McLean: No free ponies, but priorities that are detached from reality

Wayne Hoffman Articles, SMART Boise Leave a Comment

When I was a sixth-grader, my teacher instructed the class to design an ideal city, with our only limitation being the power of our imaginations and the availability of color pencils. Untethered by reality or any regard for who would pay for it, the class of preteens proceeded to color their blank construction paper with implausibly permanent rainbows and blue skies, as well as realistic, practical features such as roads, trees and lakes, houses, hospitals, stores, restaurants, and schools. 

The only thing I vividly recall about my “perfect” city: My young brain struggled to decide whether my fictional town’s pièce de résistance, a bridge at the center of the map, should ascend a mile in the air or some lesser, more realistic height. 

I mention this because, some days, it looks like Mayor Lauren McLean’s Boise is being run by a class of imaginative middle schoolers. The mayor’s newly-released “Strategic Priorities for the City of Boise” validates that concern. McLean’s priorities, not shockingly, parallel her transition team’s recently-released socialist manifesto, which the mayor, under pressure from critics, previously disavowed, claiming that the reports are “not policy documents.” 

Clearly, the mayor was lying.

McLean’s strategic plan does not include free ponies for everyone, because, well, that would be crazy. But her strategic plan uses the exact childlike head-in-the-clouds headers her transition team used for their reports: “A Safe and Healthy City for Everyone,” “A Home for Everyone,” “Movement for Everyone,” “A Clean City for Everyone,” “Opportunity for Everyone,” and “Engaging Everyone.” Missing in her policy prioritization is her transition team’s most controversial report calling for a “More Equitable City for Everyone,” which proposed sex education for pre-kindergartners and “free” abortions. 

Her strategic plan drips with the same Marxist ideology that emanated from the transition team. The mayor’s strategic priorities propose a host of new programs with nary a mention of how to pay for them. Her pie-in-the-stratosphere plan celebrates the devaluation of private property rights, seeks to make good on promises to redistribute wealth, and would impose government in every facet of life for Boiseans. The plan includes an already-in-the-works slum-to-be city-owned housing project and promises the addition of more government housing. 

The mayor would impose restrictions on future developments, all in the interest of what the city dubs “affordable housing.” She wants the city to enact new programs to make taxpayers support people who cannot pay their housing bill. (Here’s a sensible alternative: Lower property taxes so people can afford their rent or to stay in their homes? But, I digress.)

The mayor, who is moving taxpayer money around to finance the creation of a “Climate Action Division” agency within City Hall, said she wants to “put a singular focus on climate change.” The mayor says she wants to “create a database to track tree planting throughout the city” and she wants the city to be about “finding and supporting new business opportunities that address climate issues.”

McLean also proudly declares she would make sure the city “attracts employers that reflect Boise’s character,” whatever that means. 

Her priorities also include a government-funded daycare center for the children of city employees, as well as a city daycare (unclear if it is to be owned, managed, or paid for by taxpayers) for residents to participate in city meetings and events. McLean also proposes Portland-esqe “translation for core documents in the most common language spoken by users.” 

I could go on. Suffice it to say, the mayor’s priorities don’t reflect the priorities of Boiseans. The vast majority doesn’t want City Hall to be someone’s mini-social justice experiment. They just want the cops to come when called, trash collected, fires put out, water to come when the tap is turned. That’s pretty much it. 

Boiseans love their city when it only does what a city is supposed to do, not when it leans to the right or to the left. What McLean proposes to do is inundate Boise residents with costly, lefty, inappropriate nonsense that’s as useless as a child’s imaginary mile-high bridge.