Wide support for F-35s at Luke shown at West Valley forums.
Posted in the Wittmann Forum
#1 Feb 21, 2012
Two years ago, El Mirage was considered a thorn in the united front West Valley leaders wanted to present to the Pentagon on bringing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Luke Air Force Base.
This week, an entirely different tune played out at two U.S. Air Force public hearings including one in the small West Valley city, where the crowds were loud in support for the new jets.
"I support Luke 101 percent; it's an economic asset we cannot afford to lose in this recession," Goodyear resident Alan Krob said at the Wigwam resort in Litchfield Park.
West Valley real-estate agent Everett Pincolini emphasized that homebuyers by state law are made aware of the presence of the 71-year-old air base in Glendale.
Sweet words for elected officials who came in droves, from West Valley legislators to mayors and council members, all touting the need to preserve Luke.
The input from four public hearings comes after the Air Force last month released an environmental study that looked at the impact of bringing F-35s to Luke to train pilots. The base at present trains pilots on the older F-16s.
The Air Force is expected to make a decision this summer on where to send the F-35s. Luke is in competition with sites in New Mexico, Idaho and at Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station.
Luke has been the Air Force's preferred site since 2010.
While the study indicates the F-35s are louder than the F-16s, and in the case of landing twice as loud, Luke spokesman Rusty Mitchell said that's based on computer modeling. He said some people who have heard them in person found it comparable to the F-16s.
Lisa Atkins, co-chair of the Governor's Military Affairs Commission, described it as "barely a perceptible difference in the noise."
The draft study estimates F-35s would impact about 420 fewer residents with noise levels considered to be incompatible with residential development than in current operations.
In the presence of several of her council colleagues, El Mirage Mayor Lana Mook made it a point to show that united front to advocate for Luke to remain the best training base for fighter pilots.
"Please help us send that message to the Department of Defense," Mook urged the crowd of about 100 at El Mirage Elementary School.
Youngtown Mayor Mike LeVault referenced the once-fractious relationship the rest of the West Valley leadership had with the previous El Mirage City Council.
That council, which has since been voted out, had gone to Washington, D.C., in 2009 to seek $400 million to compensate for development restrictions to protect Luke that they said prevented El Mirage from pursuing economic development projects.
"We have worked hard for the last several years to close ranks in support of the base and every community in the West Valley is in full support in working on the same side of the street on this issue," LeVault said.
El Mirage resident Michele Palladino countered one concern raised about noise at Pueblo El Mirage, a manufactured-home community.
Palladino said she lives in that community and has no plans to move if the F-35 comes. Another resident blurted out: "We live there and we probably are (moving)."
El Mirage resident Janis Richardson said she lives in the descent path of the jets, near Riverview Elementary School, and can see the planes' bellies. She said she began having hearing problems three years after moving there and is concerned about the school students.
Richardson wanted to know if there are any plans to retrofit homes for noise insulation.
"If we don't do anything for communities in the direct path you are harming people who can't speak for themselves," she said.
Jim Dean, a Dysart Unified School District spokesman, said when the school was built four years ago extra noise insulation was installed.
"The jets in no way impact the school, nor are we concerned moving forward," Dean said.
#3 Mar 8, 2012
Moved out last year after all of the problems surrounding Aux 1. I support our Air Force and I support Luke but I do not agree with the suspension of home ownership priviledges as dictated by the County and Air Force. I dont think everyone understands that there are areas surrounding Aux that were purchased without restriction that now cannot build, improve or add on? You could have bought acreage for your future home and find that you cannot build your dream home. You could have your home burn down and not be able to replace it. You could want to add a block fence around your land and find you cannot get a permit. This is not fair to the folks that live in the area or plan on living in the area.
#5 Mar 9, 2012
Arizona Legislature backs Luke for F-35
A decision on whether the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will come to Luke Air Force Base has yet to come. But the state's leaders made their thoughts loud and clear.
A resolution sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko of Glendale got unanimous support from the Legislature.
The Republican's resolution states, in part: "The F-35 Lightning II is critical to the future defense of the United States, and Luke Air Force Base, with its superb flying weather and outstanding facilities and infrastructure, is the right choice to train Air Force pilots in this next generation aircraft; and Whereas, the State of Arizona strongly supports the continued operation of Luke Air Force Base as an Air Force flight training base and pledges to continue to support Luke Air Force Base."
The Glendale base is estimated to bring $2 billion a year to Arizona's economy.
The Air Force in January released an environmental study that looked at the impact of bringing F-35s to Luke, the preferred alternative since 2010 to train fighter-bomber pilots. The F-35s would replace the older F-16s at Luke. The base is competing with sites in New Mexico, Idaho and at Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station. A decision is expected this summer.
I would like to shove an F-35 UP "Rep. Debbie Leskos Fucking ass, she would probably like that also. The fucking F-16's flying overhead as I write this are loud enough to wake the fucking dead. Nuke that fucking Luke!!! J.W. Simms.
#6 Mar 11, 2012
Not exactly true. My neighbor, in the flight path of Aux 1 just got permits to build an RV garage.
#7 Mar 30, 2012
Per the law, you can build a structure that is not habitable -- say, an RV garage, or a fence -- but you can't build a habitable structure or space or add any habitable space to an existing structure. What is and is not considered "habitable" has not been clearly defined, but we do know that porches and patios are considered "habitable." The law also states that a homeowner may not build or install a new home in the event that his/her existing home is destroyed (by fire or what have you). It's also important to know that Maricopa County has been indemnified from lawsuits by property owners in this regard -- so, while they're supposed to act "in good faith" with the restrictive law, they can't be sued if they issue a permit to build something the state decides is forbidden.
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