|Rally at City Hall on Tuesday ...|
|Rally speakers talk about the many reasons why the bond issue is important|
to the future of the Boise community.
|Polecat Gulch in NW Boise was one of the key properties purchased|
with funds from the $10 million foothills open space levy.
It's official now. Mayor David Bieter and the Boise City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to proceed with bond measures for foothills open space, parks and public safety. The amounts are $10 million for open space, $5.5 million for parks and $17.2 for safety improvements to four fire stations and the construction of a new fire training facility.
These measures will be on the Nov. 5 ballot, just 7 weeks away. Now it's time to rally and get out the vote! See the Yes! Yes! for Boise campaign web site and Facebook page.
As some of you recall, I was heavily involved in the first campaign for Boise Foothills open space. I was still an officer with SWIMBA at the time. Foothills recreationists, neighborhood activists, conservation groups, recreation groups, people who love the foothills backdrop, and lots of Boise residents of all stripes and political persuasions came together to work the phones and the streets to pass the $10 million levy.
Honestly, I feel it's one of the smartest things our community has ever done, and hopefully, all of that hard work will make it easier to pass this next open space measure. I'm also so proud of how the city carefully invested and leveraged the $10 million into wise purchases that have provided vital connections between city parks at the base of the foothills with BLM and State Lands in the middle foothills and, of course, Stack Rock on top. Approximately 11,000 acres have been purchased so far. The investment reportedly contributes $11 million to Boise's economy, according to a study, by enhancing property values and "ecosystem services" such as clean water, biodiversity and flood control, according to an article in the Idaho Statesman.
But hey, much more remains to be done!
Soon after we launched the campaign in 2000, I remember we had an awesome beer and pizza party at Noodles downtown. Several hundred foothills recreationists packed the room, and we gave them a pep talk. In essence, we said, let's seize the day, and work our butts off to make sure the levy passes the first time around and enhance our future, and our children's future. And by god, we did it. The night of the election returns, we partied at the Boise Depot, and I had chills running up and down my spine all evening, as the returns showed we had a strong majority with 60 percent of the vote, and it held throughout the night. We did it!!!! That was huge!
This time around, we'll need 66 2/3rds vote to pass the bond measures on Nov. 5. A lot more people in Boise understand the value of foothills open space now that an additional 11,000 acres of land has been purchased, and our quality of life has been enhanced, not to mention protection of the foothills watershed, clean water, wildlife habitat and more.
But there isn't much time between now and Nov. 5. The campaign is up and running, and VOLUNTEERS are needed big-time. Here's how you can plug in:
- Canvass potential voters at foothills trailheads.
- Work the phone banks to identify would-be supporters who are registered voters.
- Staff community events and educate folks about the bond measures.
- Go door-to-door in strategic neighborhoods to educate residents about the bond measures. I love going door-to-door ... it's so fascinating, and you end up having great conversations with your neighbors about the future of your community.
- Donate to the campaign. City Council member Lauren McLean just put out a challenge yesterday to raise funds, and she will match contributions up to $3,000.
If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Tom Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're already connected with the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, the Idaho Conservation League or the Nature Conservancy, contact those groups because they're already involved in the campaign and can tell you how to plug in.
I had coffee with Emily Walton this morning. I just met her at the City Hall rally on Tuesday. She's the executive director of the Idaho Civic Engagement Project, which works on getting young people registered to vote and engaged in enhancing their communities. Emily also is active with the Boise Young Professionals. Forty percent of potential Idaho voters under 30 years old, or 150,000 people in Idaho, are not registered to vote. "It's crazy!" she says with a gleam in her eye.
A native of Declo, Idaho, who grew up in the heart of the potato fields in southern Idaho, Walton has learned how to become an effective political dynamo after putting herself through college and networking. She wants to run for governor someday. She is actively involved in the open space campaign. "Think about how Boise celebrated its 150th Birthday this year," she says. "It's amazing how people just love this place. But there's a feeling in the air, what are we going to do next? I believe in the city. I want to make it better. Let's keep up the momentum!"
Boise is one of those places where we all rally at important times to enhance our community. We do it through community involvement. Thousands and thousands of people do this through fun and cool events, campaigns and community improvement projects. We all have a ton of pride in our community, and we all want to make it better.
Now is the time to get engaged! Now is the time to make it happen. I want everyone who sees this blog to choke Mr. Tom Hamilton's email inbox with tons of emails offering your assistance to take Boise to the next level. Seize the day!
Thanks in advance for all of your efforts. I know you will rally and support the cause.