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Meeting Minutes
July 22, 2009

Attendees

  • Margie Watson
  • John Bechtel
  • Dave Bieter
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • Scott Dowdy
  • John Evans
  • Fred Tilman

Absent

  • Phil Bandy
  • Tom Dale
  • David Ferdinand
  • Brad Holton
  • George Hyer
  • Nate Mitchell
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Vicki Thurber

Staff and Guests

  • Jim Garvin
  • Shauneen Grange
  • Theresa McCloud
  • Dr. Stan Olson
  • Alicia Ritter
  • Sally Zive – United Way
  • Bill Larsen - Staff

Summary

  • The Partnership received some excellent information on the Treasure Valley Education Partnership program and plans for enhancing educational attainment levels in the valley.
  • The Partnership approved a letter to the Federal Congressional Delegation in regards to moving the TRACON from Boise to Salt Lake City.
  • We received an update on the progress of the Statewide Smoke Free Idaho campaign.
  • The Partnership approved a letter to Idaho Power and the BLM with regards to supporting an alternate route for the Gateway Transmission Line.

Dave opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to the New Boise Public Library. He encouraged everyone to stick around for a tour of the facility after the meeting.

Treasure Valley Education Partnership

Dave introduced Alicia Ritter who was at the meeting to talk about the Treasure Valley Education Partnership. She summarized the Partnership and introduced Dr. Stan Olson – Superintendent, Boise School District as the driving force behind the initiative. She also introduced additional co-chairs to the Project. Theresa McCloud – Boise Mayor's Assistant, Dr. Jim Girvan from Boise State and Lynn Sander and Sally Zive - CEO of United Way of the Treasure Valley.

A few months back there was local news on the Treasure Valley Promise. It was an incentive to help children achieve educationally. It was to raise the educational attainment rates by using a point or reward system. In this case, children have the opportunity to obtain a full-ride scholarship to a college of their choice. It helps overcome the barriers of access and affordability.

There are 50 programs around the country called Post Secondary Opportunity Programs. These are business/community/government/education leaders coming together in their communities to figure out how to raise the educational attainment rate. Idaho is 49th in the nation with respect to college enrollment. And some of our communities in the valley are on the low end of the Idaho scale.

Dr. Olson stated that for over 60 years there have been discussions on creating school/business partnerships to focus on getting at-risk youth to focus more purposefully on post-secondary education. We know full well that throughout the Valley, there are numbers of youngsters that talk themselves out of post-secondary education.

This concept says, lets identify a body of students and create a contract between the youngster and their families. The youngster will be able start gaining "points" toward this contract at an early age, by good behavior, academic performance, attendance, service to community, etc. From those point accumulations, they will award dollars in a post-secondary education bank account that will grow from grade three through to graduation. This bank account will follow the student to any post-secondary school of their choice.

One of the objectives is to identify and recognize all the pockets of children at risk of not seeking post-secondary education. For example, there has been an emergence of refugee children in the Valley. The population of refugee children has risen to around 3,000 in the Boise School District alone.

This kind of program has been successful in other communities. In Kalamazoo, MI, a program like this has existed for years. It has attracted business investment, cooperation from colleges and support, that has basically allowed any child that graduates from a Kalamazoo school to a full-ride scholarship to a college of their choice.

Alicia stated that as they work toward this end, the United Way has provided a grant to the Treasure Valley Education Partnership to:

  1. Figure out and develop good data. A third party is now under contract to work with school districts to devise a method of creating data that will be consistent across districts and provides the information necessary to develop this program. We need to be able to identify the children that are at risk and where are the points of opportunity. And in order to do this, we need good data.
  2. We need an assessment of programs that are in place in the community. There are lots of different agencies and organizations that are addressing educational attainment. They will catalog these and assemble the information in a report.

Alicia stated that the data is clear with regard to educational attainment statistics and their effect on business site selections. Businesses do shop around and do choose a site based on some key factors and educational attainment rates are one of them. She reiterated that the Treasure Valley educational attainment rates are very low compared to other communities around the nation. Therefore, this can have an economic development impact.

She mentioned a link that was produced by the ID Department of Labor that referred to the projected hot jobs in 2016. Of the jobs mentioned, 40% require some form of formal post-secondary education. We have it within our ability to make sure our workforce is ready. We also have the opportunity to help insure that children do not fall out of that educational pipeline that is so critical.

Dr. Olson underscored that this is not just an educational issue. It is a workforce issue, a community development issue, a quality of life issue and it relates to every aspect of life in all of our communities. In his experience, it takes different strategies, different approaches to help keep kids moving forward and on the path toward post-secondary education. We are on the front end of this situation.

He stated that it is their intention to do the R&D part of this process and then be ready to sit down and begin talks with organizations to move forward with the idea. We want to know that we have the knowledge and support of leadership from all our communities on this approach.

Dave asked when this program might be operational. Dr. Olson stated that if they were to stay with this model, by mid-year they might be able to kick the project off and begin the process of putting the model in place.

Tammy asked, what the success of the CAP Program in Kalamazoo was? Dr. Olson stated that success was different from year to year. What they did was start process at grade three and started issuing checks nine years later. The success of the program has been, about 67% of children enrolled in the program were using the dollars successfully.

TRACON

Dave mentioned that over the past three years they been engaged with the FAA on the TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) at the Boise Airport. The FAA has a plan to consolidate this into Salt Lake City. It was met with some real concern.

The first concern was just the safety of moving this to Salt Lake, given the area covered and the traffic of the airport. Secondarily, the FAA had attempted to make a case from a fiscal standpoint. Dave said that this is not the case. If you look at the funding for the TRACON, this move won't save any money. There is also a technical aspect of how the newer technology will work with this system. Suffice it to say, on a number of levels, the City of Boise has a number of concerns.

The FAA entered into an MOU with the City of Boise promising landing equipment on foggy days and lighting for the airport that would reduce the number of days that you could not fly in or out. This was in exchange for the new tower. Also, in exchange, the FAA was going to keep the TRACON where it is. Dave stated they have not kept any part of their agreement with the City. According to the time frames of the MOU, they are not in compliance.

Our State's delegation has been receptive to working the issue. We have heard that the new administration of the FAA has called a time-out and the issue is going to be revisited.

John stated that this affects the military. Dave agreed and stated that we also have the guard, BIFC in addition to the hub airport designation. He hoped the Partnership could endorse the letter to our Congressional Delegation and the FAA in regards to this issue.

Tammy stated that she had taken the letter to her City Council and said that there is full support from the City of Meridian. Margie moved and Tammy seconded that the Partnership as a group sign and send the letter. Bill stated that he would forward the letter over to individuals that were not in attendance and get their signatures before sending the letter out.

Smoke Free Idaho

Dave introduced Shauneen Grange with Smoke Free Idaho. She was there as a response from some members to come back and talk with the Partnership about smoke free ordinances.

Five years ago in Idaho they were able to pass the indoor act. This act left out bars and other locations. Over the last year, they have been busy with work sessions with different cities in the valley on smoke free ordinances. They have also been active at talking to community organizations throughout the valley.

The City of Eagle, had a work session and a public hearing and were ready to pass an ordinance. On the last night, there was quite a contingent of representatives of the Tea Party at their City Council meeting. From her perspective, they seemed to strike a chord with the Council and relayed the message that if they did this alone, there might be repercussions for the City from the valley.

Shauneen believes that everybody seems to agree that the public health aspects of this campaign are right on point. Everybody agrees that workers should be covered. But, jurisdictions do not want to be the only one to go with this for fear of potential economic impacts to businesses.

Shauneen reported that the City of Moscow, Idaho passed an ordinance to ban smoking in private clubs and bars. She mentioned that they are going to speak to a gathering of the Assoc. of Idaho City's in September. As a result of the City of Moscow adopting their smoking ordinance, there appears to be support in various cities with regard to moving forward with ordinances.

Dave mentioned that he had an amazing number of bar owners that have told him that they want smoke free ordinances in place. Their concern is, they do not want to be out front. He does have some reluctant Council members. We are stuck in a circular position. People do want to see it happen, they just do not want to be first.

John mentioned that he has had feedback from one Council member. This is a social engineering perspective. The argument is that, "those fries are not good for you", maybe we should not allow the serving of fries.

Shauneen stated that this movement is strictly about the health of the workers that are in a workplace that is not smoke free. These people do not have a choice. It is not about a moral judgment whether smoking is bad for you or not.

Scott added those people are not forced to work in these environments. They choose to work there. It is not the province of government to tell people they can smoke in a bar or not. If these businesses want to take this initiative themselves; this is where it belongs, not in the hands of government.

Shauneen countered that governments regulate public health all the time. Government has said that it is not ok to smoke in restaurants and other sorts of environments. She does not understand why bar workers are subjected to these environments when no other employment category is exposed to smoky environments.

Scott felt that there are very few places where smokers can go. In a bar, the worker knows the environment and has the choice to work there or not. To put this in the perspective that we have to protect the workers, when it is a voluntary job makes no sense to him.

After discussion, it was learned that Garden City, Meridian and Boise have been approached on the idea of creating a smoke-free ordinance. Dave suggested one approach is to see if this issue gains any traction in these jurisdictions.

Dave asked if AIC is proposing a position on smoke-free environments, statewide? Shauneen indicated that they are promoting individual jurisdictions working on the issue.

Margie stated that she knows the owners of the bars in Parma. These are family owned/operated businesses. Their concern is that the bar offers a social environment that if you take away smoking, these people will just stay home to have a beer. So, for the little communities, these establishments are mom/pop enterprises and they are just hanging on. There is a big concern that a smoke-free ordinance would kill these businesses in smaller communities.

Shauneen added, that in the Cities around the country that have instituted a smoke-free work environment ordinance, the data shows that there was no economic impact to businesses.

John Evans asked if there was an outreach effort to inform the public with regard to the economic impact studies. Does the bar owners associations participate in getting the resulting data out their constituents on this issue? Shauneen mentioned that they do have an education piece associated with their outreach efforts around the State.

Weed and Seed

Bill stated that since the June meeting, he has been doing a little research around developing an application for the Weed and Seed grant program through the U.S. Dept. of Justice. The goal would be to develop some funds for an education and mitigation program for gang membership in the valley.

Currently, there is a small facility "OGBAD" in North Nampa. This was developed through Project Safe Neighborhood funds. Bill stated that this was the only formal program he could find in the valley that worked on the gang issue.

Weed and Seed has a possibility for the valley. Bill mentioned that there is one problem. Under the grant guidelines, there can only be one site. This site is typically 1-3 square miles located in a community. This is where you implement your gang mitigation strategies.

Bill mentioned that Ogden, UT and Spokane, WA have gotten funding through Weed and Seed. These communities have seen social services toward gang mitigation grow and in some cases spread throughout their respective metro areas.

Bill stated that there is one additional problem. Because of the spread out nature of our communities, there are no real clearly defined high-crime areas. However there are a couple of possibilities in the valley that may have a crime threshold that would meet grant guidelines.

Tammy mentioned that her Chief went to one of the exploratory meetings Bill had. They are willing to support what is needed to get some social services going. They realize it won't be in their City. She added the City would support an application. If we can get rid of one concentrated area, then all the member jurisdictions would benefit.

Bill mentioned that from the numbers he has seen, there are a couple of neighborhood possibilities that might fit with the goals of the grant. One is the north Nampa neighborhood where OGBAD is operating, and there appears to be one or two in Caldwell. Margie suggested that we just go ahead and focus our work. If there is a program operating in N. Nampa, then lets focus on a neighborhood in Caldwell.

Gateway Transmission Line

Dave introduced Steve Hasson from the City of Kuna. Steve thanked the Partnership for the opportunity to speak about the Gateway Transmission Line, which is proposed to go through both the Cities of Kuna and Melba. They have asked the Partnership to send a letter to the BLM and Idaho Power, supporting an alternate route for the Transmission Line that minimizes the amount of private ground being affected by the Line.

He passed around a packed of information which included; an analysis of their strategies, a financial impact analysis on the jurisdictions involved, and a proposal by Charles Baun of Environmental Conservation Services, Inc. which details an analysis if alternative routes.

He thanked Margie for alerting Kuna to the Gateway Transmission Line and the problems that will be faced by those affected.

He gave some statistics of the Gateway Transmission Line and the percentages of usage of public vs. private lands for the Line. Steve stated, that in their proposal of alternative routes, they suggest utilizing already established corridors, on mostly public lands, to run this transmission line.

Steve indicated that you need about 600 feet to provide an adequate easement for this 500kv line. The impact of the proposed route on Kuna alone, would displace 1566 homes and 66 businesses. The proposed route would have a tremendous financial, economic and social impact on the City of Kuna.

The City of Kuna employed the Land Use Planning Act to require Idaho Power to get special use permits and have to amend the comprehensive land use plan to route this transmission line through Kuna.

They have also sought and received "cooperative agency status". This Status allows the City of Kuna to be able to review all documents and correspondence. Also, this gives Kuna the ability to comment on these documents and participate in their construction. More importantly, it gives them a place at the table that decides where the transmission line is located.

They have heard back from the BLM that they have received the proposal of alternative routes and have relayed the message that this was just what they were looking for. The BLM wanted communities to come up with some soundly constructed alternatives. The BLM has also come back with a response to the proposal and stated some preferences with respect to the proposed alternate routes. Importantly, all their preferences from the proposal, utilize public lands as the route for the transmission line.

Fred asked if the route the BLM/Idaho Power was proposing was along an already federally designated energy corridor. Steve indicated it wasn't. They analyzed the whole route and found that it did not conform with an already established corridor.

Scott mentioned that the person that developed the proposal, also was heavily involved with the development of the existing line through the Birds of Prey area. As an update, there has been such uproar over the route in Idaho, the Transmission Line has been taken off the fast track back in Washington. The draft EIS deadline has been pushed back to early 2010 to allow for further comment. Also, the BLM management in this area has all been moved, so this may have an impact on the implementation of this line.

Fred asked if any of the three options on the proposal run through established federal energy corridors. Steve indicated that he was unsure of whether they were federally designated, but each of the proposed routes follow established energy corridors. He added that the language of the letter is accurate and helpful in the cause.

Margie mentioned that if you look at federal energy corridors in Idaho, the corridors themselves are very intermittent and do not run continuously through Idaho. She believes that there was not a federally designated corridor through the section of the line in question.

Steve felt that the members of the Treasure Valley Partnership have a lot of political clout. He felt that the letter going out collectively from all the local communities through the Partnership should speak volumes with regard to the need to look at logical alternatives to their original proposal.

Margie moved and Fred seconded to approve the letter to Idaho Power and the BLM. Motion carried unanimously.

Air Quality Public Information Campaign

Bill mentioned that there is a press conference for the campaign upcoming at the City of Meridian on Thursday, July 30 from 2-2:30. He added that the TV Commercials we had developed are starting to be shown. He has been active daily in posting updates to Twitter as well as the Air Quality website.

Fred moved to approve the minutes and financial report. Scott seconded. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned