I read with interest your recent lengthy article about the ongoing loss of farm land in our area. I have seen this problem mentioned in the press several times over the years.
The reason is that the land has a higher economic value when converted into building lots than it does as farm land. If retaining farm land is in the public interest, the solution is to make it less profitable to develop the land into building lots. This could be done quite easily by making it more expensive to re-zone agricultural land.
Agricultural-zoned land gets a significant property tax break compared with similar land zoned commercial, industrial or residential. If an owner were required to re-pay the property tax savings (perhaps with interest) applicable to a certain number of past years when the zoning status were changed, this would certainly put a damper on conversion of farm land into building lots.
Whether or not this would be fair to existing land owners is a subject for discussion. It could be argued that it is not fair for landowners who have received a significant property tax break based on the agricultural use of their land to get a windfall when their land is re-zoned.
It would be relatively simple to calculate the appropriate number of years of tax savings (with interest) to achieve the desired disincentive. Depending on the perceived public interest over time in retaining farm land, the calculations could be re-visited from time to time as appropriate.
While such an approach would not have universal appeal, it could certainly be made to work in reducing the amount of farm land being converted to other uses.
Jim Robertson, Caldwell
Imagine no freedom or choices or no churches and you could be rounded up and put into concentration camps with barb wire all around for voicing your opinion and than watching your family being tortured and executed all because you were different. What would you do if America was invaded and buildings were blown up and body parts everywhere and you were sent to reeducation camps and the invaders imposed on us military rule and your rights violated and liberties trampled and you ate what they told you and you lived in camps where disease was not uncommon. Imagine censorship of music, books and media and you had to conform otherwise you suffer the consequences of torture and death or starvation or thirst. What would you do if you witness massacre of innocent children or the genocide of people and you had to dig the graves and witness the brutality and the horrors of war everyday. What would you say if America fell short and food was in short supply and the power grid shut down and looting of businesses and communities were in flames and you did nothing but watch. Imagine life slipping away and ruled by tyrants who controlled every aspect of life and you were like cattle only to be branded and corralled but also being programmed to never think out of the box but to be a prisoner for ever without freedom, choice, or pursuit of happiness. One day it could all could be gone but who will you blame or make excuses because we all stood by and let it happen and the world became an order by the wealthy and they became the new world order and the illuminati were the rulers and life was no longer because it faded.
John Landers, Wilder
Idaho Freedom Foundation led a march to the Capitol Building for a “special session”. It supported this with a legal opinion from an Arizona firm, joined by local attorney Bruce Skaug. It’s available on IFF’s website. Read it. It’s highly entertaining. For the sake of argument, let’s accept it as completely reasonable.
It asserts there’s a “reasonable basis for concluding that an ‘emergency resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack’ exists”, caused by a virus pathogen created in a Chinese lab intentionally inflicted on the United States. In the alternative, it asserts, “hostile foreign actors have unleashed on Americans a concerted campaign of false propaganda through social media channels, which is intended to undermine the United States government and amplify social and economic instability inflicted by the pandemic”. The opinion expresses that such “orchestrated disinformation assaults by foreign governments to foment panic, confusion and distrust among Americans are an unfortunate variant of twenty-first century warfare, and there is a reasonable basis for the Legislature to conclude that recent events constitute an ’attack’…” So there we have it — propaganda against the U.S. can be considered an “enemy attack”.
Let’s say Governor Little embraces IFF’s opinion and “reasonably” declares martial law and compels the militia to enforce any order he makes, including mandatory masks. See, Idaho Code Title 46, Chapter 6 and Article 4, Section 4 of the Idaho Constitution. Would IFF then support mandatory masks as lawful, since Governor Little would comply with the legal opinion IFF purchased to justify its own actions? Maybe I should ask Governor Little to peruse social media and review IFF’s website. Could he determine that IFF’s call for civil disobedience is propaganda that creates distrust, panic and confusion among Idahoans? Couldn’t that, by IFF’s logic, be “insurrection”, also authorizing martial law?
Alan Malone, Nampa
Our politicians are at the point that is a hated blame game. No one is talking about disabled veterans. The lake of care or financial help. None are talking about prescription costs the cost of health care. Or the homeless families that lost their homes because of one last pay check. We have lost our priorities. I understand Black liven matter. I unerstand Blue lifes matter. But this really a big destruction for what we really want. Please stop looking in at the war.Please we need to start looking at the end result.
Shannon Carter, Twin Falls
If you are fit enough to yell and stomp around, you are fit enough to wear a mask.
Wearing a mask in public is NOT a violation of civil rights, it’s just a possible violation of personal fashion sense.
You wear a mask in public for the same reason you wear pants – because you are a thoughtful member of society who is considerate of the safety and comfort of OTHERS.
Nobody wants to breathe your germy breath OR look at your hairy bum.
So quit being a whiner, put on your mask and take one for the team.
Carolyn Watts, Boise
After reading the article on Boise officials condemning counter protesters, it’s clear where this paper and Mayor McLean stand on this subject. Now I do not stand for “White Supremacy” or Nazi SS or spitting on people as well. There should be no part of that in protests, however. I find it amusing your article is trying to draw sympathy for the way the Antifa and BLM people were treated at their protest. Let’s see, they were surrounded and felt threatened. Several fights broke out. They felt intimidated to the point of, here’s the best part, asking for police protection. So far this has been the same game plan that Antifa and BLM has used itself in several cities across America in the last month while Democrats like McLean stand by idle and liplocked. We all know what transpired when these groups have their way, destruction, hate speech, violence and yes, even death. So maybe your real story should have been about how the counter protesters kept our downtown safe from Antifa and BLM protesters who are know to do nothing but destroy cities when given the chance. Well done to all who took part in protecting our city from these terrorists. God Bless the men and women in Blue.
Randy Goodrich, Nampa
The Nampa Highway District (along with most other road agencies) chip seals its roads this time of year. We are always asked, “Why are you working on a perfectly good road?”
First of all, a “chip seal” is a film of oil sprayed on the pavement, with a layer of crushed gravel spread over the oil, and then another coat of oil sprayed over the gravel. The process only works well in hot dry weather. Chip sealing is like painting a house. It extends pavement life by sealing out moisture and the sun’s ultra violet rays. It also protects pavement from wear, and provides traction.
When a road is newly paved, we wait one to two years before sealing to allow the new asphalt to properly cure. But afterwards, it needs to be sealed and periodically resealed to prevent deterioration. Our goal is to chip seal main roads every seven years, and subdivisions every ten. This is limited by funding, however, with higher-use roads getting higher priority. The district has 368 miles of roads, and chip seals about 45 miles per year.
The per-mile cost of chip sealing is $35,000, compared to $165,000 for repaving, and $250,000 for a complete rebuild. Properly sealed and maintained pavements last more than 30 years, but non-sealed pavements can fall apart in ten.
The district uses several practices to minimize public inconvenience when chip sealing, but we are always looking for improvements. The public is invited to call me with any questions or suggestions at (208) 467-6576.
Eric Shannon, Nampa