Monday, February 22, 2016

"Old Lobbyists never die, they just fade away."

In an unanimous vote, the Board of the College of Western has officially supported the new trustee zone bill, HB 512 . This is a better bill than the one what was forced on us before. I supported the motion at our CWI board meeting supporting the new bill which is HB 512.

I do want to draw your attention to this language:

SECTION 1. That Chapter 21, Title 33, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and designated as Section33-2104A,Idaho Code, and to read as follows: 33-2104A.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRUSTEE  ZONES. (1) Each existing community college district shall be divided into five (5) trustee zones. Each13 trustee position on the board shall be designated to a zone so that each14 trustee zone contains one (1) designated trustee position.

(7) Notwithstanding the time requirements set forth in this section, on or before July 1, 2016, the board of trustees of each community college district formed before the effective date of this acts shall obtain a state board of education-approved proposal to divide the district into five (5) trustee zones. Trustee terms due for the 2016 election shall be subject to the zoning and board position requirements set forth in this section.

This language basically means Guy Hurbutt and Mark Dunham are NOT eligible to run again. Our terms are up this year.  Emily Walton will have two years left on her term.  

When the new “zones” are complete, because Emily Walton, Guy Hurlbutt, and I live in the part of town in Boise, there is no way Guy and I could run because Emily’s term has two years to go in her term. And she's a great trustee!

Guy already announced several months ago that he would NOT run again.  I really thought I would run again for several reasons.

Nevertheless, HB 512 precludes me from running again. However, I really do support the legislation.

Certainly, there could be "gerrymandering," however, the CWI board would not consider gerrymandering. This needs to be fair and population based. This cannot be for the benefit of “Emily Walton” and “Mark Dunham.”  

It is not about two specific individuals. It should be about well-thought out legislation and policy.  

I would never be party to gerrymandering.  

I am hopeful that legislators who proposed this bill will now come together to support the students and the economy.  This divisive issue should be behind us for the sake of students, business, and taxpayers.

The new board should coalesce around the two-campus concept that has been planned for years. This is not a new concept despite what some media and legislators think.

It has been disheartening when news media and fellow elected officials state and/or believe that CWI will move operations out of Nampa to consolidate everything to the 10 acre parcel near the Boise River.

To suggest otherwise, is an outright lie.

That was never the Board’s plan or intent. Rather, a true community college serves students in accessible ways.  The Board has always committed to build-out the 100# acres in Nampa. The CWI Board has already programed two buildings in Nampa, and the Micron Technology Building in Nampa is State-of-Art regional training center which helps students and businesses.

That goal has NEVER changed.

For the 8,000 Ada County students, we have leased several buildings for years. This is NOT new. This is NOT a plan to abandon Canyon County and Nampa. Rather thousands of CWI students live in Ada County and attend classes in 5 leased buildings on Overland and Maple Grove.

The property called the Bob Rice parcel is designed to move the existing leased Ada County campus to the Bob Rice property which we own.

In both Ada and Canyon counties, taxpayers pay $2 million A YEAR for leased buildings.

It seems that people simply do not understand that there are two counties and CWI serves students in both counties. 

That is what community colleges do.

When HB 512 passes, it should be fair and equal.

For example, according to the US Census Bureau:

Ada County has a population of 426,236.

Canyon County has a population of 203,143.

By state law, every community college has to have 5 trustees.

Therefore, the two counties have a total population of 629,379. That means, each Trustee will "serve" about 125,876 people.  The five trustees would be elected “at large” but must live in their “zone.” I actually support the concept fully.

The new law will require zones. Here is the actual legislative language:

The boundaries of the several trustee zones in each existing community college district shall be drawn so that the five (5) zones are as nearly equal in population as practicable. If a community college district is situated within two (2) or more counties, and anyone (1)of the counties has sufficient population to warrant at least one (1)zone, then the boundaries of a  trustee zone shall be located wholly within the boundaries of such county.

It appears to me, Canyon County will “get” one trustee, Ada County will “get” 3 trustees, and one zone will be split between two counties.  To be fair, this should NOT be a King Solomon’s Choice.

Though it seems that I will not be on the Board of the College of Western Idaho anymore after December, I am so proud what Canyon and Ada Counties have done. The five original trustees were installed in July of 2007. We had a building but nothing else. No staff. No plans.

Today, College of Western Idaho (CWI) is a comprehensive community college providing higher education programs to residents of Western Idaho.  We offer a full range of academic and professional-technical courses leading to an Associate of Arts or Science degree, Associate of Applied Science degrees, continuing education, and certificates. CWI also offers Basic Skills Education to help prepare for a GED, Dual Credit for high school students, and fast-track career training for working professionals. Choose from classes offered at a variety of campuses throughout the Treasure Valley or online.

Though the new law precludes me from running again, I am blessed to have part of the history of College of Western Idaho.

I hope legislators will support CWI and a bond campaign which is needed to build buildings. However, I fear that some people who wanted this legislation will never support CWI and necessary bonds.  

And finally, the end of my CWI service also will mark the end of my Idaho legislative career. 

I started to lobby the Idaho legislature in 1984. I was the CEO of the Idaho Association of REALTOR’S for almost 20 years. Then I was the Government Relations Director of BSU along with the Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Boise State.  I was the Vice President of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry for a year before I was named the Executive Director of the Associated General Contractors. Then, I retired because of two strokes. Nevertheless, I never missed a CWI Board meeting because of my strokes. And then, I was the De facto “lobbyist” for CWI as a Board member.

33 years as an Idaho lobbyist.

I have had a great lobbying career. I always tried to make a difference with respect for others.

Now, as my CWI term ends, “Old lobbyists never die, they just fade away.”

I will focus on other things other than the Idaho Legislature. It is time for Mark Dunham to leave the Idaho legislative stage....