Idaho's Weekly Journal of Local & National Commentary Week 2815


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by Free Market Duck

Boise's Watergate fiasco continues as Univ of Idaho plans to blow $300 million on new marketing campaign
(Dec 11, 2007)

 "I don't think anybody else knew the depth and the breadth of the crisis of the University of Idaho.  It was a crisis of leadership, no doubt.  It was a crisis of vision -- not having one.  It was a crisis of financial mismanagement, of low integrity and loss of trust with our public, with our faculty on and off campus, the Legislature, the governor, the (State) Board." -- Tim White, U of Idaho President, referring to the 2002 $136 million University Place fiasco

Boise, ID Oh, no no no, Mr. Tim White.  Not only did we at Free Market Duck know "the depth and the breadth of the crisis of the University of Idaho" in the failed University Place fiasco, one of our authors published a rather comprehensive summary of EXACTLY what happened by who, what, when, where, why and how in the book Boise's Watergate.  And you received a copy of that book, Boise's Watergate:  University Place & All The Governor's Men as well as the $1 million, 604-page, investigative Prince Report initiated by the State Board of Education.

  And, by the way, ditto for the editors at the socialist Idaho Statesman newspaper who appeared to have a dog of their own -- albeit as a minor conflict of interest -- in this bankrupt dog fight.

   So, let's everybody stop pretending that some mystery virus fell down out of the sky and infected the U of I and U of I Foundation and all the aforementioned suspects.  We know exactly what happened and we also know that no justice -- no true justice for the crimes committed -- has been, or ever will be, administered.

   Therefore, why are we not surprised to read ridiculous articles in the Idaho Statesman this week about how the U of Idaho is making a big time comeback from some accidental or unknown adversity that occurred from 2000 -- actually 1996, if one looks at all the facts -- until today?

   Anybody who is interested in the facts can read about it in Boise's Watergate, a 166-page summarization of what turns out to be one of the largest financial fiascos in Idaho's history.  Click on the appropriate link for the book on this Home Page and find out the truth.

   But let's not dwell here on what you can read in Boise's Watergate.  Let's look at the absurdity of announcing an alleged Comeback for the U of Idaho.

   First, we have nothing against the U of Idaho per se nor any of the students or faculty.  We question, however, the U of I's "The Road Back" to becoming a real institute of higher learning in Idaho.

   Here's what the Idaho Statesman reported as President Tim White's road to recovery and their current financial position.

   The Big Plan is to spend $300 million on a marketing campaign to increase student enrollment and federal grants.  The university is still in debt $14 million and wrote off lots more millions earlier.  Private donations for 2006 rose to $28 million from a low of $11 million in 2005.  The big question is:  from where will the U of I obtain $300 million for its ad campaign?  And, how brilliant is it to spend $300 million on marketing?

   Obviously, the $300 million cannot come from private donations.  Private donations for one year alone equal about 1/10 of the $300 million.  The $300 million can't come from federal grant money since fed money is allotted by law only to the specific projects it funds.  And we know nobody at the U of Idaho has ever broken the law and used federal grant money for other than its intended purpose, right?  THEREFORE, mes amies, it appears that the $300 million will be coming from dum-da-dum you guessed it, state tax money.

   Can anybody guess how much education Idaho could buy with $300 million?  $300 million that is planned for ad campaigns and brochures and marketing to attempt to lure students to the dwindling enrollment at the U of Idaho?  This is twice as much money as was stolen by everybody and their brother in the initial University Place fiasco in which the stated reason for the robbery was, once again, to expand the U of Idaho.

   Has anybody ever thought that many students don't want to attend the U of Idaho for reasons that $300 million won't cure such as, who wants to live in the boonies instead of attending BSU in metropolitan Boise?  Or, who wants to freeze their ass off up in the frozen tundra of Moscow, Idaho, instead of enrolling in sunny California?  Or, who wants to attend the university at which "Wide Stance" Senator Larry Craig was the student body president?  More importantly, how does spending $300 million for marketing show anybody that the U of Idaho is more prudent about the use of its funds than the previous set of crooks?

   Although we are not suggesting it unless one turns BSU into a private university, it would make more sense for Idaho State Education to dissolve the U of Idaho and move all of its students, faculty and money to a privately-funded Boise University, establish more grad schools, and expand the campus into a truly "metropolitan research university of distinction."  That's correct.  Merge U of I into a privately-funded Boise University in Boise.  Then perhaps Idaho could compete against Stanford, U of Washington, and U.C. Berkeley.  Are you telling me nobody would voluntarily finance a private university?  I give you Stanford, Harvard, USC, the list is endless and look at their positive balance sheets:  in the billions of dollars.

   Back to the scene of the $300 million crime.

   So what we really have here is throwing more tax money, $300 million this time, down the tubes for the same excuse as the original perps gave in the 2002 failed University Place fiasco:  to expand the U of Idaho.  At that time, the expansion was into downtown Boise, two blocks away from rival Boise State University.  Go figure.  And most of the crooks were never apprehended or brought to justice.  Civic Partners, the California developer, is still embroiled in a University Place lawsuit for $17 million of their $28 million booty, give or take a milsky.  U of I VP of Admin Jerry Wallace was slapped on the wrist and given 3 year's probation while retaining all benefits and pension.  Two leading lawyers whose law firm, Givens Pursley, milked the Univ Place fiasco for $1.6 million were fined $17,500 each and retained their law licenses.  U of I Prez Bob Hoover was shifted over to Prez of Albertson's College.  Governor Kempthorne moved up to Sec of the Interior.  Wayland Winstead, who blew the whistle on everybody, mysteriously disappeared.   Hell, all the participants -- except Winstead -- were promoted, not sanctioned.

   Since insurance companies and secret judicial meetings provided no real justice in the University Place case, the Idaho taxpayers picked up the tab.  And since no justice was obtained, we are not surprised that the U of Idaho fiasco will continue.

   Think about it.  $300 million for a marketing campaign to try and cover up, gloss over, and recover from -- not undo or provide justice; only 1 person was indicted -- what ultimately amounted to a $250 million Boise Watergate fiasco initiated by the Ada County Commissioners and others who pulled off an end run around the constitutional spending requirements of Idaho.  Wake up taxpayers.  Boise's Watergate cover up is still alive and kicking.  The crooks and robbery just keep on coming.  If they're not getting it from taxes, please tell me where the $300 million is coming from. -- FM Duck

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