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TomAiello

Twin Falls Opinions: The Beginning of the End?

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Press Clip from the Magic Valley Times-News (the local paper here in Twin Falls). This is an editorial by the newspaper's editorial board, published on July 16th, 2006.

A few things to keep in mind:

1) This newspaper has always been one of the biggest supporters of BASE jumping here in Twin Falls. This is a pretty big shift in their opinion.
2) The newspaper carries a fair bit of weight with public opinion in the town.
3) We've had a pretty bad run this summer. Accidents over Memorial Day, closure of the bridge shortly thereafter, and continuing minor issues are all contributing to a worsening of public opinion. High visibility events that keep BASE jumping on the public radar--even when they go perfectly to plan--aren't necessarily positive, either.

Remember that this is what was printed in the paper, (obviously) not my own views. Whatever rebuttals to the editorial you post here aren't going to have much effect on public opinion in Twin Falls. Writing a letter to the editor of the paper might have some impact, but be very certain to present your case articulately and intelligently if that's something you wish to do, or you're in danger of just adding fuel to the fire.

Almost no one in the town really cares about average day-to-day jumping. It's the big events (into which category public opinion lumps large, but disorganized gatherings like Memorial Day or Labor Day) that have people concerned. The major concern for most is simply traffic flow over the bridge (which is the main avenue into or out of town). If we could promise zero impact on the traffic flow, I think we'd be ok, but I also think there is no way we could guarantee that.


My personal opinion is that it's time for us to collectively cool it here. High profile activities, even positive ones (like the one discussed in the editorial) are increasingly likely to damage our access to the bridge. Perhaps we ought to consider toning things down in terms of our community visibility for the rest of this season?

We definitely need to pro-actively examine (and work to reduce) our impact on the rest of the community, before they do it for us, and decide we're no longer welcome here.


Quote

Costs Should Fall on BASE Jumpers

Our View: The time is coming to regulate BASE jumping in Twin Falls.

A tourist couple from Switzerland was standing in the parking lot of the Buzz Langdon Visitors Center on a recent weekend, with the hubbub of yet another BASE-jumping extravaganza going all around them.

"Where," they wondered "can we buy tickets?"

There were no tickets, of course: The biggest show in Twin Falls was free to any spectator who could find a vantage point.

Last weekend, emergency medical crews and law enforcement officers--all working on the public's dime--worked to make another BASE jumping event safe. And a lane of the Perrine Bridge was blocked to accomodate a large crane being used in an attempt on a BASE-jumping record, while northbound traffic was backed up for blocks along Blue Lakes Boulevard North.

Maybe it's time that the citizens of Twin Falls and Jerome Counties stopped subsidizing this year-round three-ring circus.

The benefits to the local economy of BASE jumpers and spectators attracted by the Perrine Bridge are well-documented, and most residents are tolerant of the attendant crowds and noise and traffic congestion--to a point.

But the point at which inconvenience becomes a burden is approaching fast, and it's time to start a serious local discussion about managing it.

For starters, major BASE-jumping events that attract hundreds of people and require extra public services should not be treated the same as the activities of individual BASE jumpers. It's not unreasonable, in our view, to expect a large-scale spectacular to post a bond or pay a surcharge to cover the costs of police and emergency services overtime.

Then there are the related issues of parking and space for spectators and BASE jumpers--both are limited on and around the Perrine Bridge. The city of Twin Falls and Twin Falls and Jerome counties would be well within their rights to require organizers to provide alternative, off-site parking and to limit the number of spectators who can be safely accomodated.

And finally, there's the traffic problem. For all it's cachet in the BASE-jumping community, the Perrine Bridge is first and foremost an essential transportation link. It carries up to 37,0000 vehicles a day, and even brief interruptions in traffic can cause major problems. So can accidents and congestion that result from drivers rubber-necking BASE jumpers.

The point is, BASE jumping is not an essential activity, but transportation, emergency medical services and law enforcement are. At the very least, the burden of bearing additional costs should fall on the BASE jumpers.

The simplest and fairest solution, for starters at least, might be to charge BASE jumpers a modest use fee--say, $10 per person per day. That would require agreement by the two counties, the city of Twin Falls, and the Idaho Transportation Department, but such a fee would not be especially expensive to collect--and could be used directly to defray the additional costs to the taxpayers of BASE jumping.

Beyond that, further regulation of BASE jumping from the Perrine Bridge--or at least of the additional costs inherent in the effects of the sport on the Blue Lakes corridor--are a virtual certainty.

The last thing Twin Falls wants to do is discourage BASE jumping. But as taxpayers, it's not our responsibility to underwrite it, either.

The members of the editorial board and writers of editorials are Brad Hurd, Chris Steinbach, Steve Crump, Traci Bliss, Bill Blitzenburg and David Cooper.


-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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It appears the events are drawing enough crowds that somebody wants their cut of the pie, a kickback at least.
"The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it. " -John Galt from Atlas Shrugged, 1957

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It appears the events are drawing enough crowds that somebody wants their cut of the pie, a kickback at least.



I actually don't think that's it. We had major traffic congestion on the last event. If we could eliminate the traffic problems, I don't think we'd see anyone asking for anything more.
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Maybe it's time that the citizens of Twin Falls and Jerome Counties stopped subsidizing this year-round three-ring circus.



HydroGuy hit it spot on. We should all use rigs with L-bars from now on... :P

Seriously though, I'm struggling to find problems with the article. I think it's well written and doesn't fall for the cliche BASE traps. The biggest problem is that measuring the true cost that BASE jumping impinges onto Twin Falls is impossible. That means that any suggested charge (like the 10 dollars a day) will involve heavy debate, not in the least about where that money should go.

The dropzonificaton of BASE, unavoidable?

Remember folks, there's always something in your backyard.

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what is the industry in twin falls? agriculture? tourism?

are we not tourists?

Quote

We had major traffic congestion on the last event. If we could eliminate the traffic problems, I don't think we'd see anyone asking for anything more.



i'm curious, did the event require a permit?


love this place and don't want to lose it. willing to do what ever it takes to keep it accessible.

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I talked to Dan Schilling about this the week before the event and it did require permits. If I remember right he had to get a permit from Twin Falls county, and from the department of transportation (who ever owns the bridge, I think it was the DOT).

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It appears that some people in Twin Falls have forgotten about all the tax dollars that jumpers bring to the area. I would like to know what "costs" are incurred due to BASE jumping (other than the world record jump)? Were any costs for the world record jump paid for by jumpers?

The article isn't a surprise to me. As previously mentioned, everyone wants a piece of the pie. When I complained about the NPS charging us $2500 to rent the Bridge Day LZ, some locals wrote to the newspaper and said we should pay for the privilege to jump. Unfortunately, greedy people are slowly removing "free" from our everyday vocabulary...
(c)2010 Vertical Visions. No unauthorized duplication permitted. <==For the media only

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When I drive up to Twin Falls I buy gas for my car. my gas is taxed.
when I stay at the hotel, I bring money to the community.I pay taxes.and the money I spend is taxed.
When I eat 2-3 meals a day at the local restaurants.....
When I drink at the bars......
so do all the spectators that are "causing traffic".
rediculous.

~J
"One flew East,and one flew West..............one flew over the cuckoo's nest"
"There's absolutely no excuse for the way I'm about to act"

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Yes, it's ridiculous, but if you want to beat them, you need to think like them. You need to understand (no matter how illogical it may seem to you) why they may feel this way.

Plenty of other (and probably far more) people pay for gas at the same gas stations, stay in the same hotels, eat at the same restaurants and drink at the same bar when visiting TF. Far fewer of those visitors require life-flights and ambulance rides as frequently as we have. Far fewer 'user-groups' show up and draw attention (wanted or not) to themselves as we do.

I don't agree with this shit, either, but understanding why they think one way is the first step to changing their minds.
-C.

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I talked to Dan Schilling about this the week before the event and it did require permits. If I remember right he had to get a permit from Twin Falls county, and from the department of transportation (who ever owns the bridge, I think it was the DOT).



Dan did pretty much everything right. He got perrmission from all the right people, checked in with all the right people, got buy-in from all the right people. And still, we're seeing this...
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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It’s like the little train/band/team/company, etc that could. It starts out as something that feels very personal , a feeling of owning it all to yourselves...time marches on & it has grown to a much bigger pie & so many hands are grabbing for a piece, an ever increasing tax bill, or someone being inconvenienced for a moment in time trying to get where they are going & a need to blame someone so why not blame the base jumping circus. Some would argue pay them what they want & keep the party rolling while others say are we actually volunteering to pay more taxes. What’s next, toll booths? I would think @ the next annual budget meeting maybe a audit on what is allocated to the emergency services & a vote on increasing spending & reviewing what being brought in with all these extra people around. I’m sure it pays for itself already with plenty of extra cream for the pie.
Men get laid, but women get screwed.
I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man.

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"They" is one person. Others may agree with because they read t in the papers.
Of all the people I have talked to in Twin that is the first time I have heard that opinion expressed. People unfortunately seem to believe what they read. ...
But it's not too late!
No press is my first choice but good, sensible, positive, resonable press is my second.
i'll raise the Jolly Rodger any time I feel It's the best bet but I'm entirely willing to swallow my pride if I have to, and say..." thanks, for letting us do what our Fore Fathers fought for... the freedom to enjoy the land we love in any way we see fit, solong as it doesn't infringe on our brother and sisters' freedom and security"
.
~J
"One flew East,and one flew West..............one flew over the cuckoo's nest"
"There's absolutely no excuse for the way I'm about to act"

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It seems like the beef of the writers of the editorial is primarily the traffic congestion of Blue Lakes Blvd and the bridge. I have a comment and a question.

1) Everytime I'm in Twin Falls, whether it's a big BASE event or an off weekend where there's only two or three jumpers using the bridge, Blue Lakes Blvd has congestion and gets backed up. I can imagine a crane parked on the bridge would make it worse (even though that guy got permits and presumably had to pay for them as well as the "overtime" earned by the traffic workers during the event), but I can't imagine 2 or 3 jumpers causing the congestion. Twin Falls has a rush hour like every other city and on weekends it seems to last all day. Then again, I've only been there four or five times, maybe I was just lucky.

2) If jumpers paid $10 per day per jumper to use the bridge; how would that help the traffic congestion problem?

It's time now! My time now! Give me mine. Give me my wings! - MJK

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I don't think the article is well written.

On one hand, the authors talk of the well documented economic benefits of BASE to the Twin Falls community.

On the other hand, they want to pass a tax on BASE because of the economic burden it places on the Twin Falls community.

These two statements are very conflicting.

And they talk of the noise generated from BASE. I don't see what noise BASE generates that can be heard over the semi trucks full of stinking cows driving over that bridge all day.

I also saw no mention in the article that Dan's jumps were to benefit the Fallen Warriors Foundation. Maybe someone should write them a rebuttal, and in the process paint the editors to be unpatriotic and lacking support for our fallen soldiers families who were the direct benefits of the crane gig.

And to say they don't want to discourage BASE but they want to tax it is BS as well. Taxes discourage business and investment, and would discourage BASE in the TWF community as well.

Stupid editors...
Get in - Get off - Get away....repeat as neccessary

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Slow News Day . . .

There are many angles to this one . . .

There's the whole question of how much we allow ourselves to be maneuvered, maligned and plundered by outsiders especially when BASE traditionally needs no one’s permission or support. I really wish more people would remember that last bit.

Maybe we should show the guts we failed to show at Bridge Day after that went from an absolute freedom fest to what now feels like a Big Brother-lock down. Freedom is only gained by sacrifice – we just need just one generation of BASE jumper with the moxie to say, “Shove the bridge up your ass.”

Besides – TF is already getting their slice of the pie. Sitting in the TF airport I see posters all over the place touting the recreational possibilities in Idaho. Along with photos of skiing, white water rafting, and the rest – there we are jumping! BASE is already being used to promote Idaho. And “being used” is the operative word here.

On the other hand we might be getting all knotted up for nothing. Consider the sorry plight of the small town editorial writer who has a blank page staring him in the face every morning. He has to write about something. So it was only a matter of time before he got around to us. I’ll go further and say the editorial writer is also using us. He’s using us to earn his paycheck.

Socially speaking BASE is a small drain on the public pocket book. Take the money spent on every BASE rescue and every overtime city worker supporting a BASE event (in all of history) and it’s nothing compared to what’s spent keeping welfare mothers in diapers and milk for a single year. And a forward looking society should have an obligation to promote free thinking because it’s what makes humankind interesting and is how a society progresses.

If we get to a point, especially in a state like Idaho, where we don’t stand up, we might as well fold the tents and go home . . . Let them implement their fees – and that will just be the beginning. Next year they will have some guy from city hall checking the size of your pilot chute.

So once again we stand at another crossroad with a choice. We can either meekly cave in or a few of us will have to pay the fines and some of us will have to go to jail.

I wonder which one it will be . . . ?

NickD :)BASE 194

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I remember when I first moved here about three years ago and Don "the boat guy" said , during the course of our discussion, that there were some notable jumpers (about 7 years ago) who wanted to have competitions at the bridge and charge money for the event. Don's stance on the whole thing was absolutely not because once you start adding money to the mix then the state people start wondering why money is being made off their bridge and that invites people asking a lot of questions. (Remember, this bridge is not legal or illegal, it's tolerated.) Over the years I have started to see this phenomenon develop. IDOT has always asked that BASE Jumpers not distract traffic flow or be under the bridge or tie anything off to the bridge. IDOT actually follows this same rule for themselves. Whenever they come to work on the bridge they bring a huge boom that wraps all the way under the bridge so they can do the repairs. They never step foot on the bridge. This is also why we have a general rule about not standing on the rail, not because it's "one of the 7 deadly sins", but rather because the jumper is much more visible to on coming traffic. If someone was to get seriously hurt or killed in a traffic accident on that bridge and someone from that car uttered the words " We saw the guy on the railing and ..." Obviously, this scenario wouldn't live up to IDOT's primary objective of having uninterrepted traffic flow across the bridge. Furthermore, you now have on your consience an accident in which you have helped cause. As BASE Jumpers we have to continually show to everyone else (city,idot,state,etc.) that we take our own precautions in trying to do this safely for ourselves and for the community at large. Because if we cannot regulate ourselves someone else will do it for us! This is just how things work in the real world. Unfortnately, there's plenty of people who do not understand this basic premise. The event of a couple weeks ago I thought was done very well and they crossed all t's and dotted all I's in getting this event organized. Unfortunately, even though they're intentions were good the old adage " the road to hell was paved with good intentions" applies to this situation. That's why myself and some other jumpers keep low profiles when jumping the bridge. It's unfortunate but when you make yourself (BASE Jumping) much more visible to the public ( by festivals and other big events) there's always someone who wants a slice of the pie or is going to have a beef with what you're doing. However, it should be noted that the majority of Twin Falls and IDOT are supportive of our endeavors from this bridge. But keep in mind it's our job as BASE Jumpers to self regulate ourselves before someone else does it for us. And if the time comes when JOE BAGADOUGHNUTS starts regulating we'll have wished we would've done things differently.

Jamie Boutwell

PS: It should be noted that local jumpers have raised over $20,000 for local organizations in this cummunity. However, there's no mention of that in the article!

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from the editorial:

Quote


For starters, major BASE-jumping events that attract hundreds of people and require extra public services should not be treated the same as the activities of individual BASE jumpers. It's not unreasonable, in our view, to expect a large-scale spectacular to post a bond or pay a surcharge to cover the costs of police and emergency services overtime.
...

The last thing Twin Falls wants to do is discourage BASE jumping. But as taxpayers, it's not our responsibility to underwrite it, either.



it sounds to me:
1) we must remember we are guests
2) we don't wish to be seen abusing their hospitality by a regular series of high profile events. Miles, Dan, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. it's as if they have their quiet community, and LIKE it that way. if we stay quiet, fine. it's simply a good neighbor thing. if we agitate them with road congestion, they will agitate us...
3) if we jumped it like virtually every other object, the issue would vanish

their attitude doesn't seem very different from the various posts here following Memorial Day. many asked others to stay within their abilities and show the object more respect.

the newspaper seems to be asking us as a whole to do the same thing...

edited to add:
weren't the residents around the Swiss valley aggravated earlier this year as well?

take only pictures, leave only footprints...
DON'T PANIC
The lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
sloppy habits -> sloppy jumps -> injury or worse

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My personal opinion is that it's time for us to collectively cool it here. High profile activities, even positive ones (like the one discussed in the editorial) are increasingly likely to damage our access to the bridge. Perhaps we ought to consider toning things down in terms of our community visibility for the rest of this season?

I heartily concur. After a big event, the first question I hear (if I attended) or ask (if I did not) is, "Was it total carnage out there?" Unfortunately, the answer is often yes. Usually just in the form of broken bones here and there, thank God, but it still means the use of local emergency services on out of towners (us). This is perceived as a giant pain in the ass by locals.

More BASE jumpers, coupled with publicity, undoubtedly result in a bigger audience and a higher chance of injuries occurring (simply because there are more jumps being made).

Taking time off of and limiting large events is a great idea, in my opinion. If there arises the need to charge a day use fee, maybe it could be limited to large events only? I know that donations have been taken at these events to benefit emergency services, but the local government may want something more official and not so "grassroots".

The downside for jumpers? You don't have 40 buddies every time to head to Twin Falls. But do you really need that? My favorite times have been when my buddies and I had the bridge all to ourselves, with the occassional stranger or friend joining us on a load. Your mileage may vary.

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we need this bridge to SELL CANOPIES RIGS and of corse bring idiots with 40 skydives into the sport so then they can go home jump a real abject and die. waht would we do with out it god knows i would never be able to jump again
TOSS MY SALAD
I'm an invincible re-tarded ninja
derka derka bakala bakala muhammad jihad
1072

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Re: emergency service costs...

The jumper pays for the ambulance ride, but what about police, fire and anyone else involved doing paperwork and being present on the taxpayer's dime? Not just in accidents, but policing tends to increase where there are more people. When a larger event is expected, more officers are put on duty.

While I think car accidents from rubberneckers are very rare, the potential is a concern for some. It takes police to handle and (possibly) prevent these situations.

I think traffic congestion is the biggest concern.

I'm not playing devil's advocate, I'm just looking at it from their view and thinking of reasonable measures we can take to express our gratitude for this object without sacrificing our fun.

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It's called politics... letter writing and campaigning will serve us much better than ever thinking we should pay or be regulated in any sense.
Looks like a death sandwich without the bread - Steve Deadman Morrell, BASE 174

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