Boise Mayor Dave Bieter once called it the "NASCAR effect."
"Thousands of people turn out for NASCAR, and I think one of the reasons is that, around any turn, there could be a crash," said Bieter in 2007, comparing his teleprompter-free State of the City address to a potential pile-up. "[Attendees] said, 'He's got no notes; he's out there without a net.'"
When Bieter stands before what is usually a full house for his speech--slated for Tuesday, June 5--he'll mark seven years of prompter-free addresses.
"I would love to go back but I can't," joked Bieter. "They expect it now."
But once hizzoner's address gets under way, it's all about content. Bieter has been known to make a headline or two in previous speeches:
• In 2007 he announced a new Winco distribution center to be built in southeast Boise, and he also committed city funds to a new detox center, Allumbaugh House, which opened in April 2010.
• In 2008, saying he was "obsessed with libraries," Bieter announced his commitment to four new branch libraries: in the Collister and Hillcrest shopping centers, at Cole and Ustick roads and at Bown Crossing (which is on hold, pending funding).
• In 2009, Bieter proposed an alternative-energy business incubator, dubbed "The Greenhouse," which opened in September 2010.
• In 2010, Bieter announced a 20-year lease with Sunergy World to build a solar energy plant west of the Boise Airport, but not much has been said about the plan since.
• In 2011, Bieter promoted Boise's voluntary curbside glass recycling program (which rolled out September 2011) and the construction of Esther Simplot Park (getting under way later this year) and Terry Day Park (the city is expected to accept construction bids soon).
"We always hope to have a little bit of news," said Bieter. "This year is no exception. We started off with a number of possibilities a few months ago. Some fall out. Some fall in."
Bieter tapped his knuckles on his conference table in his City Hall office.
"Knock wood, hopefully one of those is going to make it to the finish line," he said.