Dave Frazier is a third-generation journalist and internationally recognized photographer whose work has been featured in Newsweek, Time, US News and World Report, The New York Times and countless educational publications. He is also a rogue essayist and civic watchdog of sorts who set up a Web site called the Boise Guardian (www.boiseguardian.com) as a clearinghouse for local issues and a forum for local people to discuss the future of Idaho's capital city. In his words, this hobby/passion attempts to "prick the balloon of hypocrisy" with meticulously researched articles like "A Pat on the ACHD," "Judo Solves EMS Dilemma" and "Poop on Hold for Audit."
BW: What one issue lit a fire under your ass to start this Web site?
DF: The attitude of local government, which is to nurture an adversarial relationship between them and the citizenry.
Why is it always a "them" vs. "us" dynamic?
Actually, it's somewhat unique to Idaho. Our elected officials project this "we're in charge now; if you don't like it, vote us out of office" attitude. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between. And the people don't have a good record for turning out to vote, especially on issues of day-to-day housekeeping. We all need to look at how local government is operating, what it's doing, not just to our own households and neighborhoods, but to the entire city.
What is the biggest issue facing Boise today-besides poop, which you mention several times on your Web site?
Growth. We spend an inordinate amount of energy and resources coping with growth, yet local government, from the state down to the city, keeps encouraging businesses and people to move here. We already have six square miles set aside for poop disposal-and that's just the city of Boise! We're going to get to a point when what isn't covered with houses is going to be covered with poop. Growth for the sake of growth is not a good thing; maturing is a good thing. We need to build strong communities, not compete for the most bodies and biggest tax base.
Where will you run away to when it gets too crowded?
I've lived here for 37 years, and it's not a fun place to live like it used to be. But I love Boise enough and have enough reverence for it to want to stay and fight.
How have people responded to your site and what do you hope to accomplish?
All of the comments and e-mails have been positive. I haven't found anyone who said, "who do you think you are?" This is not about personal aggrandizement-I'm not The Guardian, I'm the editor-and there's no money involved (unless you count $12 I made in two months on Google ads). I look at the whole thing as just trying to be a good citizen and share some information and common sense with the public. If you get enough people to scream loud enough, you can get things done.