone dissenter, in the board’s vote, said that allowing the state to buy businesses could be a slippery slope that lawmakers shouldn’t pursue.
To make his point, Hancock suggested the state buy and run some McDonald’s restaurants to make some money. “They seem to make money all the time,” Hancock said. “They never go out of business.”

County Will Get $10.4 Million When Caldwell URA Sunsets In 2014

Caldwell East Urban Renewal will sunset in 2014 and nearly all the cash from diverted property taxes save what is owed for  bonding debts will go back to local taxing districts.  Canyon County will get $1.3 MM a year for the next eight years for a total of $10.4 Million.  The plans for spending this cash are already in the mill.

THE GUARDIAN received a copy of the plan and here is a summary of
"Option 1":

1.  Consolidate Nampa Annex Court in Caldwell Courthouse

2.  Relocate 25,255 SF for Commissioners, Treasurer, Assessor and Development Services to lease space and renovate vacated space for Courts.  A new building is going to be built in the current parking lot in front of 1115 Albany.  This will eat up a substantial portion of the $10.4 MM

3. Construct a new 45 bed Juvenile Detention Facility on site adjacent to existing Juvenile facility. Cost will be something less than $1MM.

4.  Old juvenile facility to become an adult women's detention unit.  Costs to be determined.

5.  Tear down the existing maintenance shop and combine this into the Fleet Complex area.

Anyone interested in the full PDF of this is welcome to ask for it via a public records request to Canyon County.  You will need to ask for ... Canyon County Government/Justice Facility Master Planning Presentation Materials dated Friday, January 20, 2011.  It is a power point program with 40 slides and over 6 mb in size.  Here's a link to the County website page.  Use the County Commissioners records request and not the one for the Sheriff

Sunday, March 11, 2012

School Levy Elections Tuesday March 13

Sunday, March 11th, Taken from the Boise Guardian by David R. Frazier

A bunch of school levy elections set for Tuesday because the Idaho Legislature has shifted much of the cost of education to property owners while proclaiming legislators have “held the line” on tax hikes. They may have held the line, but only with a massive tax shift back to local school districts.

While there is plenty of room to manipulate the figures, we were struck that annual per–pupil expenditures ranged from $4,769 in Meridian to $7,733 in Caldwell. Boise School District spends $7,400 per student. Which begs the questions: “Are Caldwell kids nearly twice as smart as Meridian’s students? OR “Are Meridian’s administrators nearly twice as efficient as Boise’s?”
Our constitution and laws are intended to leave the education of our students and administration of public schools up to “local control.” Board members serve without pay and administer budgets equal to the cities and counties in which they exist.
Here's a link to the Statesman story on school bond elections and financial data...

Here's another link from the Boise Weekly on School District Financial and student data and probably one of the best of the lot.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tom Dale Entertains City Employees With Lunch On Taxpayers

THE GUARDIAN read in the IPT today Tom Dale thinks buying lunch for Nampa City employees at his February state of the city address.  City Councilman Bob Henry has raised concerns about spending $1,500.00 of taxpayer money for 102 city employees to have lunch on Nampa taxpayers.

The City of Caldwell used to host a Christmas dinner party for Caldwell City employees to the tune of $10,000.00 until THE GUARDIAN pointed out Idaho Attorney General Opinion 78-44 states:

"Question Presented:
     You asked if it was proper for public employees to use public funds for expendatures for Christmas parties

     Without express authority, a municipal corporation smay not appropriate the public revenue for celebrations, entertainments, sports and games, etc. Such power cannot be implied, McQuillin on Municipal Corporations, Vol. 18, ss39.22, p55."

The City of Caldwell has wisely ceased any spending of pubic monies for Christmas parties and other functions like the State of the City Address by Mayor Nancolas when AG Opinion 78-44 was pointed out to city officials.  Meanwhile Mayor Dale has exempted himself from following the Idaho Attorney General Opinion on use of public tax dollars for parties.

Nampa Councilman Bob Henry's instincts are correct in this matter as well as his observations about funding city employees lunch at taxpayer expense is just plain wrong.  THE GUARDIAN would like to applaud Councilman Henry's observation on a free lunch for Nampa City employees is simply not the right thing to do nor is it the right message to be sending to taxpayers.  

Here's a link to the IPT story on the $1,500.00 lunch:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

US NAVY Will Give Breathalyzer Tests to Sailors

Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, has announced the 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative.  Secretary Mabus has recognized the sophistication of the Navy and Marine Corps has made it necessary to take action with respect to alcohol, drugs and tobacco usage.

It was first noted yesterday and again in the Wall Street Journal today, the new initiative will top require drug and alcohol testing of all Naval personnel.  Added to this will be a cessation of cheap smokes sold on base exchanges. (Back in the day when I was in the Navy, smokes were $1.10/carton. Today they sell for around 5% less than the going rate locally.)

SECNAV, Mabus noted in the article 13-20% of Commanding Officer firings were related to alcohol.  Also, a part of the 21st Century program will be smoking cessation programs for those wishing to quit smoking.  Alcohol consumption in a responsible manner by those of a legal age will not be a part of this program.  Synthetic marijuana as well as all illegal drugs will be a focus of the program via urine testing.  The sophistication and need for personnel to be at their best will be the focus of the program.

Note: In the article it references a 10 month deployment of USS Battan,  the ship was not at sea that long just away from home port that long.  A real strain on family and personal lives of the these service members. Normal time at sea was around 60-70 days years ago before we hit a port for some decompression time.  Shipboard days can add up to 18 hours a day and can be a real grind.

Here's a link for more info...

$2.75 MM School Bond Election Tuesday March 13th

There will be a school bond election for just about all the school districts on Tuesday March 13, 2012.  I went to the Canyon County Elections site and copied the following information for Caldwell School District 132:

Shall the Board of Trustees of School District No. 132, Canyon County, State of Idaho, be authorized and empowered to levy a Supplemental Maintenance and Operation Levy in the amount of $2,750,000.00 (Two Million Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars and no 100/cents) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013 and again for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 for the purpose in each fiscal year of supplementing the maintenance and operation expenses of the
District in each of said two fiscal years, all as provided in the Resolution adopted by the Board of Trustees on January 09, 2012?

There is also a recall issue for Trustee Sheila Harris on the ballot for those living in Ms. Harris Trustee Zone.

Amounts vary by school district for the amount of supplemental M&O funds. All school bond elections happen on March 13th. 

You can vote early at the County Elections office at the corner of Chicago and 11th Ave. behind the Canyon County Courthouse.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

V.E.T. Guest Opinion (Emissions Testing)

The following is a guest opinion by Guardian Reader Kim Blough on Vehicle Emissions Testing:
I can unequivocally state that the current Idaho vehicle emission testing and/or repairing cannot and will not reduce CO2 and VOC emission from ANY automobile.

It is physically impossible to do so because of the immutable chemical products of burning gasoline in automobiles.

You can see from the graph, It is chemically impossible to reduce hydrocarbon (HC), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Di-oxygen (02) gases to their lowest levels without causing the very highest production levels of Carbon Dioxide (C02).

Each time an automobile is tested not mixing fuel and air at the stoichiometrically optimum ratio of 14.7 pounds of air to 1 pound of gasoline, (a failing test), this tested vehicle is physically emitting higher levels of the first three gases, and LESS CO2!!!

This occurs on both sides of the mixture equation, from rich (less air per fixed pound of fuel), to lean (excess air per pound of fuel).

The targeted goal of EPA/DEQ is to REDUCE CO2 emission levels, which means each time a automobile which fails its emission test is "repaired", the automobile's previously lower CO2 emission level is INCREASED to the very highest level that it can be.

Each "repaired" automobile is now contributing MORE not LESS CO2 to the atmosphere and airshed (all the air we breathe locally).

Testing and subsequent repair only guarantees that the final result will be overall HIGHER CO2 emissions. The legislature never heard testimony from DEQ/EPA prior to "decisively passing" this law, despite the fact they were in possession of such information. Data based information was deliberately left out of the mix because it does not support the need for such a VET law in the first place.

I presented this information to a meeting held in the Canyon County Court house last year which was attended by all DEQ and EPA personnel. Not one person charged with overseeing this law disagreed or took any exception to my presentation regarding the chemistry and physics of this matter.

This law needs to be repealed, not reviewed every five years!!! Band-aid attempts to soften the financial burden of this defective law is a step in the right direction.

Even if we shut off ALL the cars which travel between Canyon and Ada Counties, it would still be impossible to effect more than a small fraction of the targeted CO2 decrease hoped for by these agencies. The airshed involved encompasses several counties, not just Canyon County.

Kim Blough

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Caucus Night for Republicans Tuesday March 6th, 2012

Just a reminder for those who wish to support a candidate for President.  No more voting in the primary for a Presidential Candidate in Idaho.  You will have to go to the Idaho Center (depending on where you live) to join the fray in a caucus effort to arrive at a candidate for President.

Please bear in mind the doors will close at 7:00PM sharp by someones official time piece and late comers will not be allowed to enter.  So this means you need to get there by around 6:30PM and lay claim to your seat.  It may be a night fraught with all manner of confusion given this is the first time for this kind of event in Idaho.

It is too bad Idaho Repubs. have gone to this format to select a Presidential candidate as it will exclude a lot of people who rely on voting at a local polling place.  It will probably take several hours to get this process completed and the usual voting in a primary election is pretty much a quick effort at a local polling place.  A caucus cuts a lot of people out of the process like deployed service members, disabled and those who simply can't dedicate several hours to this effort.   On the plus side candidate ads and trips to Idaho have been noted.

Late note:  It was noted in the IPT today they will not be closing the doors promptly at 7:00PM but at some point they will close the doors and get things underway tonight.

Caldwell City Councilman Jim Dakan Resigns

THE GUARDIAN would like to let everyone know Councilman Jim Dakan has resigned from the Caldwell City Council.  Mayor Nancolas is accepting letters of interest for the position held by Mr. Dakan.

The term of appointment will run until December 31, 2013 to fill the remainder of Dakan's term.  That means the appointee would have to stand for election in the Fall of 2013 but could run as an incumbent and it is no secret it is an uphill battle to beat an incumbent.

We tip our hat and would like to thank Councilman Dakan for his 20 years of service to Caldwell as a City Councilor as well as Mayor from 1990 to 1994.

A reception for Councilman Dakan will be held Monday at the regular City Council meeting time 7:00PM.