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Monday, October 31, 2011

Kent Marmon Candidate for Caldwell City Council Response To Guardian

I am offering all candidates one last shot at getting information about themselves out to voters prior to the Nov. 8th election.  Kent Marmon is the first to respond to this offer.  Again, THE GUARDIAN DOES NOT ENDORSE CANDIDATES but anything I can do to get more voter participation in the process is worth the effort.

I am a candidate that the Idaho Press-Tribune didn’t even mention – good, bad or otherwise – in their endorsement editorial on Sunday.  I’m Kent Marmon, one of the three candidates running for Seat 4 on the Caldwell City Council.

Unlike the candidate they endorsed I:
ê am a native and life-long resident of Caldwell;
ê have been actively involved in volunteer service activities all my life, giving back to
    my community;
ê owned and operated a small business, so I understand their challenges and needs;
ê have served as a member of the Caldwell City Council, and was a member of the
    Finance Committee, responsible for drafting the budget (during lean financial times),
    that was unanimously approved by the Council;
ê have tackled complex projects including finding a solution to the woes of one of the
    several Irrigation Districts, working to find a workable, long-lasting solution;
ê know the limitations placed on city government by state and federal governments,
    and would not make campaign promises that can’t be kept when authority to make
    many of those changes must be approved by the Legislature;
ê understand that property taxes can’t be lowered at the same time that “debt” is being
    paid off without cutting services or programs that the people of Caldwell want;
ê believe that City government is expected to provide more than just fire and police
    protection, clean drinking water and sewage treatment services;
ê understand that some “regulations” can’t simply be removed by the City when they
    are set by the Legislature, Congress and by International Fire and Building Codes;
ê know that you can’t fund animal control without mandatory licensing or by creating a
    line item in the budget that everyone has to help pay;
ê am opposed to a City Manager form of government, where the administrator is not
    accountable to the people.

You can learn more about me, and what I have to offer the people of Caldwell by visiting my website at  I welcome questions, comments and suggestions by email at, or by phone at 841-3850.

I hope you’ll let me go to work for you by electing me to the Caldwell City Council on November 8th!  Don’t let an Editorial Board made up by mostly Nampa residents convince you to “rubber stamp” their choices on Election Day!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mayors, Property Taxes, Rubber Stamp City Councils And Endorsements In Sunday IPT

We have watched over the years as the Idaho Press Tribune has routinely endorsed incumbents seeing no need to change business as usual but that is not the case this year.  It was surprising to see who did and did not get the endorsements from the IPT this time around.  The Editorial Board has endorsed candidates who they feel will best deal with reduced tax revenue going forward, Mayors who have stacked the deck on their city councils with "rubber stamp" members, and question big dollar projects taken on without voter approvals was also addressed by the IPT Editorial Board members.  Business as usual has clearly been called into question by the IPT this time around.

The IPT Editorial Board did a lot of vetting of candidate statements and information and the issues facing voters this time around.  They even nailed down the property taxes paid by property owners in terms we can all understand.  Caldwell has the highest rate at $11/$1k of assessed value with Nampa running a close Second Place in this effort at $10/$1k of assessed value.  Why is this important?  Simple, Meridian and Kuna are out there at $7/$1k of assessed value.  Mayors Nancolas and Dale can sing their little hearts out but the cold facts of business decisions  take Caldwell's 57% and Nampa's 42.8% higher property taxes into account when deciding where to locate their businesses.

Here's a LINK   to the IPT Opinion Page Sunday Edition.

(I have to confess I am a print news junkie.  This Sunday seeing endorsements for people running against incumbents was a pleasant surprise.  It takes a lot of time, money and effort to run for any public office and to see the paper endorse the folks running against the status quo made my Sunday morning just that much more interesting.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One More Opportunity for Candidates To Say What They Didn't Get To Say At Forums

We want to give candidates running for city council in Caldwell and Nampa what may be a last opportunity to say something to voters prior to the election.  Sort of a "I wish I had said this or that at the candidate forums but I didn't think of it or I got timed out by the moderator.  I will be moderating the comments to keep everything above the belt.  No low blows allowed.

THE GUARDIAN blog does not endorse candidates but does encourage candidates and voters to become informed as we move to election day.  Also, comments are encouraged moving forward to election day.  Candidates can send me their stuff to my email address along with their phone numbers so I can verify the content is from a candidate.  I will leave your phone number off the blog.

It is amazing to me so many people are fighting in the Arab world to get the right to participate in the election process and here voter turnout will be abysmal.  Most of us have no impact with our vote at the federal level but it really does count at the local level. Just a few votes will separate winners and losers in this off year election.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mayor's Daughter Indeed Did Move Business To Eagle

We read with interest the three essays of candidates for Caldwell City Council yesterday in the Idaho Press Tribune.  An observation in a essay written by Mr. Rem Fox jumped out at THE GUARDIAN. Business is so good in Caldwell the Mayor's daughter has closed up a juice and coffee shop business in Caldwell and has moved to the fair City of Eagle.

The juice business was handed over to Mayor Nancolas' daughter last year when the former operator moved downtown to take over the coffee and sandwich shop in TVCC.  The operator at the TVCC operation closed up shop for reasons not known and did not renew the lease from Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency for this academic year.  This year there is a new operator for the TVCC food service operation.  However, the Mayor's daughter vacated the premises of the business that was handed over to her and is now in Eagle trying to make a go of it.  Not even the Mayor's daughter could make a go of it in Caldwell .

Economic development and opportunity in Caldwell appears to not be as good as Mayor Nancolas has professed.  Caldwell's pied piper of good news missed the mark again.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Candidate Navigator on Idaho Press Tribune Webpage

All right folks, we now have the very first candidate navigator posted by the good people at the Idaho Press Tribune.  I tried it out and the results came out pretty much to who we will be voting for come election day.  Here's the link ELECTION NAVIGATOR it will take you about 15 minutes to go through it to read all the responses and place your marks by the comments you agree.  It is pretty easy to figure out the incumbents and some of the challengers have cited their websites in the answers but none the less it is helpful to become a more informed voter.  We are pleased to see a lot of the questions dealing with Urban Renewal and other issues of importance to voters.

There are also audio and videos of the candidates.  Essays by the candidates will also be posted on the IPT website in the near term.

THE GUARDIAN hopes the good people at the IPT don't mind me sending me to their website.  I thank them for making the effort to better inform voters.

Also, it is important to remember you can vote early at the Canyon County elections office and generally the City Clerks have ballots and a secure ballot box for all early voting. ballots. You can also get an absentee ballot request on the County elections website or simply request one in writing with your signature and return address info.

Friday, October 21, 2011

CEURA Funding of Business Recruitment & Expansion Project a Question Mark

A group of citizens from Economic Development group in Caldwell approached Caldwell East Urban Renewal for funding of a blight removal project in downtown Caldwell.  Below is a copy of the response motion in this matter from CEURA, the urban renewal agency for Caldwell:

"Update on downtown development concept from Business Recruitment & Expansion
Committee (“BR&E”) presented by Steve Fultz. The BR&E Committee met with developers
and various consultants to develop a proposed incentive package for a mixed use development
in downtown Caldwell. The incentive package includes potential URA funding up to
$1,000,000 through URA’s Business Incentive Grant incentive program that is currently
available. BR&E is requesting a commitment letter from URA to include in the developer
incentive package.
URA commissioners clarified that Urban Renewal can provide incentive dollars for economic
development, but can’t buy property to give to a developer. The incentive program currently in
place is available to a developer if job creation and other required criteria are met. The
commissioners further clarified that tax revenues continue to decrease and, while the URA
Board of Commissioners has every intention of continuing the Business Incentive Grant
program that is currently in place, the board is not able to guarantee that the program will be
available for the next four years. All commissioners indicated support of the project and a
desire to assist where appropriate and fiscally able.
Page 2 of 3
Motion to draft a letter in support of the project and offer potential funding through the
Business Incentive Grant program currently in place, noting that the program operates on a
year-to-year basis and that it is the intent of the current Board of Commissioners to continue
funding this program for the next four years as the budget allows: Hopper/Hardin M/S/P"
(here's a link to CEURA minutes)

The tea leaves in this case suggest no funding for the project by CEURA.  Urban Renewal laws were created by the Idaho Legislature to deal with blight in dilapidated cities in Idaho.  The reality is quite a different story when you look at where all the property tax money deferred to UR actually went over the lives of these agencies.  It is and will remain a loophole for cities to skirt bond elections until the legislature puts a permanent fix to this problem.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

YES..There Won't Be A Roundabout At 10th Avenue and Ustick Rd.

There is a rumor floating around town about a roundabout going in at 10th and Ustick.  One of our good people at Caldwell City Hall has asked THE GUARDIAN to help quash this rumor.  City Engineering and Streets just put in a very nice signalized intersection at 10th and Ustick and have no plans in the near or distant future to put a roundabout at this intersection.

Additionally, we would offer to our good readers there are finite limits  ( nice word for maximums) to the amounts of vehicles a roundabout can handle and the traffic projections for 10th and Ustick are way above the inherent limits of a roundabout.  Depending on which guru you subscribe to the limits of a roundabout is in the neighborhood of 20k-25k vehicles per day.

We know there are several other intersections getting consideration for roundabouts like Florida and Ustick and perhaps Indiana and Ustick but at this point it all exists as a wish list by City Engineering and Streets.  Caldwell is out of money with the fact they are up against the TAX CAP imposed by the state legislature on property taxation.   You can look forward to other means of increasing revenue to the city via increases in enterprise funds like we just had with water, sewer and trash rate increases.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dog at large and licensing issues for dogs a Misdemeanor?

It has come to the attention of THE GUARDIAN our fair City of Caldwell is contemplating making some regulations about dogs misdemeanors.

"1. Consider the DRAFT “Canine Licensing” Ordinance and set the public hearing date for 
Monday, October 17, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. during the Regular City Council Meeting. "  (Taken from October 3rd City Council Agenda)

  If your dog is unlicensed or at large in your neighborhood or any other issue you could be facing misdemeanor charges.  This means you will find yourself in front of a judge with all manner of ancillary costs for court costs, fines and possibly probation if the Judge deems it proper.  We have not seen the ordinance but we have serious reservations about the Misdemeanor aspects of the draft ordinance.

Dismantling of the County Animal Shelter operation into private hands has opened a whole list of things that will have to be enacted in Caldwell regarding animal control.  We got wind last week the County is probably going to hand over an animal control pickup truck to Caldwell as it has become surplus property. 

Without some kind of enforcement of animal control laws things can spin out of control very quickly.  THE GUARDIAN supports animal control laws but not as MISDEMEANORS.  This approach will do nothing but clog courts with petty issues.  Infractions are a much better way to deal with this aspect of dog law enforcement.  Dog licensing fees should go to pay for the program.  There is no better way to get a lost dog back than having the dog licensed.  It also assures the animal has been kept up to date on rabies vaccinations and the dog gets a "well dog exam" when taken to the vet every three years to get that rabies shot.

In the final analysis laws are no better than the enforcement on one side and the voluntary compliance on the other.  Do we want to make otherwise law abiding citizens criminals over dog licensing?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Urban Renewal Question Best Answer..Bob Henry of Nampa

We would like to thank the Idaho Press Tribune for asking city council candidates questions about URBAN RENEWAL. THE GUARDIAN went online to see candidate answers (long version) regarding urban renewal.

The candidate with the best answer award goes to Bob Henry of Nampa.  The short version of the main question:
How would cities do projects without urban renewal?  They would have to go to voters and ask permission via a bond election.  We also liked the response from Mr. Kren who is also a supporter of asking permission of voters when it comes to spending millions of their tax dollars for big ticket projects.

Mr. Henry's answer:

Bob Henry
"How would cities do projects like Nampa's new public safety building or Caldwell's Indian Creek project without urban renewal, or should they be done at all?

It's simple. Go to the voters and ask them to pass a bond. During the twelve years I was on the School Board, we needed to ask the voters several times for approval of bonds to build new schools, we were never turned down. The citizens of Nampa have a history of approving bonds if they feel the need is great. One additional benefit of going to the voters for approval is that the bond must be very specific. If the citizens had approved a bond to build a library, a library would have been built, not a public safety building. As a side note,when the old URD was retired, the leaders went to the voters and asked for a bond to fix Garrity and Kings Corner. The bond passed the very first time. 

How do you respond to residents who say urban renewal ultimately raises their taxes since it takes revenue away from other city needs?
I agree that it does. There is no magic money pot from which urban renewal money comes. The money that is diverted to urban renewal is money that is not available for the city to use for its other obligations. There are those who say that an URD is less expensive over the life of the District because of the interest savings over bonding. That would be an accurate statement except the Nampa URD approved bonding for the public safety building. They are now paying off the bond, including interest. This is no different than if the voters had approved a bond, except the voters didn't get to vote.

If you could change how urban renewal operates, what changes would you make?

I would require that in order for an Urban Renewal District to be formed it must be voted on and approved by a super majority of the affected population. Also, the City Council would have to be very specific on what projects would be funded by the URD and neither the City Council nor any newly formed URD Board would have the authority to change projects.

Do you think urban renewal is a benefit or a liability for your community? Please explain.

I think ultimately it's a liability. Look at our tax rate compared to the surrounding communities. One of the reasons our tax rate has increased so much over the past three years is the diversion of tax dollars to the Urban Renewal District. There are only two options available for a city to replace tax dollars lost to the URD; cut expenses or raise the levy rate, Nampa has chosen the latter. As a citizen, I find it extremely frustrating that three City Council members voted to form an urban renewal district with the clear intent to build a new library, and then, after the district was formed, changed their minds and are constructing a public safety building. Not only is that wrong, but it also fuels mistrust people have of elected officials."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Justin Harrison Running for Nampa City Council Seat

Election day this year is Tuesday November 8th.  You can vote early clear up to the Friday before the election date at the County Elections Office 11th and Chicago St. in Caldwell.

Mr. Harrison is employed by Idaho Water Sports and is active in trying to keep Lake Lowell open to boaters and recreational use.

THE GUARDIAN received the following information from Justin Harrison who is running for City Council in Nampa:

Common sense objective decisions based on rational thought. That will be my platform. My opponents will say that I don't have the Knowledge and experience that I need. During my years as a master mechanic I learned that it impossible to know everything. Anyone that tells you they know it all, doesn't. What is necessary is the ability to find Information, process it and make decisions based on rules and facts.
 My mother and grandmother were born in Idaho. My dad was a licensed backcountry guide here for 40 years. Although I wasn't born here, I have hunted Idaho all my life. I love this state and will do my best to keep it "Idaho Style". I moved to the Treasure Valley in 1990. I have worked in Nampa for 8 yrs and lived here for five.
I am going to start a list of bullet points regarding my thinking. If anyone has a question for me, feel free to call 208-695-4471. Thanks, Get out and VOTE!

All political positions should have a 2 term limit.
Career politicians should not exist.
Nampa needs a 6 chair council.
Lake Lowell and recreation are top priorities for me.
Government should not compete with private business.
I love sports and competition.
I coached softball for over ten years.
I am not afraid to say what needs to be said.

Thanks, Justin Harrison

All Candidates Invited to Post Their Message To Voters

THE GUARDIAN has received inquiries about candidates for city council from cities other than Caldwell posting their information on THE CALDWELL GUARDIAN.  All candidates running for office in any city or county election in Canyon County is welcome to submit election information.  My only guideline is that it be less than 500 words or less and a single photo of your choice is welcome.  Also, I will ask that it be kept to the issues.  You can send it to my email address

Last time this offer was extended there was some confusion that it was limited to just Caldwell candidates and I apologize for that misunderstanding.  I will make no endorsements of any candidates.  On any given month THE GUARDIAN gets between 2,000-2,900 hits/month. This is my effort to get voters informed about candidates and issues at no charge to candidates.  If you know someone running for office please pass this open invitation to them.