Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Guess I Don't Exist

Recently ACHD had a grand opening of the East Park Center Bridge and a great time was had by all. I wandered down under the bridge to see the plaque that was so extolled by our dear leader Carol McKee only to find out that I don't exist.

The plaque is lovely as you can see with the fine work done by Irene Deeley, Woman of Steel, along with 2 others, Dirk Anderson and Noel Weber. She used metal stains to bring out some color on what is normally just dull finished brass that weathers over time. She reflected the natural surroundings of the Boise River in cameo form. (I apologize that the picture is not that good.)

But, she was given text that changes reality. Apparently, I had so little to do with the bridge that it was better to put the name of my predecessor, Dave Bivens, as the current commissioner, even though his term ended over 9 months ago. This may seem egotistical on my part, and I do pray every day that the Lord grant me the grace of humility, but this is also a complete revision of history, something that Stalin used to do when he didn't like somebody.

There is an unwritten rule of thumb in politics. Anyone who is sitting on a board or a commission or a council or who is governor or senator when a project is complete and dedicated and there is a plaque involved, their name goes on the plaque. If someone who came before did a stellar job, they can also be recognized. Note that it is also and not instead. I would feel the same way if say John Franden's name had been taken off and someone else's substituted for his. It's just good form to do it that way and bad form to do it the way ACHD has done it. After all, they specially recognized the ACHD director and the ACHD lawyer as well as the Dallas Harris family and others and could just have easily put Dave Biven's name there.

It basically tells the people of district 5, who did not all vote for me but certainly none of whom voted for Bivens, that their choice is not accepted and their votes don't count.

I raised this at our meeting today (video is linked here - click on watch video of entire meeting - don't worry the good part is almost right away) as I never was privy to the details of how the decision was made. I've attended all meetings of ACHD except one in March and one in September and at neither would this have been discussed. I have gone through all the minutes and there is nothing about the decision there. No one on the Commission would tell me how or when the decision was made. You think that if they were proud of what they had done, then it wouldn't have to be done in secret.

Hanlons' Razor says "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity" (I've also heard incompetence). So far, I choose to follow this adage. We're supposed to discuss it further next week. We'll see.


At October 7, 2009 at 9:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most ridiculous, tacky, and juvenile demonstration I have ever seen. As an elected official you should be ashamed of yourself. Hopefully our youth don't use you as an example of how to approach a dissapointing situation. Your resignation should be forthcoming, you do not pocess the humility that an elected official should pocess.

At October 7, 2009 at 10:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grow up and spend your time on what you were elected to do instead of spending time and money over this trivial issue. I can say that your actions do not demonstrate one of an elected official who s in a position of leadership. I agree with the other comment, tender your resignation.

At October 7, 2009 at 10:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with the last comment calling Sara Baker's attitude juvenile. If she was deliberately left off, that's petty baloney, and reflects an attitude of how the Old Guard is treating someone who is a bit too "uppity" for their taste (The Old Guard HATES to be held accountable for spending or actions.....)

However, I would like to get "the rest of the story."
Like what did the other commissioners say when the matter was raised? (still need video link)
How really was the decision made?
What text did the Woman of Steel work from (and to think that I actually believed that the Woman of Steel was Sara Baker herself!...until she had to go and give it all away in this blog post ....)

And also, who at the ACHD typed up the text? What bureaucrat approved it? Who did he/she check with before approving it?

Answers please.

At October 7, 2009 at 11:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep goin C. Baker.

It's ridiculous that anyone at ACHD put together such a plaque with the WRONG names.

That person should be accountable for their poor work.

Special Recognition:

The Harris FAmily will now make millions as their lots sell. Why in the hell would the attorney make the plaque, or the contractors? That is stupid! The contractors got their checks as their recognition.

Irene Deely did some great work for this. Do we taxpayer REALLY need to be paying for detail work on a PLAQUE sitting on a bridge. IT'S MONEY WASTED!

At October 8, 2009 at 9:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who else did they leave off? How about the man that saw this project from the beginning, Kent Brown.

At October 8, 2009 at 9:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You behavior in the ACHD meeting about this was commendable! You're RIGHT, ACHD was totally Stalinist in "forgetting" your name on the plaque. I hope you spend lots of time and taxpayer money on this, it's what we pay you for--to DEFEND YOUR HONOR ABOVE ALL ELSE! Thanks for standing up to the Stalinites! They're bad people, and they're INFILTRATING! Clearly Idaho is filled with commies! I mean, look at the legislature--commies! Even the existence of ACHD is communist--what could be more commie than a public road system! I hope you demand we privatize roads and require toll booths at every intersection.

At October 8, 2009 at 9:39 AM , Blogger Eric said...

Go Sara. We didn't elect you to "go along get along." You have done more to open up ACHD than anyone in its history

At October 8, 2009 at 9:40 AM , Blogger Sara said...

I would have said the same thing if Franden, Huber, McKee or Arnold had been left off.

And the major point is when did the other commissioner's make this decision? It certainly wasn't in a public setting. Did they do it by serial e-mail which is illegal? Did they do it after the meeting had ended so a quorum was present but it wasn't noticed? This is what should be disturbing to anybody - that decisions are made in secret by elected officials. Again, if they were proud of their decision, it should have been made in the proper way or at the very least publicized instead of being snuck in.

But choose to believe it's something else. That's your right as an American. I only ask that you don't rewrite history.

At October 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an EGO on you! Its this really all about you? All the transportation issues in Ada County, and YOUR NAME ON A BRIDGE is what you focus on? Get a grip, and get over yourself. Your behavior was unprofessional, inexcusable, and uncalled for. Work it out, loose the drama, and get back to REAL business.

At October 8, 2009 at 10:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the fact that Sara Baker did not have any part in the Parkcenter Bridge project? The people that are on the plaque helped put the bridge together.

At October 8, 2009 at 11:09 AM , Anonymous Steven H. Hulme said...

Plenty of "Anonymous" dissing there. Many apparently posted by a person (or people) who either didn't read, or didn't understand, what you said about the tradition of recognizing "sitting" officials and such.


THEORY #1 - the plaque was fabricated back in the day, when Harris Ranch was gonna pick up the tab rather than the taxpayers.

Nah... that seems unlikely.

THEORY #2 - the plaque was ordered by one of the MANY employees in the ACHD PR Department. Sara was on the record as questioning why we needed so many people in that department, spreading the Good Word about ACHD. And suggesting that the department could be streamlined on behalf of the taxpayers. Her proposal didn't get very far.

I'm not in your district, Sara, but you are taking seriously your commitment to your constituents. I'd vote for you if I could... assuming you wanted another 4 years of that thankless work. (Thanks!)

Boise, ID

At October 8, 2009 at 11:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this on the news last night and I grabbed my knees and laughed. In one swift moment you lost all creditablity. You became the type of politican that is hurting this fine county. Self serving and arrogant. You just dropped the ball ! You will never be taken serious again. You actually made an issue about your "Name" on a plaque - how sad for you. Most leaders and philanthropists that I know are embarrassed by fame and glory and only want the goal of the "project" or the "charity" to succeed. Further more....maybe someone made a mistake? and if they didn't....then have you ever heard of "Taking the high road?" You could of gotten more milage out of being a martyr than a fool. I hope that you find your way -

At October 8, 2009 at 1:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typically - when dealing with public facilities the dedication plaque represents the people who were instramental in the planning, financing, designing, and contructing of the project. Not the people who came after. For Example - public schools will list the School Board Members that were present at the time of the Bond Election - not the members that were elected at the time of the actual opening of the facility, which can happen 1-2 years later. Please correct me if I'm wrong - but you weren't a commissioner at the time the decision was voted on to move forward with the bridge ?

At October 8, 2009 at 2:36 PM , Anonymous SGS said...

Sara, the way you write does sound somewhat childish, as it focused too much on you. But I understand what you are trying to say. You are in this to ensure that every step is defined, being heard by or accountable to the public. You are questioning every step the ACHD takes, as you should, and this is a good one. By small means are great things bring about. This experience only point out the lack of an established procedure; that is to say, there are still some aspects within ACHD (and other governmental organizations) that are not visible to the public. Since there is no one who can account for it, we should be concerned on what else they may be hiding from us. This is the point of your article, correct?

At October 8, 2009 at 6:29 PM , Anonymous Chuck said...

It seems only about half of those who have commented actually read/understood the point of Sara's post.

For some mislead person to write, "What an EGO on you! Its this really all about you? All the transportation issues in Ada County, and YOUR NAME ON A BRIDGE is what you focus on?" seems pretty ridiculous given the fact there is a blog at least once a week from Sara, and nearly all are about the efforts, or lack of efforts the ACHD is making in improving the roads and not of herself.

The point of the blog was to show another example of the ACHD being secretive and nontransparent. You can complain Sara had "nothing" to do with the bridge but the plaque does not say -Commissioners Who Had Something To Do With This Bridge- It says simply "2009, Ada County Highway District Commissioners" It seems easy enough to realize Sara Baker should be on that list.

To those who seem this is childish need to look at your own comments and your tacky and witless sarcasm hidden behind your "anonymous" names and realize you are the ones who can't look past the front and see the facts.

I am sure Sara will continue to do everything in her power to make the roads better, save money(even if it is only $1 million at a time), and post the details of the ACHD to keep up with her promise of transparency.

Remember Sara,
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for sometime in your life."
-Winston Churchill

At October 9, 2009 at 12:36 AM , Anonymous Chris said...

I know you claim it is the re-writing of history that Stalin did (which the same could be said of the US in its take on history), but I fail to see how having your name not on a plaque is even remotely comparable to a regime that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people.

Is it possible the plaque was designed prior to your election? Especially if there was that much painstaking detail.

I watched the video of the evening and you were very condescending and childish, it really was pathetic. And I had no idea who you were before this evening.

At October 9, 2009 at 4:33 PM , Anonymous Bob Freeman said...

I do agree with Ms. Baker that this does seem egotistical on her part. I also agree with Chris.
To compare this to Stalin's reign of terror is pathetic.

At October 10, 2009 at 10:34 AM , Blogger N! said...

Wow. Glad to know you're so concerned with your place in history. Seriously, you compared your name not being on a plaque for a project that you had minimal involvement with to Stalin?! Are you friggen serious? That is one of most insensitive things I've ever heard a public official say on the record, in a meeting. And, to add insult to insult, you follow that by calling ACHD incompetent. And the title of this blog post - "I Guess I don't Exist" - what a whiny, petulant, self centered thing to say! At first I wasn't sure if this was a blog by a minor elected official, or the LiveJournal status of an emotionally fragile tweenager. You wanted your name out there? Well, congratulations, now you're known to thousands of Ada County residents as "The whiny commissioner on the right."

At October 10, 2009 at 11:58 AM , Blogger Nomi said...

The bridge was started in April of 2008, yes? You were elected to office on November 4th of 2008 yes? The bridge was finished on September 29th of 2009. How much work did you personally put into the bridge? How much of your time and effort was put into the project? How do you plan to justify adding more expense to the taxpayers by having the plaque changed so that your name is on it? Is this REALLY an important enough issue that you truly feel it was right to instill passive aggressive tactics on the rest of your colleagues, the likes of which my mother-in-law wouldn't even consider?

Its a name on a plaque, one plaque on one bridge, and from what I can tell you didn't do much for this project after you actually took office, since it was well under way by that time. Envoking Stalin into your arguement for one plaque when your name will appear on many other important projects and policies in the course of your term is reactionary, irresponsible, and inflammatory. And I would have felt far different had you presented your problem in an adult way, in a respectful way. IM sure there are subtle politics that influenced your decision to attack your colleagues in the manner that you did, but what the public sees is very important too. We don't know what the subtle politics are, all we see is a woman who should be able to conduct herself in an adult manner, reduced to an emotionally unstable child, throwing a fit because she wasn't included. My 4 year old knows how to use her words better than you did, and your public image has been tarnished by what could have been a reasonable discourse and instead turned into a whine fest. Somebody call the WAAAAAAMBULANCE!

If you were concerned about your legacy, have no fear, you will be known as the whiny Commissioner on the right from now on. Congratulations for securing your place in history.

At October 10, 2009 at 6:12 PM , Anonymous Ted said...

Sara obviously doesn't care about her place in history of the ACHD. She cares about getting things accomplished while she is there and fix roads, and save taxpayers money. It is amusing reading the last few posts only concerned with ripped Sara from "whining" about her name. You continually overlook the point of the entire complaint over and over which is that there are meetings going on behind EVERYONE's back where decisions are being made without all the commissioners.

If Sara cared about her public image I am sure she wouldn't of ran for office, or posted blogs trying to get all information out there that has to do with that office.

"Reduced to an emotionally unstable child".... "My 4 year old knows how to use her words better than you did" .... Really "Nomi" you are that pathetic typing a comment on a persons blog? Sad.

Tell me which other commissioner is putting themselves out there like Sara? Which other commissioner is trying to get transparency throughout the ACHD? Which other commissioner can you call and talk with?

My guess is none.

At October 11, 2009 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Sara every time I hit a pothole I will wonder why some self centered lady wants to spend money on a new plaque for a bridge she had nothing do with.
And Sara my wifes family is from Russia and lived during the days of Stalin and find it very offensive to compare you not having your name on a plaqe for a bridge to hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered.
PS:Ted your a idiot! And your guess would be wrong with me.

At October 11, 2009 at 1:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I am reading and hearing is Sara Baker is up set about the secrecy of the meetings and decision without discussion. I will agree that government should not partake in secret meetings, break room or not.

I believe that this is a smoke screen for the childish ego of Sara. Politician’s know that the public is feed up with their self serving needs and needless government spending. So Sara has to come up with something else to hide behind to get recognition were it does not belong to feed her ego.

I would love to be wrong on this, we all know the past of the ACHD and the day care they all belong in. If indeed it is about secrecy then with draw the request for tax payers to pay for a new plaque. A new one would not change the past but showing your words carry meaning will gain you support!

At October 12, 2009 at 10:13 AM , Anonymous Bob McFarland said...

Truthfully, I did not know who you were, or anything about you, until September 19th when I spoke to you on the phone about a neighborhood speed management issue. At the time, I was very impressed with your response, assistance and the direction I was given. I commented to my wife and numerous friends about how impressed I was.

When I heard, on the news last night, about the comments attributed to you at the ACHD meeting,I could not believe it. So, I watched the video and read your blog and you made a tremendous impression again. However, this time it was totally negative.

I can't recall seeing an elected official, or any other individual in the public spotlight for that matter, put on such a display of arrogant, egotistical whining. You can try to cover it with sensational claims of secret meetings, secret e-mails, Stalinism or whatever, but the bottomline is.....self-centered whining is still self-centered whining. To quote my granddaughter, "She's got issues!"

It is said that, "bad news travels faster and farther than good news" and it is true. I will definitely remind more people of this matter, come election time, than I will remind of our first phone conversation.

Bob McFarland

At October 12, 2009 at 10:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, you "DO" exist. You are a "Legend in your own mind".

At October 12, 2009 at 2:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If, in fact, a decision was made in a "secret meeting" (which I seriously doubt), then you have a point and that process should be fixed. But your own childish, petty, ego-centric behavior has completely undermined your original point. Which proves my point: You're an inexperienced, ineffective elected official more interested in "blowing up the system" than effecting real and lasting change (you know ... your job).

Sara, grow up.

At October 13, 2009 at 9:16 PM , Anonymous Seriously? said...

Stalin? Seriously? Sara Baker, you're one crazy crackpot.

Here's an idea... grow up and quit wasting taxpayer time and money. You didn't have anything to do with this bridge. You don't deserve any credit. Period. Re-doing that plaque would be a ridiculous waste.

I sure hope this is your last term as an ACHD commissioner. Ada County voters deserve someone with even a little bit of competence in this role. You clearly have none.

At October 15, 2009 at 9:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comparing yourself to victims of Stalin shows an appalling insensitivity. You were not murdered, you were not sent to Siberia, your image was not removed from existing photograhs, your name was not removed from published sources. You are old enough to understand history better than you obviously do. You ought to be ashamed. I think you should resign.

At October 19, 2009 at 10:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a little fact checking and my initial hunch was correct.

Mrs. Baker says, "It basically tells the people of district 5, who did not all vote for me but certainly none of whom voted for Bivens, that their choice is not accepted and their votes don't count."

Anyone reading this would assume Baker ran against Bivens. In 2008 here are the candidates for District 5...

District 5: Northwest Ada County, the area surrounding the Chinden Boulevard corridor north of Cherry Lane in Meridian and following State Highway 16 to the north.

Sara M. Baker
Rod Beck
Stephen B. Loop
Gordon Simpson
Robert Switzer
John R. Tomkinson
David Zaremba

I found this on ACHD's own website:

How could anyone vote for Bivens in 2008 when he didn't even run because he retired at an old age. Dave Bivens was well respected in District 5 and had he run one more time, perhaps he would have won District 5.

This bridge was in Boise's plans for 30 or more years and Dave Bivens was a part planning this bridge for a better part of those 30 years. He absolutely should be on this plaque. He worked on it longer than anyone.

Namoi's facts check out in her comment, "The bridge was started in April of 2008, yes? You were elected to office on November 4th of 2008 yes? The bridge was finished on September 29th of 2009."

The planning of this bridge was already complete when Baker was elected. District 5 voters of many decades are well represented on the plaque by Dave Bivens.

One last piece of information that I dug up was that the plaque was not in fact paid for by taxpayers at all, but by people involved with the actual building process.

I do appreciate knowing what is going on, but I want to know accurate facts rather than emotionally charged and warped information to make a politician look good.

I'm trying to find information on projects that Mrs. Baker is actually working on to improve her district, and I can't find any.

To ACHD in general: The bridge is wonderful and beautiful to look at and you can see the beautiful river while crossing it. Let's move on to more constructive persuits.

At October 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a joke you are Sara!! Why don't you resign and go home!! You're a disgrace to the Boise community!!

At November 24, 2009 at 3:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider yourself lucky. The bridge should have a plaque naming it "The Warm Springs Homeowners Association Bridge" I can't believe there is no left turn when traveling east. Folks from Harris Ranch still use Ekert and go to Boise Avenue. The whole concept looks like someone tried to build a camel from memory. A bridge should help all travel. This poor job looks like a political mess. Keep your name off of it!


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