The Idaho Way: Redistricting is coming, ACHD’s memorial business, post-COVID economy

·4 min read

By Scott McIntosh, Opinion Editor

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Census data that is needed to redraw Idaho’s state legislative and congressional districts is expected to arrive by Aug. 16, according to Keith Bybee, deputy division manager for the Idaho Legislative Services Office.

Scott McIntosh is the Idaho Statesman’s opinion editor.
Scott McIntosh is the Idaho Statesman’s opinion editor.

The data is coming later than the usual March release because of the pandemic, but it’s a little bit earlier than the Sept. 30 deadline the Census Bureau had announced earlier. The commission drawing the new boundaries will need all the time it can get.

“Our vendor is going to take that data and provide it to us when it’s released, and we’ll get busy drawing some initial maps,” Bybee told me in a phone call this week.

Once the Census data is released, six people — three Republicans and three Democrats — will be appointed and start the heavy lifting of finalizing new maps. Those meetings likely won’t start until September, possibly after Labor Day.

This process is important because the maps determine what legislative and congressional district you live in. Changes to the legislative districts may move an incumbent legislator into another district, pitting some incumbent legislators against one another in the next election. Some Idaho residents will change congressional districts and get a different representative.

Commission members have 90 days to hammer out new legislative districts and congressional district lines. This year, because of the delayed Census data, the commission will be on a tight deadline: Idaho’s two-week candidate filing period begins Feb. 28.

Read why I think appointing hard-line partisans this year could spell disaster.

ACHD should get out of the memorial business

ACHD erected a permanent sign encouraging motorists to drive safely in memory of Devyn Schultz. The sign was later taken down, reinstalled and removed a second time over complaints that it glossed over Schultz’s drunk driving, which caused the crash that killed him and a 15-year-old girl.
ACHD erected a permanent sign encouraging motorists to drive safely in memory of Devyn Schultz. The sign was later taken down, reinstalled and removed a second time over complaints that it glossed over Schultz’s drunk driving, which caused the crash that killed him and a 15-year-old girl.

The Ada County Highway District got into hot water when it erected — at taxpayer expense — a memorial to a young man who drove drunk, with marijuana in his system, speeding in his mother’s car, which he took without permission, ran a red light, and crashed into another car, killing himself and a teenage girl in the other car.

Our editorial board thinks ACHD should get out of the memorial sign business altogether, regardless of the circumstances.

Economic successes come at a cost

In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks at a news conference at the Statehouse in Boise.
In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks at a news conference at the Statehouse in Boise.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little this week on LinkedIn posted an essay from the Republican National Committee’s website titled, “Red states lead the way on jobs.” But here’s the flip side of the coin: Red states also lead the way on COVID-19 infection rates.

Read here why our editorial board thinks such chest-beating should be tempered with reality.

Big land deals this month

Auctioneer Kent Corbett, left, of Corbett Bottles Real Estate Marketing, signals for another bid from developer Corey Barton, right, during an auction of 282 acres of state farmland on June 11, 2021.
Auctioneer Kent Corbett, left, of Corbett Bottles Real Estate Marketing, signals for another bid from developer Corey Barton, right, during an auction of 282 acres of state farmland on June 11, 2021.

Remember in the boom times of 2006-07 in the Treasure Valley, when the topic of land sale prices was like talking about the weather?

“Did you hear Mrs. Jones sold her property for $75,000 an acre?” someone would say at the grocery store.

“Heck, I heard Farmer Smith sold his land for $90,000 an acre,” would come the reply.

When prices hit $100,000 an acre, it was like the world went mad.

Two seemingly outlandish land deals made me think of those heady times.

Corey Barton, of CBH Homes, bought 282 acres of state farmland near Caldwell for $36.6 million, or about $130,000 per acre.

Matt Bauscher, a partner in a Boise-based real estate brokerage, bought 34.5 acres of parkland owned by the city of Eagle for $9.1 million at auction. That’s nearly $264,000 per acre.

I’m working on a column about those land deals and what it means for affordable housing. Stay tuned.

Idaho business leaders on diversity

Idaho business leaders speak out on diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace and send message to their team members advocating for human rights.
Idaho business leaders speak out on diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace and send message to their team members advocating for human rights.

Idaho business leaders shared with me a message they sent to their employees about diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace. You can read that message here.

Caldwell High graduation message: ‘Focus on what really matters’

Camden Maldonado, a 2021 graduate of Caldwell High School, gave the senior address at Caldwell High’s graduation ceremony.
Camden Maldonado, a 2021 graduate of Caldwell High School, gave the senior address at Caldwell High’s graduation ceremony.

Remember this name: Camden Maldonado. She was the senior speaker at this year’s Caldwell High School graduation ceremony. I asked her if she’d be willing to share her speech with me to run in the Statesman. She agreed. Here it is in full.

Idaho Matters

I’ll be on the Reporter Roundtable on Idaho Matters, live on the radio at noon today at KBSX, 91.5 FM, or you can listen later at 8 p.m. on the radio or online at https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/show/idaho-matters.

What you’re saying

Letters To Editor
Letters To Editor

This week, we’ve received letters on electric vehicle fees, voting rights and preserving democracy.

You can read those letters and more by clicking here.

You can submit a letter to the editor or guest opinion by clicking here.

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