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citydesk (1/14/09)

Dry Creek tabled, DTV & Otter's stroll


Dry Creek Ranch delayed

On Jan. 7, Ada County commissioners tabled the Dry Creek Ranch planned community application, rescheduling their decision to another public hearing at 6 p.m. on March 11. According to county spokesman Rich Wright, the commissioners asked the developers to halve the housing density and work with the Ada County Highway District on traffic mitigation.

From Ada County's press release on the hearing: "As proposed, the 1,414-acre development would have a housing density of 8.6 dwelling units per acre. The Board of Commissioners tonight said they hoped the applicant could find a way to reduce the density to approximately 4 dwelling units per acre— a density rate that is comparable to other similar developments approved in the same general area."

Commissioners are concerned with traffic, but at the same time, a giant development like this needs enough rooftops so that it can sustain some commercial activity on its own.

It's a Catch-22 that the new board, now joined by newly elected commissioner Sharon Ullman, will revisit in March.

Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter and wife Lori Otter stroll along the Greenbelt after his 2009 State of the State speech. - NATHANIEL HOFFMAN
  • Nathaniel Hoffman
  • Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter and wife Lori Otter stroll along the Greenbelt after his 2009 State of the State speech.

Otter scrimps on fuel tax after speech

Following his Jan. 12 State of the State speech—in which Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter called for an increase in gas taxes and a host of other new fees and proposals to fill potholes and fix roads—citydesk caught the Guv and First Lady Lori Otter strolling by the Boise River. On the Greenbelt.

Chief of Staff Jason Kreizenbeck and Sgt. Ross Kirtley, Otter's trusty security man, accompanied the First Couple on their walk back to their black SUV.

We commented to the Guv that the Greenbelt could use some pothole patching of its own, to which he replied: "That's because the people that use this Greenbelt don't pay their fuel taxes."

He was joshing, of course. And the Greenbelt is maintained by the City of Boise and Ada County, though it does receive some state and federal grants.

At the state's request, we make no comment on the First Lady's footwear (though good on her for keeping it sensible). We only offer this warning: The geese rule the Greenbelt this time of year.

If your Balzac is not tethered to wi-fi ...

... this is what you are missing at

Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, as a member of the Idaho House of Representatives 32 years ago, I ran for governor on the principle that "Idaho can become what America was meant to be. I believe now as I did then that Idaho has a better chance than anywhere else of becoming what the forefathers envisioned in Philadelphia.

Translation: I can't do this forever, people. We are heretofore funding a sculpture contest for a cracked bell. But not through the Idaho Commission on the Arts, for which I am recommending a 15 percent budget cut.

And stuff like, "It probably refers to the states as the labs, which makes us ... uh ... lab rats?" or "This may be the last State of the State you watch on Idaho PTV, depending on where you live ... KTVB, you guys gonna bid on the coverage next year?"

Get some broadband and you can have stuff like that downloaded to your brain every day.

Obama asks for

DTV extension

President-elect Barack Obama is asking Congress to delay the cutoff date for analog television transmission beyond Feb. 17, according to a letter from transition team co-chairman John Podesta that was obtained by Broadcasting and Cable Magazine.

Obama's missive: 1 million coupon requests for converter boxes are outstanding, and the fund is empty; poor, rural and elderly Americans will be disproportionately affected; and funds to prepare the public for an end to analog TV are inadequate.

Obama's team indicates that additional funding for the DTV transition will appear in an economic stimulus package, as well.

Otter on fed stimulus: It's complicated

Gov. Otter, addressing a media scrum assembled by Boise's Associated Press shop prior to the start of the Idaho legislative session, said that he's not sure he'd vote for an "economic stimulus" package were he still in Congress.

"If I were in Congress and I looked at it, someone would have to be more convincing than they have been, and I probably would say no," Otter said.

Still, Otter spoke at length about his priorities should Congress pass a bunch of cash to the states for infrastructure projects.

Many states are going right for new asphalt in their lists, ignoring the calls for repair work. Idaho Smart Growth Executive Director Rachel Winer suggested recently that the state consider using the money for transportation projects aside from just road building, including upping the percentage that goes to repair already crumbling roads.

Winer gave Idaho credit for making its stimulus request public, one of only 16 states that has done so.

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009, 4,227 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,404 in combat and 823 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 31,950. In the last week, four U.S. soldiers died.

Since President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, 4,077 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 90,318 and 98,594.


COST OF IRAQ WAR: $587,897,830,157