I read with interest the Opinion Editorial in the Idaho State Journal, dated 01/10/2021, regarding impediments to economic development in Pocatello. I suspected, but am dismayed to learn, that current Census Bureau data confirms our high poverty rate and slow population growth as compared with places like Idaho Falls. I believe the lack of economic development in Pocatello is a major contributor to our poverty rate and slow population growth. We simply do not have many good-paying jobs in this town—at least not enough to lower our poverty rate and grow our population in any meaningful way.

Our Mayor, Jim Johnston and Don Zebe agree we need economic development, but in a recent ISJ December article neglected to attribute the lack of economic development to the real causes...high property taxes and a business process in need of examination and improvement. There are many in this town who choose to bury their heads in the sand regarding any perceived problems in this city.

How can we improve the quality of life for people in Pocatello if we refuse to acknowledge that problems exist? How can we change our economic outcome if we refuse to acknowledge that there is value in examining processes and looking for improvements? There are multiple solutions to all problems, but the first step is to admit that problems exist and then develop a plan to resolve those problems. If we continue to deny reality, maybe we should add an ostrich to our city’s flag. 

Claudia Ortega,
Pocatello City Council