Guest Opinions

We should say no to F-35s at Gowen Field. Period.

Crowds gather to look at a pair of F-35s on display at the Gowen Thunder 2017 air show in Boise in October.
Crowds gather to look at a pair of F-35s on display at the Gowen Thunder 2017 air show in Boise in October. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

I am incredibly disappointed in the Statesman continuing to publish the propaganda being produced by the city of Boise, the Boise Airport administration and the so called “Gowen Strong” group.

Very simply, the F-35 is the loudest fighter jet in the American arsenal. It’s earthshaking, ear-splitting 115dBA (decibels at 1,000 feet) at takeoff are going to be hugely impactful to the peace of the entire Treasure Valley. I have a simple solution to the problem of F-35s coming to Gowen Field. The solution is for the F-35s to fly low over the city of Boise, with every takeoff and landing. I suggest they should especially fly low over Mayor Bieter’s house and Gov. Otter’s house.

Does that sound preposterous? Well, that’s exactly what they both want to do at my house in Southwest Boise with their support of the F-35s. So I have a question for Mayor Bieter. Let’s apply the city motto to this situation. How in the world do the F-35s help “make Boise the most livable city” in the nation? Is it just the supposed economic benefit? Well, how come none of the economic studies calculate the massive loss in property values in the Southwest Boise and Bench area?

Is this pork barrel project worth all of the associated 115dBA (decibels) of noise that comes with each aircraft? One estimate of property value loss for just the 2,500 most affected homes in the Bench area is at $500 million. How strong does that make Gowen?

So I have another question: Who is going to pay for all that property value loss? If the F-35s had to take off and land over the mayor’s and governor’s houses, it is an undeniable fact that the F-35s would never be considered for assignment to fly out of Boise. So why should it be allowed over my house?

It is not a measure of patriotism or support of the military that is at question here. The fact is Gowen Field will find a flying mission one way or the other. I believe that the best match for Boise is with non-afterburning aircraft such as the C-130 cargo and firefighting mission. As a resident of this area I am adamantly opposed to the F-35s invading the peace and quiet in my neighborhood. I believe that hard-earned taxpayer money should not be wasted attempting to bring the F-35s to Boise. (Ironically, I paid for the state and city to spend the taxpayer money they wasted promoting the F-35.)

Instead, if we need to spend taxpayer money, we should be attempting to promote bringing a non-afterburner aircraft for the flying mission at Gowen Field. Let’s do the right thing here; afterburner aircraft are not a good match for assignment to the Treasure Valley. Period.

Tom Campbell is a Boise fire captain and certified Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting specialist. He is a 29-year Southwest Boise resident and a 26-year retired veteran.

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