Super Tuesday and Idaho's GOP: sticker shock and misplaced outrage

Here's a draft of our Wednesday editorial:

How’s this for running politics like a business?

Flush with Super Tuesday fever, but not exactly flush with cash, Ada County Republicans decide nonetheless that they want to hold a presidential caucus unlike any other. They plan to hold one single caucus in a county of 400,000 people — an event, with 9,000 participants, that goes down as the biggest caucus of the year.

Of course, there aren’t many venues big enough to host such a shindig, so the GOP logically settles on Boise State University’s Taco Bell Arena. But inexplicably, Republicans don’t sign a contract upfront with BSU.

Then, the costs went up — from an original estimate of $10,000 to $12,000 to $31,198, plus $3,953 for parking.

Only then did the GOP decide it was time to do some hard bargaining. As county GOP treasurer Darrel McRoberts told the Associated Press, “What we’re hoping, too, is that somebody can convince BSU, somebody at the Board of Education that’s got some pull there, to say, ‘Hey, why’d you do that to the Republican Party?’”

He’s kidding, right?

Say this for local GOP brass: What they lack in savvy, they make up for with nerve.

It may be a news flash to the local GOP — what with this whole one-party rule thing going on in our state — but Taco Bell Arena is not a Republican resource, but a public resource.

As a public institution (as opposed to a Republican institution), BSU has to recoup its expenses when it rents out a facility. The university shouldn’t be making sweetheart deals with any political party. Even though Republicans have all the muscle — those State Board of Education members, for example, serve at the pleasure of GOP Gov. Butch Otter — the suggestion that Republicans should strongarm themselves a discount is galling.

Republicans are grumbling, in part, because Barack Obama’s 2008 speech at Taco Bell Arena set back Democrats only $12,959. However, there’s a considerable difference between the Obama speech, a five-hour event, and the GOP caucus, a 14-hour event held four years later. BSU says it’s difficult to compare these two very different events, and we agree.

However, there is also a big difference between a $10,000 to $12,000 estimate and a bill exceeding $35,000. The university needs to recoup its additional costs, such as $6,000 for equipment and $2,750 for cleanup, but these bills shouldn’t have caught the Republicans off-guard. Clearly, the communication between the GOP and BSU could have been better.

But as the renter, the Republican Party bears responsibility for making its deal upfront and getting it in writing. After all, isn’t that how it’s done in the business world?

in the other cubicle

From Dan Popkey, 2/16/2012:

Popkey: Santorum didn't pay rent for Capital High School...Good for Boise schools!
"For those who oppose using a public resource to advance public discourse, sorry, I think you misread how public institutions work together to advance community good. End of sermon."

Just more partisan stuff....

dems can do anything on college campuses these days....

Maybe Bubba can speak forn the repubs this time and then they (BSU) will gladly open Taco Bell arena....

btw, does BSU own the Taco Bell areana?


What property owner rents out a facility without a written agreement? Shame on TacoBell administrators. They have the higher standard to get it in writing.

GOP McRoberts- Request a copy of the written and dated Obama party lease agreement and compare.


KR, you are wrong to think the 4 years of a down market and a half-day vs 14 hour event justifies triple the cost.

Its just more libs trying to rip off and

silence conservatives....

KR is a mystery....he is so unbiased that I cannot tell who and whom he will vote for in 2012....

More like a business

While at the same time Republicans are constantly wanting government to run like a business and when it does in a transaction they forgot to get a contract for they complain. What a bunch of whining phonies.

Change Orders

A lease, like a contract, may not be changed without the consent of both parties.

Guess what happens when a contractor ADDS costs to a building without an agreed change order. Can you say SOL?

Im no stinkin lawyer, but pretty sure Taco Bell would lose in court.

Lease or contract?

In the article it doesn't even mention "lease". Was this an omission by the reporter and was there no written lease?


There was no written agreement.

The agreement would be a lease. A rental. A license to use the property.
You go into a facility and "rent" it for one day, or night, or whatever.

Contract, lease, agreement, license to use, it falls under :contract law:.

"Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations that are granted usage of the Arena are responsible for all costs related to the event.

Holds for events granted at non-profit rates will not be confirmed, nor will contracts be issued, more than 90 days from the event date."

See the word "contract"?

Just in case that is confusing, a contract can not be change without both parties agreeing, also. We all know that, right?

Kevin, thanks for exposing the stink again ...

The GOP is so entitled here, they think they get a free ride. Most any of the high ranking GOP'ers in this state are so attached to the federal subsidy trough you would need a jack hammer with a hardened steel/titanium tip to pry them off. This is just more evidence of the "entitlement" behavior exhibited by the GOP. As for the GOP understanding a sustainable free market business model, good luck with that one. One might have better results teaching pigs to fly.

"fical conservative" "personal responsibility"

"government should run more like a business" It is so hard to take the Idaho GOP seriously now when they talk about these things. The more I think about this debacle, the more disturbing I find it. No contract? No estimated cost? Asking the Board of Education to step in on their behalf? KR is right....Are you kidding?!?

You had your party, now...

Idaho GOP, you had your party, now pay the bill. Anyone who books an event (regardless of venue) without getting a written price quote is asking for trouble. A high school kid would know that basic rule of business. Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Now stop your whining and pay the bill.

Sounds like a contract dispute to me.

But KR and others can always turn it into a political slam. A good example of the power of the press in it's efforts to sway public opinion. If there are still people out there that think there is such a thing as unbiased reporting boy have I got a deal for you.

How embarrassing

If I'd somehow blundered this big, I wouldn't be talking about it in the press. I'd find some of the people who just spent $25K to have dinner with Mrs. Romney and plead with them to settle my tab quickly and quietly.