In a sampling of half the Boise City Council, it looks like councilors had no knowledge their group images are being displayed on banners at the airport supporting the F-35 fighter jet and none can remember authorizing any expenditures for the banners.
The professional advertising banners on the concourse proclaim “BOISE SUPPORTS THE F-35 IN IDAHO” and sports the city logo as well as a group image of the city council. One would be hard pressed to conclude anything other than unanimous support for federal expenditures of the fighter and based on the ad banners there is little doubt the council has made up its collective mind on siting the fighter–regardless of any adverse impacts to the community.
A reader sent us this note:
You need to find out about the flag/posters at the airport. They claim “BOISE supports F-35.” I am part of Boise and many of my friends are part of Boise and we do NOT support noisy aircraft in OUR city. This is nothing more than a political ad for the city council and an attempt to advertise a non-truth.”
When we contacted the three councilors, two said they were unaware of the banners, couldn’t recall authorizing any expenditures for the ad campaign, and promised to get more information. One–who routinely supports the military–said he had never authorized any funds nor the use of his image for the advertising program. Another said, “That is interesting. I haven’t see these flags. I will find out more information.”
The danger in this inappropriate use of public funds and space is it creates the impression–either by design or default–that councilors have made up their mind on the issue. Opponents are not offered the same space or funds to express their concerns. The manufacturer can take the “support message” to congress and say, “Boise City Council is in favor of this, you need to authorize the funding.”
We believe the councilors when they plead ignorance about the ad campaign and the message. It will be interesting to see how it plays out behind closed doors once they inquire and “get back” to us.
UPDATE 12:45 p.m. Monday–
Councilor Elaine Clegg said the council had passed a resolution in support of the F-35 in February and the, “PR effort was not inconsistent with past PR efforts” and falls within expense expense guidelines.
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