Opinion » Mail

July 11-July 17, 2007

Ease Off, Cops

Ease Off, Cops

We need to acknowledge that dirty names have been thrown from both sides in this issue (BW, News, "War of Words," June 27, 2007). Regardless, the police department needs to understand that they are not all-powerful and do not run this city with an iron fist. Accomodations must be made to the city government.

—Alison Kavanaugh, online

Cops Are Trying

I am appalled at the unprofessional and irresponsible comments made by Mr. Shealy (BW, News, "War of Words," June 27, 2007). Now we know why he is so resistant to negotiating with the Boise Police Union in good faith! He obviously has no regard or esteem for our police officers or the profession in general. It is already an arduous undertaking on the part of law enforcement to maintain the level of respect and admiration they deserve from the population. For an elected public official to make such disparaging statements does not add to the debate, but simply further encourages mistrust and suspicion, and undermines the work that our police department has done in the last few years to create a feeling of community between themselves and the public.

Regarding the "Best in Class" offer, as the city calls it, I would like to address what may sound like a fair offer (6 percent to 11 percent over two years) to some on the outside. The percentage offered means very little without considering the current level of pay. You can offer someone a 50 percent increase, and sound very generous, but if the pay is already substandard, it isn't necessarily as great of a deal as it sounds. After 12 years with BPD, my husband is making more than $20,000 less than he was making at LAPD back in 1995, while the cost of living and home prices have surpassed LA's '95 levels. Also, Boise police are receiving lower wages than other, smaller departments here in Idaho, as well as many cities of similar size in other states.

I implore the mayor and city council to truly make an effort to do right on the part of our officers and their families in gratitude for the sacrifices they all make. Additionally, I hope other citizens will join me in calling for the resignation of Mr. Shealy, as he obviously does not have the maturity or attitude necessary to negotiate appropriately, or make fair decisions without letting his personal distaste for law enforcement cloud his judgment.

—Kat Heatherly, online

Get On Climate Change, Idaho

The scientific evidence is compelling—global climate change poses a serious threat to Idaho's public health, natural resources and environment. It threatens some of our most vital industries, including tourism, agriculture, recreation and forestry.

Addressing climate change requires interstate and international cooperation. At this point, Idaho is not a team player. For example: At least 31 states (including Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon) have joined the Climate Registry, agreeing to adopt common measurement standards and reporting systems for greenhouse gas emissions. Idaho is not a member.

According to the Idaho Energy Plan, in 2005, 42 percent of Idaho's power came from coal-fired plants in neighboring states. Taking into account transportation, approximately 80 percent of Idaho's total end-use energy is derived from fossil fuels. We need to identify and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. So far, at the state level, we have done very little to make this happen. 

According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 42 states have completed greenhouse gas emission inventories. Idaho only recently started developing an inventory.

More than 30 states have developed climate action plans. Idaho has not.

The Clean Cars Campaign reports that 12 states have set tough vehicle emission standards, and several others are considering such a move. Idaho continues to follow the weaker federal standard.

According to the United States Green Building Council, 22 states have taken action to encourage energy efficient standards in construction of public buildings.

The Coalition for Public Transportation found that Idaho is one of only 11 states not providing funding for transit operations.

Idaho took a small step in the right direction with the Governor's Executive Order acknowledging concerns about greenhouse gases and directing DEQ to lead as-yet-undefined state efforts to reduce emissions. I look forward to working with Gov. Otter and my fellow legislators to advance more substantial measures to address this issue.

With some forward thinking, we have an opportunity to escape our heavy reliance on fossil fuels—and the production of greenhouse emissions. We can conserve energy instead of being forced to find new sources at great economic and environmental cost. We can participate in emerging energy markets (for which Idaho is ideally suited) such as biofuels, carbon trading, and wind, solar, nuclear and geothermal power. We can improve our air quality and protect the health of our citizens.

If we don't change our way of thinking, we will continue to be part of the problem. Idaho has a responsibility to be a part of the solution.

—Sen. Kate Kelly is Minority Caucus Chair, representing Boise's District 18