Opinion » Mail

Mail April 18 - 25 2007

BW: Wrong Fish

In "The Big Fish Files," (BW, The Big Fish Files, 04/28/2006) Nicholas Collias portrays four area musicians while attempting to answer the question, "Can you really make it in Boise?"

Unfortunately, his subjects all fall under the heading of "alternative rock," which curtails his ability to address the topic. Where are the classical musicians, the country artists, the jazz players, the cover bands, the folkies, the organists at Sunday mass? They're not there, because they don't fit Collias' implicit model for success, the model of pop stardom.

Can stardom be achieved in Boise? No. Frankly, it would be easier to make the NBA; at least they have a farm team here.

The modest goal of earning a living is also unachievable. Excepting Doug Martsch and Curtis Stigers, I cannot think of a single musician in the entire state, in any field, who earns a living through performance. Even the legit musicians in the Boise Philharmonic earn their bread and butter as professional educators or by various day jobs, rather than from the orchestra.

As Jesse Jackson said on Saturday Night Live, the question is moot. None of this is new, or unique to Boise. Everyone who becomes a musician, from New York to L.A., knows they are likely signing up for a life of poverty; they just don't care until they get older. Eventually, they get old enough to return to not caring.

Inadvertently, Mr. Collias' article is symptomatic of the attitude which marginalizes Boise in the first place. By assuming it is important to "make it," Collias, like society, devalues local musicians in favor of commercial success. Surely the practice of art, on whatever level, means more to us.

—John McMahon,


Making or Breaking The Law

I'm not against immigration. The truth is, this nation was built by those that came before us from so many different countries, and continues to thrive as a result of their contributions. However, I really have a problem with illegal immigration—"illegal" being the key word here—and handing out legal status by way of amnesty and work visas to those that have clearly broken the law which, in the true sense of the word, makes them criminals.

It's not rocket science, folks: When an individual breaks the law, they've committed a crime. When an individual has committed a crime, they're considered a criminal. Under the law, a criminal must be accountable for the crime that he or she has committed, and should pay the consequences. Our federal government, for some odd reason, is not only trying their best to allow these criminals to remain within our borders, but they're also failing to prosecute them for breaking the law in the first place! In reality, that would make them an accessory to the crime, and they should be held accountable. In fact, they shouldn't even be allowed to hold a public office, as far as I'm concerned. If they write the laws and fail to enforce them, they're useless.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of watching these politicians get fat on my hard-earned dollar while they sit on their pompous asses, ignoring the effects that illegal immigration has on our nation. The current administration, senators, and members of Congress have all failed to listen to our concerns regarding this important issue. It appears that Lady Justice is not only wearing a blindfold, but is sporting a set of earplugs, as well!

—Christopher Baker, Nampa

Session Of Failure

Having served in the Idaho Legislature for a combined total of 30 years, we feel obliged to challenge an opinion recently distributed by the House majority leadership, which said that the "2007 session has to rank among the best in Idaho's history."

This past year, the Republicans, hamstrung by their own ideology, seriously failed to address many of the issues they were elected resolve. They left the Statehouse at the end of March with very little to show for their efforts.

The most obvious example is the issue of reducing the sales tax on food. Democrats have been trying for many years to reduce or remove this tax, which is especially burdensome to low-income families. The tax became even more onerous last August, when the Republican governor and GOP legislative leaders decided to raise the sales tax 20 percent. Who benefited from this tax shift? Mostly big businesses and out-of-state landowners. Who paid for this tax shift? Middle class, small business and working families.

Republican leaders also killed several attempts to improve day-care safety standards and to allow public school facilities to be used for pre-kindergarten learning. The GOP response to these important issues was simply to ask, "What can we do to keep Mom at home?" These legislators are clearly not living in today's modern world, where 60 percent of mothers with children under 4 hold at least one job to support their families. And these are the same legislators that wouldn't increase the state minimum wage, but want to wait until Congress gets around to it.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee denied voters the opportunity to more fairly decide whether communities can fund their own local public transit projects, paid for with their own local tax dollars. Remember this next time you are sitting in a traffic jam. The Republicans also killed the session's community college legislation, ignoring the advice of a special legislative committee and the governor himself.  

The issues listed here are just a few examples of the failures that have led Democrats, moderate Republicans and editorial columnists across the state to describe this as a "do-nothing" session. We'll be working hard to ensure that next year's session will be more productive for the people of Idaho.

—Sen. Clint Stennett and Rep. Wendy Jaquet are the Democratic leaders in the Idaho State Senate and the House of Representatives.