Knowing your business

Our City
By A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia

Twenty some years ago a small boy of five sat by his bedroom window thinking of the future. In his hand a knife.

I do it sometimes, although I don’t know that I have always had the boy’s conviction. For that is what it takes to see something like that through. I think I realized when I was about 14 what Kelton had contemplated at five. Somehow I just knew it would happen.

Intuition has served me fairly well over the years. Usually things turn out pretty well when I heed it. There have been those times when I have gone against my better instincts and things didn’t turn out quite so well. That is the thing about instinct and intuition: It is primal and very much a survival mechanism.

It’s Thursday morning and still pitch black outside except for the perimeter lights of the hotel I am staying at in Boise. I have an FFA Board of Directors meeting in about two hours, followed by an Association of Idaho Cities presentation on our downtown project with Alan Giesbrecht of JUB Engineering. Councilmember Kristen Jensen will also be joining us. I don’t have any formal remarks ready, as I intend to be more extemporaneous. It is a risky thing. I will be speaking about the process we as a community went through to see the project completed and the woulda-shoulda-coulda moments of the project. The purpose of the presentation is twofold in that we will highlight our successes but also point out the things for other mayors to avoid.

Now to be honest I don’t know that I made a lot of mistakes through the project; but I did make one. One that went against my intuition. One that I knew was a mistake as soon as I did it. Why is it that we oftentimes realize these things, yet we persist down the same path.

We were about three weeks into the project. Harrison Street was a mess and sidewalk was being poured in the north City Park. I wrote last week about hiring folks that know their business and trusting them to know more than me about that business. Mayor Amy Manning and the Council at that time did the right thing when we hired Dusty Whited to replace Ron Anderson as Street and Sanitation Superintendent when Ron retired. But, as fate would have it, I broke my own rule in the case of the downtown project and its concrete installation. You see, Dusty knows his business, his business is concrete. That is one of the reasons we hired him in the first place.

As the concrete was being poured for the meandering sidewalks in the park, Dusty was there with his tape measure and level checking forms and requesting changes where things were out of specification. Well that didn’t sit too well with the concrete foreman of Depatco. As a matter of fact it almost turned physical at one point. Not long after that I had a visit with Chad Rushton, the project manager. He informed me that his crew was to the point of refusing to work if Dusty didn’t “get off their backs.” I contemplated his comments and argument that it was ITD’s job to do the inspection, which it was, by contract. Against my intuition and better judgment, I conceded and later spoke to Dusty and “asked” him to desist in his inspections. My mistake! I contemplated even back then how it would turn out. This past winter we found out. Now this summer we are trying to rectify the outcome.

The outcome of the first annual Birding Festival was a success I would think with over 25 in attendance. All the comments I heard during and since have been very positive. Kudos to Councilmembers Kurtis Workman, Kristen Jensen and volunteers Todd Winters and Havilah Lyon.

Congratulations to Superintendent Peirsol who secured a $5000 Beverly Bistline grant for various art pieces in our downtown landscaping. Yes, it has been a long time coming. I hope you think it’s worth the wait.

The wait is over for the boy from twenty years ago. The two names he carved in his bedroom window will become one in a few short days. The huge chocolate Kiss and red rose he gave his kindergarten crush will be succeeded by two diamond rings, a kiss to seal eternity and two, “I Do’s.” Kelton Landvatter knew at the age of five what he wanted and he never wavered. I couldn’t say that until I was 14. I guess the heart knows no age. It just knows what it loves.

I know fathers sometimes think that no one is quite right or good enough for their daughter. I cannot say that about Kelton. While, like most of us, he took some “growin’ up,” he has turned into quite a young man. One that I am proud to call son. That he will make Suzanne happy and love her always and forever, I have no doubt.

As a parent, teacher and Mayor I worry how all my kids and projects will turn out. I worry about the mistakes I know I made and the ones I will never know about. It is what folks with my personality type do. That the boy of twenty years ago who sat contemplating his future and dreams will Saturday become my son-in-law pleases me. That I know my daughter will be loved and cared for always, gives me comfort. And, a large sense of pride that her Mother and I raised her to know what love truly is…

Until next week…

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