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Letters to the editor image — Idaho Press

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Just like every other business, Idaho farmers rely on modern technology to help them be successful. The backbone of the technology needed to run a business like a farm is reliable broadband service that provides for high-speed internet access. Increased access to reliable broadband service enables farmers to use modern technology to more efficiently and effectively raise their crops, helping Idaho farmers stay in business. Of greater importance to Idaho farmers, however, is future generations of our kids. By increasing access to reliable high-speed internet through increased broadband infrastructure, we can help rural Idaho kids to stay in or come back to Idaho, allowing them to have the lives and careers they deserve from wherever they live.

Idaho is the 39th most connected state in the U.S. and ranked the third slowest average internet speeds in the nation. Bridging this digital divide is necessary for Idaho farmers to stay in business and keep Idaho kids right here in Idaho. Many community leaders have come together to launch Imagine Idaho, an effort designed at increasing awareness of the importance of broadband and promoting policies that help Idaho's ability to expand broadband infrastructure in a pro-competitive way. I encourage others to join this important effort to ensure that every Idahoan has access to reliable broadband that will allow all Idahoans to live, learn and work anywhere in our great state.

Nick Robinson, Oakley


I’m a Boise citizen writing to refocus the conversation about Interfaith Sanctuary’s (IFS) proposed move to W. State Street.

Interfaith Sanctuary is Goliath, Boise citizens are David in this story. IFS has a connected Board, and considerable wealth when compared to similar organizations. IFS is pushing through a project that brings a mega shelter to our Boise community that doesn’t have to follow best practices or reporting guidelines. IFS has more funding, access to City officials, legal representation, and the media than any citizen group. All neighborhoods in Boise should be against a mega shelter at their doorstep pushed by a powerful organization. IFS is bullying its way through our citizens and neighborhoods. This is a true David vs. Goliath story.

The negative impacts of IFS are very evident to the surrounding area, and must be discussed. Look at the current IFS locations, and all the streets, paths, and parks in between. We see the negative impacts of IFS to the surrounding community. These negative impacts must be discussed. Do any of us in Boise want to see that negative impact grow or be moved to a more residential area? Take a walk, bike, or drive through the current IFS area, you will see the negative impacts and ask the question…. Does this belong anywhere in Boise? What is it about the way that IFS attracts and serves guests that makes their negative impact to the surrounding area so much more noticeable than other organizations?

Clay Elkin, Boise


What’s one of the best ways to end this pandemic faster? Increasing global access to safe and effective vaccines.

Research from Northeastern University shows that vaccine hoarding and inequitable vaccine distribution could lead to twice as many COVID-19 deaths. That’s why it’s so important that Senator Risch, Senator Crapo, and Representative Fulcher support global efforts to distribute vaccines and invest at least $20 billion in fighting COVID-19 globally, including funding for proven health programs like the Global Fund and CEPI.

Regardless of whether you live in Meridian or Mogadishu we’re all in this fight together. To end this pandemic, the US must help ensure that first responders and at-risk populations have priority access to vaccines. Promoting global access to COVID-19 vaccines isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do to end this pandemic as quickly as possible here in the United States and around the world.

As Congress considers the next COVID-19 emergency relief bill, I hope Senator Risch, Senator Crapo, and Representative Fulcher will support at least $20 billion in global COVID-19 resources that are essential to reopening the global economy and ending this pandemic everywhere.

Ali Escalante, Boise


Idaho values. Our governor, state and federal legislators keep repeating that statement. From my observation here are some of those values.

Deny citizens affordable healthcare. [ while we pay for theirs. ]

Deny students a quality education.

Deny people a livable wage.

Give tax breaks to big business, and the wealthy. The rest of us aren't worthy.

Pass legislation that reeks of self indulged power hungry bullies.

Legalize usury in the form of payday and car title loans. Some states and most countries view this type of business as illegal and immoral. These businesses do nothing more than use predatory capitalism to keep the poor in perpetual bondage. I'll wager that most people who own such a business call themselves Christians. These types of legislation and businesses are a perfect example of our legislators never ending greedy desire for power and to force everyone to live by their "values." Which appear to me as a terrible example of what a human should be.

I took the liberty of writing an ad you retrumplicans could use if you were recruiting for legislative positions to mirror your "values."

Seeking: White, pompous, arrogant, hypocrite, fact denying, racist lying thief. Must not have a conscience, integrity, empathy, or decency. Completely lacking any moral fiber a big plus.

Scholars, scientists, non-racist teachers, artists, free thinkers, or persons who use facts, reality and truth need not apply.

All of you people who moved to Idaho to get away from crooked lying politicians, and the good ol' boy system I'm sure will soon see that the only difference is they call themselves a different name here. This state is a perfect example of what happens when one party rules. The only thing they care about is power, and lining their own pockets. Peace out.

Paul Schooley, Boise


For years, we Boiseans have been represented on the City Council by those who live basically within spitting distance of each other, the North and East Ends. Those council people never wanted to create districts by geography. So finally, the legislature in 2020 changed the law to require cities over 100,000 to have geographic districts.

But now, S1111 puts that effort on hold for two more years AND allows those elected who don’t live in the new district to serve another two years pushing it out to 2025! The reason? The census results are delayed. But will it really make that much of a difference to do it now? Hardly. Only Boise would be covered by the 2020 statute change. Meridian and Nampa would automatically change when they receive their census results.

Putting together a district map isn’t rocket science. All one has to do is carve out six contiguous compact districts and then adjust precincts to allow for a population deviation of no more than 10% but ideally zero. When the 2020 census results come out, the district populations could be tallied up and precincts adjusted. It’s just math.

I don’t know why the legislature is contemplating doing this. I know why the Boise Council wants to delay as long as possible, it fixes things in place without having to change and provide representation to ALL parts of the city. In fact, they haven’t taken any steps as yet to comply with the 2020 law.

Legislators are required to be elected from a geographic district as well as County Commissioners and in Ada County, ACHD Commissioners. Even the West Ada School district has geographic boundaries. Shouldn’t we expect the same of the largest city in Idaho?

The Senate State Affairs Committee should just say no to S1111.

Sara Baker, Boise


Representative Steve Harris, R-Meridian, proposes to reduce income taxes for all but the poorest Idahoans by 4 tenths of 1%. That means I could pay $200 less, which is what I pay for my morning coffee and this newspaper. Yet, Republican politicians insist we're all pleading for relief! Well, we are, but I bet you a dollar you're way more concerned about your property taxes! Will you please reflect with me for a moment on what may be called the Rush Limbaugh (may he rest in peace) and Fox news view of government...."Smaller government is better." "Government can't do anything right." "Government wastes too much money." Such assertions promote defunding government. Representative Harris's income tax and sales tax reduction bill more than pays homage to these classic national Republican themes, But you know, I think that if Idaho's aristocracy did not pay the same income tax rates as Idaho's store clerks, which they do, our schools could teach more industrial arts and we could fix our roads without having the taxes on our overpriced dwellings raised every year.

Gordon Counsil, Caldwell


Senator Vick's bill would make it virtually impossible for any grassroots initiative to qualify for the ballot. (note: it is already extremely difficult to qualify an initiative for the ballot in Idaho. It requires signatures from 6% of registered voters in each of 18 districts. Senator Vick's bill would increase the number of required districts from 18 to 35.)

The ballot initiative is the constitutional right of every Idaho citizen. It’s a right that was enshrined in our state constitution over a century ago to give ordinary citizens a voice in their government. Senator Vick's bill amounts to an attempt to revoke one of our most cherished constitutional rights.

Senator Vick is wrong to assert that rural voters don't currently have a voice in the initiative process.

John Ponath, Caldwell


Some legislators want to require groups proposing initiative petitions to gather signatures from six percent of registered voters in all 35 legislative districts, rather than the 18 districts now required.

Only one initiative campaign, Medicaid expansion, has been successful since the current law was passed eight years ago. Before that, with easier signature requirements, only a few were passed.

Perhaps it would be better to pass a joint resolution to repeal Article III, section 1, paragraph 3 of the Idaho Constitution, which says “The people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and enact the same at the polls independent of the legislature. This power is known as the initiative, and legal voters may, under such conditions and in such manner as may be provided by acts of the legislature, initiate any desired legislation and cause the same to be submitted to the vote of the people at a general election for their approval or rejection.”

This joint resolution would be submitted to the voters for their approval or rejection at the 2022 general election. It would give the people the right to determine if they want to continue to create legislation independent of the legislature.

Elinor Chehey, Boise

Citizens' voice

In 2017 Idaho citizens gathered the signatures necessary to put a citizens initiative to expand Medicaid on the 2018 ballot which provided healthcare for thousands of Idahoans. It should be noted this took place after many years during which our legislators, on a yearly basis, refused to address the Medicaid expansion and healthcare of our fellow citizens.

The entire process of this initiative, including signatures and voter education, was a tremendous act of good citizenship on the part of Idahoans working for Idahoans when their legislators would not, and the expansion succeeded with 61% of Idaho citizens voting it into law.

In 2019, despite the fact that the right to form citizens initiatives is a part of our Idaho Constitution, Idaho legislators passed SB 1159, a bill that would make an arduous task nearly impossible. SB 1159 passed both the Senate and the House along party lines and to his credit, it was vetoed by our Governor Little.

On February 12th, Senator Vick introduced S1110 to make citizen initiatives even more difficult for us and included an “emergency” clause to put the bill in effect upon passing. They have sworn to support the Constitution of the State of Idaho and have decided to ignore their oath.

Let them know their disregard for our rights and disrespect of our Constitution to disenfranchise future citizen initiatives will not be tolerated.

If you need contact information for your Idaho legislators you can call 208-332-1000 or toll free and hearing impaired at 800-626-0471.

Idaho needs your voice to remain Idaho for it’s citizens, not for the whims of legislators.

Mary McLaughlin, West Magic


Thank you to Alexis Rutter (Nampa) for her "Writing" letter in the Sunday 14 February 2021 newspaper. I agree 100%, especially the "me" versus "I" usage. To make it easy, say the sentence "I had a good English teacher", then say "me had a good English teacher." Apply this simple idea before speaking and you will speak correctly. That is how I was taught proper grammar while in grade school in the 1950's.

Lucile Summerlin, Nampa

We the people

It’s “We the People”, not “We the Legislature”. People vote for legislators to represent their interests. When those interests are dismissed or ignored, the PEOPLE have the right to appeal. A ballot initiative should be difficult. However, it should not be impossible. Gathering signatures of 6% of the voters in 18 countries is a tremendous hurdle that could never be successful unless the PEOPLE see it as their only recourse. Frustrated PEOPLE reside in both urban and rural counties. For example, the Medicaid Expansion won on Election Day in a majority of counties which included many rural counties.

Senator Vick’s SB1110 is a blatant attempt to essentially neuter one of the PEOPLE’S most cherished constitutional rights. Placing essentially impossible hurdles in front of citizens can only be seen for what it is – an attempt to silence the will of the people.

If the Legislature wants fewer initiatives, start paying attention to the citizens instead of dismissing or ignoring their interests and petitions. No one wants to go to the time and effort to pursue a voter initiative unless they already have a history of the Legislature not listening to them or perhaps even neglecting them year after year.

Jeannette Bowman, Boise


Now that the Trump crime family is out of the White House, let’s discuss our undemocratic system that got us in this mess. The electoral college system is unique to the U.S. and is undemocratic. It has resulted in the “election” of 2 unqualified Republican businessmen who were 2 of our greatest National disasters. Bush lost to Gore by about 500,000 votes and Trump lost to Hillary by nearly 3 million. Bush gave us 9/11 by ignoring information forwarded by the Clinton administration. He continued with 2 recessions and 2 wars. Then there was his massive tax cut, producing debt exceeding his dad’s records each of his last 6 years.

Trump ignored the pandemic planing forwarded by Obama and then ignored the pandemic resulting in nearly 500,000 deaths so far, massive unemployment, a crashed economy, etc. We have about 4.5% of the World's population and about 20% of the Covid deaths. He also cut taxes and created massive debt. Five of the 9 Supreme Court justices were selected by these 2 guys who lost the popular vote. This is all a gift of the electoral college.

Then we have the Senate where the 50 Republicans represent 41 million fewer people than the 50 Democrats do. California gets 2 senators for their 39,500,000 people and Wyoming gets 2 for their 579,000, etc. Twenty lowest population states, mostly Republican, with a population about equal to California’s get 40 senators and 40 electoral college votes. California gets 2.

The Supreme Court has ruled that gerrymandering is OK. In Wisconsin the Republicans got 44.7% of the vote but elected 64.6% of the state assembly. For Congress in 2018, Pennsylvania Republicans got 44% of the vote and elected 72%. In Georgia it was 40% and 75%. In North Carolina it was 50% and 70%.

Leo Faddis, Kuna

Thank you

Wow, what beautiful snowy weather we've had here in Boise! My wife and I grew up in this type of weather, but now we're older and find it a little harder to shovel snow. On Saturday, February 13th, we were sitting down to dinner when a Boise City Police vehicle showed up in front of our house. Oh boy, what have we done? The lady officer got out of her car and got a snow shovel out of the back. She proceeded to shovel our sidewalk and driveway. After a short time, another Boise City Police car stopped in front. Another female officer came into view with a snow shovel and began to assist the other officer. They said they were on their shift break. They finished the job and drove off. With the bad press police officers have received in our nation, we feel it's necessary to let people know that we here in Boise have the cream of the crop in police forces. Thank you two for great help, may you serve our community for many years.

Jim & Mary Ellen Nourse, Boise


Help! Help retain the right of we, the people, to propose legislation. A bill now before Senate State Affairs would double the difficulty of a process already so hard it is rarely attempted. Stand up for direct democracy!

Jerry Brady, Boise


I would like to welcome our new neighbors from California, many of whom have moved to avoid California's strict gun laws. I would like to remind you why California has strict gun laws. In 1967, the legislature passed the Mulford Act and it was signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan. The act was passed as a reaction to Black Panthers' exercising their 2nd Amendment rights and openly carrying guns, including when they marched on the state capitol building. The then-conservative California government was worried about the Black Panthers openly carrying, and thus the strict laws you are escaping were put into place. They were not passed by liberals trying to take conservatives' guns away. They were passed because, as Ronald Reagan said at the time, there was "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons" and that doing so was a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of goodwill". Keep that in mind.

Brennan Wurtz, Nampa

3 issues

Let me be the first to ask why area communities do not plow the streets after a big snow, like this weekend. Many of us do not have vehicles that can maneuver in the heavy snow and ice. Now let me answer my own question. Snow events like this past weekend are rare. The cost of purchasing, housing and maintaining sufficient equipment to clear all area streets would require an unbelievable increase in taxes. Not worth it.

Jeanne Huff wrote an article for Sunday’s paper about missing her scheduled appointment for the COVID vaccine. The appointment was in Mountain Home, so it was almost two hours, round-trip, wasted. That is unfortunate. But I have a question. The vaccine is given out to communities based on population. Why did she feel she needed to go to another community rather than wait until vaccine was available in her community? I am quite certain that the folks in Elmore County are just as deserving of the vaccine as Ms. Huff.

Recently, Larry Chase's Letter to the editor criticized the legislature for wanting to change the rules to allow them to call themselves into session. The current rules only allow the governor to make that call. This prevents the legislature from making changes to existing law, thus allowing the governor, head of the executive branch, to control the legislative branch. Not the way the constitution set things up. Mr. Chase later states that the legislature thinks it "...is the only branch of government that should make laws." Sorry to break the news but the constitution provides that the legislative branch is the ONLY branch of government that can make laws. Learned that in 5th grade civics class.

Alan Coleman, Meridian


I am opposed to Senator Vick's bill, S1110, to curtail Idaho citizens' constitutional right to make law by ballot initiative. Idaho's initiative process is already so difficult that only 2 initiatives have qualified for the ballot in over ten years. This bill would make it practically impossible for any volunteer organization to qualify an initiative for the Idaho ballot. S1110 bill would essentially revoke Idaho citizens' right to help set priorities and policy and would leave this constitutional right up to only a few legislators. Citizens achieved the extremely difficult effort of getting Medicaid Expansion on the ballot after SIX years of the Idaho legislature's failure to solve the health care coverage crisis. It passed by 61% and now, during this global pandemic, over 100,000 Idahoans have the healthcare they have historically desperately needed. If S1110 had been in effect, this Medicaid Expansion would never have qualified for the ballot.

Ken Harris, Boise

Shining city

The Capital is Dirty.

As I view the ongoing national political scene, I am struck with the images I keep seeing of our national capital building. Look closely, the capital is dirty.

Dirty on the outside, grimy, corrupted with dirt, smoke, filth and pollution. It looks like some old building from a neglected inner city rather than the nation's capital, seat of a grand democracy, head and symbol of a shining city on a hill.

Dirty on the inside, polluted with hubris, and greed, and lust for power, selfish desire for personal gain, complete disregard for duty and anything even vaguely resembling selflessness.

We need to clean up the outside of the capital. Use a pressure washer and wash away the grime, the grease, the oily stains, and restore the stone to its gleaming splendor and former beauty.

Then we need to clean up the inside, drag the proverbial fire hose in there and wash out all that filthy hubris, and greed, and lust for power and blind self-interest. Wash away the cowardice willing to send our young people to die on foreign soil yet too afraid or selfish to take a principled stand in the face of disapproving constituents. We need to take the scrub brushes of righteous indignation to both sides of both houses and scour the place clean.

Then when the capital is clean, inside and out, it can once again begin to be the gleaming symbol of that shining city on a hill.

Robert Ladendorff, Nampa


It is time we all must understand the importance of good education in our state , teaching our children about our History the facts that have made this country what it is the good the bad and the ugly . We must have an educated public . We need open and fair elections and easy ways for everyone to vote and know with certainty that every vote is counted . But equally important is good health care and health education so we all can be strong in mind and body to make healthy decisions we one does well it benefits the whole of our Society .

Dana Jablonski, Marsing


In the long history of our country no foreign flag has flown over or in our Capitol until January 6, 2021, Insurrection Day. Not during the Revolutionary war, not during the Civil war, not with the booming of Pearl Harbor or 9 /11. I watched Trump tell the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by. He had his people organize the event, called people to Washington, riled the people up with outlandish lies and sent them to the Capitol. Those same lies were echoed by our congressional members to stop a ceremonial transfer of power according to our Constitution. Stopping this ceremony could in no way stop the inauguration of the duly elected president because congress doesn’t have that power.

I watched in horror as the United States of America’s flag was torn down and a traitor’s flag was hoisted up to fly over our Nation’s Capital and a confederate flag waved in the halls of Congress. I watched again as those same congressional members followed down the same path of insurrection to protect Trump. First the GOP takes a recess so the impeachment trial cannot start until he is out of office and then not convict him because he was out of office. We watched the newly released pictures of the horrors of that day, yet the GOP Senators turned away and helped the defense instead of being honest jurors. Everyone knew they would protect the traitor instead of honoring their Oath to the constitution and our country.

As I travel around my neighborhood and the town, I see this traitor’s flag being flown with our American flag and wonder how someone can fly our Nations’ flag alongside the flag of the treasonous president who attempted to overthrow our Constitution and our Country to make himself a dictator.

Diane Jensen, Meridian


Silence the lambs. Once again our state legislators are working against Idaho citizens. Among other outlandish bills is Sen. Vick’s SB 1110 to silence our constitutional right to propose a ballot initiative. Six % of all 35 districts would have to sign the proposal, a virtual impossibility.

Vick’s bill was presented in part because of last year’s Medicaid Expansion initiative that passed by a large majority giving medical insurance to thousands of Idahoans. One might ask why the legislators did not want Medicaid for their constituents--surely not because it was from Big Government since our legislators do so much big government micromanaging in Idaho--lemonade stands and street name changes--that would be the ultimate hypocrisy.

My question is why our legislators want to silence us! Do they think they know what’s best for us or just want to prove how powerful they are? How absurd. They are encroaching more and more on our constitutional rights and local governing.

Last year, Scott Grow introduced a bill to virtually stop all citizen initiatives. Why: Payday Loans wanted to ensure that no initiative in Idaho would succeed to limit their usury as it did in Colorado. Very unfortunately, the legislature passed the bill, but very fortunately the governor vetoed it.

Now I’m wondering what’s behind Sen. Vick’s bill. He spuriously argues that rural folks don’t get in on the vote, but, if he wanted facts, he could check to see that all counties were represented in the Medicaid initiative.

Please write or call immediately your senators--Winder, Guthrie, Anthon, Lee, Heider, and Lodge--asking them to vote NO on SB 1110. We desperately need to keep our voices loud and clear when our legislators are so determined to silence us.

Lois Morgan, Boise

The Idaho Press does not vouch for the factual accuracy or endorse the opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor. If you would like to respond to anything you read here, please submit a letter at idahopress.com/opinion

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