Letters to the editor, Feb. 7, 2021 | Opinion

Tin foil

Sholeh Patrick, under inquiring minds, wrote on Feb. 2, 2021 that conspiracy theorists share five traits. These include their need to be in control, their need to feel special, they are depressed and anxious and they tend toward bias. Article quote: While it must feel terrifying to believe in their version of the world, they don’t want to be “saved.” So I asked myself… what if global warming is man-made and can be reversed, Donald Trump is dangerous, Covid is really as bad as they say, abortion is simply cutting out foreign tissue growth, millions of illegals do benefit America, blue state social policies and high taxes is the path red states should follow, white privilege is real and should be scorned, those who work must give a free ride to those who won’t even if it means massive taxpayer debt, and relying on China for all manufacturing and the Mideast for our energy is the efficient way to help everyone. What if a boy can be a girl, a girl a boy, or they can be both or neither, police are not needed so DE fund them but don’t give the money back to taxpayers just give it to other programs to spend. What if no one has guns except the government and, there really is no God…this is all there is and it’s all by chance. But wait… what if much of this is false? Well then, in my mind that makes them the conspiracy theorists running around in tin foil hats, not me!

Randy Huska, Post Falls


When reading an article in your paper, I was saddened to hear that the Lincoln statue in Julia Davis Park had been defaced. Upon further reading, three groups of people, the Peaceful Roots of Change, Black Lives Matter, and Boise Antifa, were proud to admit their actions in organizing the vandalization of this statue. They wished to bring awareness of Lincoln’s treatment of people of color. Referring to the execution of 38 Sioux in 1862.

Perhaps these groups should spend more time reading books about the enormous good Lincoln did and not searching through history to find something to diminish his stature. I would recommend reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kerns Goodwin to enlighten themselves of his true nature.

I am well aware of the ultra right faction of people who are xenophobic, homophobic and profess white supremacy by expounding many lies to enhance their supposed supremacy. However, I was not aware Boise has an ultra left wing faction that uses private property trespass and vandalism to support their cause. Perhaps it is because I do not seek information from social media.

The last six months I have proudly worn my Black Lives Matter t-shirt to reflect my support of common decency and equal protection of my fellow man. Now I can no longer wear my shirt in Boise, Idaho.

Judith Collins, Boise

Real progress

Regarding “Lincoln Statue Defacing,” the spokesperson for Peaceful Roots of Change doesn’t know her history. She falsely stated, “Lincoln himself owned slaves.” Lincoln opposed slavery his entire career, signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves and strongly supported the 13th Amendment which abolished the practice. The amendment passed Congress in January 1865 and was ratified by 27 states by December, months after his assassination.

Regarding the “Dakota 38,” I encourage readers to check Wikipedia: Dakota War of 1862. Lincoln conducted the official review of the trials associated with the conflict and ultimately commuted 265 of the 303 Sioux sentenced to death. However, the trial was “deficient in many respects” according to the Wikipedia narrative. One can argue the merits of Lincoln’s decision but where’s the evidence his decision was based on skin color?

Ms Hager states her group believes it didn’t break any laws. Boise City Code section 5-3-2B states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to tamper with, injure, deface, destroy or remove any…work of art, landmark or historic structure…erected, placed or maintained and operated by lawful authority.” So, defacing a work of art is unlawful no matter what kind of paint you are using. It’s great her organization has “wonderful lawyers” on their side. What they really need is a group of wonderful, unbiased educators who can teach them fact from fiction.

I am glad Boise’s political leadership is disturbed by this desecration and agree with the Mayor that “this terrible act detracts from progress.” The parties responsible must be held legally accountable. Anything less will further detract from progress.

John Larned, Eagle


My heart broke this morning when I read of the passing of three Idaho National Guard pilots while doing their jobs. I grieve with their families and with their units. I was Regular Army, but anyone in uniform were my brothers and sisters.

Robert Graham, Meridian


HB 65, the “Monument Protection” bill, gives the state legislature more power than they are entitled to. Rather than “protecting our heritage”, it is a power grab. It mandates that every time a school, park or street that is named after a historical figure or event.has a proposed name change, the local citizens must run it through the Legislature for approval. Balderdash! Local communities can handle their own business. I would like to see less grandstanding in the Capitol and more work taking place, thank you very much.

Shannon McCalla, Sweet

Big list

The Idaho Legislature: overwhelmed with its self-importance, unable to act reasonably and responsibly for all Idahoans.

This is the Legislature that flaunts health directives and denies science to endanger the well-being of its members, employees and constituents.

This is the Legislature that ignores the advice of Idaho’s attorney general, passes unconstitutional laws and then pays over $2 million to the ACLU and others to prove it in court.

This is the Legislature that grants huge tax breaks to businesses and the wealthy but cannot grant even marginal property tax relief to struggling homeowners or sales tax relief on food.

This is the Legislature that is taking weeks, maybe months, to distribute federal COVID-19 relief to its constituents when Gov. Brad Little did it in days.

This is the Legislature that so fears the wisdom of the Idahoans who elected its members that it has tried to severely curtail their constitutional right to initiative and referendum.

This is the Legislature that kicked a constitutional officer out of the Capitol so its part-time yet officious members can create private offices to hide from their constituents.

This is the Legislature that worships at the altar of “the Idaho way,” but flatly refuses to protect all Idahoans from discrimination and guarantee all children needed medical treatment.

The list is as long as your arm.

Rather than authorizing these over-sized egos to call themselves into special session on any whim, Idahoans should restrict them to one 90-day session every other year to limit the damage these politicians do.

Bob Fick, Boise

Thank you

I wish to thank all the people who were standing in line at the Meridian DMV early on the first day of February. When I arrived at the DMV early in the morning there were maybe twenty fine people in front of me and it was cold outside. Being in my upper eighties, my balance is not great standing long periods of time. I mentioned to the man standing behind me that I was going home and would come back later with my walker. This very nice man said he would hold my place in line if I wanted to sit in my car.

I moved the car closer to the DMV and this really nice man told me that the people ahead of me had given permission for me to move to the front of the line. This very thoughtful man had gone down the line to explain my situation to those great people standing in line.

I was able to move to the front and sit in the DMV waiting room and was helped by an extremely pleasant DMV lady and all was take care of.

This was probably my last trip to the DMV as I won’t be driving much longer but it will always be my most memorable trip. My sincere thanks go to all those standing in line and a special thanks to gentleman who helped me so very much Idaho is a great state and has many people willing to help others.

Ann Gage, Meridian

Property taxes

It’s no secret property taxes are one of the biggest concerns for many of Idaho’s homeowners.

New legislation being proposed in the Senate’s Local Government and Taxation Committee, on its face, claims to be a solution. Instead, this bill would force cuts in essential local services, while doing nothing to restore balance to our upside-down property tax system. And the legislation notably leaves out the obvious solutions the majority party has been blocking: lifting the cap on the homeowner’s exemption, increasing property tax assistance for seniors and veterans, and using impact fees to build needed schools so that growth pays for itself.

The piece of legislation will add further strain to local governments, limiting budget growth to the Consumer Price Index — a highly volatile index which has little relation to actual expenses — and capping local government budgets, even when growth far exceeds that amount.

Residential property taxes would continue to increase at a pace that surpasses commercial properties due to rising home values and the diminishing value of the capped, non-indexed homeowner’s exemption.

This is particularly true in Ada County. When you compound the annual tax bill changes for median commercial properties since 2016, growth has been almost flat, at just 1%. For residents, that growth has been 28%.

I am hopeful actual solutions will gain traction this year, because the Legislature has kicked the can down the road for too long. Other upcoming legislation includes efforts to re-index the homeowner’s exemption to housing values, so rising property values do not unfairly shift the tax load onto homeowners. There will also be a bill to catch up the circuit breaker program with rising property taxes, so more homeowners on fixed incomes — such as seniors, veterans and people with disabilities — can qualify for property tax forgiveness.

Sen. Ali Rabe, Boise

Fact check

FACT: There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election. FACT: Every US state, Republican and Democrat controlled, verified their official electoral votes. FACT: Trump Attorney General, Bill Barr, found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. FACT: Sixty-one of sixty-two fraud challenges by Trump and his allies were dismissed by Republican and Democrat judges, including the US Supreme Court. FACT: The US Senate and Vice President Pence certified all state electoral votes on January 6, even after they were violently attacked by violent domestic terrorists. FACT: Joe Biden was sworn in as President on January 20, 2021. These are the FACTS, the TRUTH and REALITY. Any statement to the contrary is false, un-American, unpatriotic, anti- democracy and borders on sedition and treason. Yet, given these FACTS, there are some people, who label themselves Republicans, who openly refuse to accept political REALITY. Some of these people are elected officials in Idaho, who have sworn to uphold the laws of the Constitution and the will of US voters. They refuse to publicly recognize the validity of the election because telling the truth may shorten their personal political future in a Trump state like Idaho. The United States has endured for over 200 years on FACTS, not LIES, on the TRUTH and Constitutional Law, not false conspiracy theories like the BIG LIE, on the majority votes of people of all colors, creeds, religions, all economic and political status and sexual orientations, not on the threats and actions of bigoted, hateful and violent domestic terrorists who label themselves patriots. Many Republicans need to abandon Trump’s BIG LIES and face REALITY. Biden is the President for the next four years. Every American needs to have a simple REALITY CHECK of the facts for the sake of our democracy.

Steven Shake, Caldwell


Every February, the Idaho Legislature is awash in a sea of AARP red vests as hundreds of members descend on the Idaho Capitol. It’s a meaningful time to learn more about the legislative process and communicate with lawmakers about the issues that matter most to older Idahoans. This year, our lobby week meetings will be held virtually. The current situation makes these discussions more important than ever. On behalf of the AARP Idaho executive council and the more than 185,000 AARP members across the state, I would implore everyone, of all ages, to make their voice heard this legislative session.

A few of the issues AARP is tackling this session include additional protections for long-term care facility residents during the pandemic, solutions for the ongoing retirement savings crisis, providing relief for escalating property taxes, added support for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, lowering prescriptions drug prices, assisting family caregivers, increasing telehealth and broadband access and making communities more livable for residents as they age.

It’s important to remember that the Idaho Legislature is responsible for translating public will into public policy. As such, a continuing priority for AARP is providing ways for Idahoans to connect with decision makers. Through telephone town halls and other virtual events, we give people of all ages the opportunity to actively engage with lawmakers.

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Even though COVID-19 means no in-person advocacy this legislative session, we will continue to work virtually to make Idaho a better place to live for people of all ages. If you are interested in learning more about AARP Idaho’s work and ways to get involved, visit www.aarp.org/id or email at [email protected].

Bessie Katsilometes, Boise


In Congress’s current session, the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act will be brought to a vote. This piece of legislation reflects the teachings and advocacies of the Roman Catholic Church. Fundamentally, in this Faith’s recognizing of the dignity of all of humanity. Pope Leo XIII, in Rerum Novarum, endorsed the formation of “workingmen’s unions, arguing that “ they should become more numerous and more efficient.’

Pope Paul VI declares that “Among the basic rights of the human person is to be numbered the right of freely founding unions for working people. These should be able truly to represent them and to contribute to the organizing of economic life in the right way. Included is the right of freely taking part in,’ the activity of these unions without risk of reprisal.

Pope John Paul II defined Unions as ‘an INDISPENSABLE (emphasis added) element of social life” and that they serve as “a mouthpiece for the struggle for social justice.” He demanded that workers should be assured the right to strike.’

In 1986 the American Catholic Bishops issued defended the right to organize in the strongest terms and called for labor law reform to better protect that right.’ The PRO Act would answer this clarion call.

Against the solidarity of workers and our rights, as defended by the Catholic Church, are the foes who advocate and promote hyper-individuality, the atomization of society, and the socio-Darwinism’s ‘every man for himself.’

John Andrechak, Kamiah

Double standard

The Biden presidential administration two week covid19 update:

40,000 US covid related deaths. The 26 week annual deaths at that rate is 1.3 million on his hands. That is the rate before he was handed multiple vaccines that did not exist one year ago. Now we have the mutant covid. This strain is being referenced by the administration, and the media, as the “South African strain”. Double standard?

Scott Borcher, Nampa


The second amendment (so often quoted by conservatives to support the Right to Bear Arms), also includes Section 3. It states that any who have previously taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, (the President and all Representatives take this oath), but then who …“shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”… may be removed by a vote of two-thirds of each House of Congress. Trump, whether still in office or out, is guilty of attempting a violent authoritarian coup to prevent a peaceful transition of power. Do the Republicans think it is OK to violate their oath rather than hold the oath breaker Trump accountable?

Sheila Robbins, Boise

Ridiculous laws

Each day I read about one more legislator attempting to catch the media’s attention and probably garner support from his/her district voters by proposing another bill to restrict the rights of Idahoans. Legislators stood up proclaiming their right not to wear masks when in session when they were trying to wrest away the governor’s emergency declaration power and yet feel it is their right to determine what the citizens can and cannot do on so many levels. SJR 101 proposed by Scott Grow is certainly an attempt to legislate morality. Now Scott Okuniewicz proposed a bill that would allow the legislature to determine what streets, schools or parks can be named, modeled after a 20 year old South Carolina law! Is that really the legislators business to make those decisions? Do laws in deep south states determine what is best in Idaho? I continue to be appalled by these lawmakers attempts to determine what is best for all of us! I am responsible for my actions, my decisions and my well being within the laws that protect us all. Legislators, please go home and try, just try when you return to not waste time by proposing ridiculous laws.

Christine Donnell, Meridian


We are writing out of concern over the focus of the Idaho Legislature on vengeful actions, rather than the significant issues our state is facing. Last year Legislators focused on penalizing the populace of our great state for forcing the issue of Medicaid coverage. This year we are seeing a focus on penalizing our Governor for doing his job during the pandemic, and an on-going interest in polluting the Idaho Constitution with ridiculous preemptory limits to what citizens can put forward in an initiative. It all looks like a big power grab to us.

We do not always agree with Governor Little on everything, but we believe he has done an outstanding job of balancing the science with the voices of Idahoans in keeping COVID-19 from overwhelming our medical facilities and causing even more tragic death, disability, and economic distress. He has responded to each change with nuanced adjustments intended to keep a balance between unreasonable restriction and unnecessary viral spread.

We cannot see how shifting powers from the Governor to the legislature would allow for timely adjustments to help our economy, our healthcare infrastructure, or our populace. In fact, prioritizing $4 million dollars to fight self-imposed lawsuits, while diddling around with allocation of pandemic aid to people who desperately need it illustrates just how out of touch our lawmakers can be. We shudder to think of the damage the legislature could do if given the power to call themselves back into session. The sooner they go home the better!

We would ask that our legislators rethink their priorities and get busy doing the people’s work of addressing pandemic aid, economic health, infrastructure, education, and all the things that really matter.

George & Rhonda Wolfrum, Boise


Your reporter needs to inquire a little more deeply into Saint Alphonsus’ self-serving statements. He quoted Mark Snider as saying: “Saint Alphonsus will contact those whose appointments were canceled to reschedule.” I am one of the patients whose appointment was cancelled. When they called me to cancel, I was told that they would not call me to reschedule. Instead, they would send me an email informing me vaccine appointments were available again, but I would have to call them to reschedule. If you’ve tried to call Saint Alphonsus recently, you know it’s virtually impossible to reach them by phone. So, they call you to cancel, but they throw up a huge barrier to you rescheduling.

John Prusia, Nampa

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