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Eye On Boise

Kane letter warns Otter is risking ‘millions’

Here’s an interesting letter sent by Idaho Capitol Commission Chairman Jack Kane, the former adjutant general of the Idaho National Guard, to Gov. Butch Otter about the standoff between Otter and the Legislature over the capitol renovation project:

January 23, 2007

Honorable C.L. Butch Otter
State Capitol Building
2nd Floor, West Wing
Boise, Idaho 83720-0034

Dear Governor Otter:

As Chairman of the Idaho Capitol Commission, I wish to express my concerns regarding the delay in implementing the Capitol Master Plan project. If action is not taken quickly to get the project back on track, we risk wasting not only the millions of dollars already spent on the project, but the very real possibility of another year’s delay – a delay that would add millions more in costs to the project. The Capitol Commission has already approved the official Capitol Master Plan which calls for the restoration of the capitol and the construction of atrium wings. This single restoration and expansion plan is based on HCR 47, which the Capitol Commission agreed was the most cost effective yet forward looking solution to this once-in-a-lifetime undertaking.

The Capitol Commission’s long history goes back to the original construction of the building in the early 1900s. The commission was re-established and redefined by statute in 1998. The Governor and the Legislature wisely agreed that a separate commission with sole authority to make decisions about Idaho’s most important building was required in order to take the politics out of those decisions. Idaho Code 67-1608 provides the Idaho Capitol Commission the sole authority to develop a comprehensive master plan for long-range modifications and improvements to the capitol building and its grounds, and that all such projects shall be in conformance with the master plan and may not be implemented without the written consent of the commission.

I stand ready at any time to offer you my assistance as Chairman of the Capitol Commission to facilitate a discussion and quick resolution to the current status of the Capitol Master Plan project. Speaking on behalf of the Commission, I know we would all be willing also to meet with you at your convenience. We are scheduling our January meeting for early next week. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in the meantime.


Major General Jack Kane
Chairman, Idaho Capitol Commission

Cc: Capitol Commission Members

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