Dear Letter to the Editor:

This saying from the Great Depression shows the way to true frugality. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without! This teaches an important lesson and was the way Pete and I lived our lives.

So, it is with frustration, angst and sadness that some of our elected leaders in the Idaho House of Representatives and the State Senate feel a need to spend $10.5 million to rip up the first floor of the Capitol to build private offices for those who currently work in a cubicle. The Governor has recently ordered cuts in higher education and other government agencies, making the remodel a frivolous expense. And, to add insult to injury, in order to get the space to expand, they have filed a lawsuit to take over the State Treasurer’s Office which has been in the same location since the Capitol was built. How much more will that cost? Legislators are trying to justify this expense by saying they need privacy when dealing with constituents. Call me Scrooge, Bah hum bug!

What are these legislators thinking? Certainly, we have more pressing needs than spending $10.5 million dollars on private offices, used three months of the year by part-time legislators. When Pete was Speaker of the House, they didn’t have underground wings and their work desks were on the floor of the House. They were easily accessible to the constituents through the Sergeant of Arms and each Representative had a desk and phone. Now it is hard to find your elected official between committee hearings and their cubicle behind locked doors.

Legislators, who for almost 100 years, were able to effectively work from a desk on the floor to effectively serve their constituents. Systematically creating laws to remove the Idaho Treasurer from the Capitol, but creating private offices with additional staff, may be a step closer to what we all feared would happen, a full-time legislature.

As citizens, we need to contact legislators and tell them to stop this nonsense. Tell them to stop wasting our money on a lawsuit against the Treasurer and stop any efforts to build private offices. To find out how to contact your local legislator call legislative services at (208) 334-2475.

With Respect,

Freda Cenarrusa

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