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It's the Dave Show!

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For the second year in a row, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter did away with notes and presented a well-rehearsed speech, complete with Boise-based jazz musician Curtis Stigers as an opening act, for his annual State of the City address last week.

Bieter focused on the need for continued growth within the city, a valley-wide rail transit system, the elimination of graffiti, and announced plans for a new 700,000-square-foot distribution center to be built by WinCo Foods near Micron in southeast Boise.

Bieter seemed to use the speech as a campaign event, as he recapped his accomplishments during his last three years in office in front of nearly 1,000 members of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. The $30-per-person event is an annual fundraiser for the Chamber.

Bieter ran through highlights of his tenure, including the city's budget surplus, new libraries and work toward a community detox center, while members of the City Council sat behind him—including Council Member Jim Tibbs, who is running against Bieter in next month's election.

While Tibbs clapped along with the rest of the audience, he took issue with Bieter's speech in a written statement.

"My constituents and I are disappointed that the mayor ignored the opportunity to tell us how he will cut our taxes, make significant changes in traffic and put more police on the street. We want a mayor that delivers results," Tibbs said.

With the aid of a slick film and brochure Bieter focused on the livability of the city, a topic that has become one of his favorite campaign slogans. Copies of the brochure and video were given to all those who attended the event, at a cost of $4,316 from the Mayor's Office budget. Stigers' and the Frim Fram Four's perform cost $320, or $80 per Fram.

Bieter's focus on graffiti included a request to the City Council for $50,000 to work with neighborhood associations to eliminate the problem, as well as a citywide volunteer night to clean up graffiti. He again championed the need for a comprehensive public transit system, this time placing his aim at a rail system. "Rail is our past and rail is our future," he said.

Bieter once again called for a local-option tax that would allow the city to better fund transit. The idea met resistance in the state Legislature, so Bieter called on citizens to "make transit politically inevitable."

As proof of economic development, Bieter used the event to announce that Boise-based grocery chain WinCo Foods is planning to build a major distribution center in the city.

The facility will be the third large distribution hub for the company, which already has centers in Modesto, Calif., and Myrtle Creek, Ore.

Michael Read, vice president of public relations and legal affairs for WinCo, said the company is in the early planning stages, but anticipated the new center would bring roughly 200 jobs to the city. The facility would be located in southeast Boise, adjacent to a city-owned industrial area.

The distribution center is two to three years away from opening, Read said.

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