City Government

Boise Council In Dark Over F-35 Banners

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.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Saw a piece on the F-35 on one of the news magazine shows on TV a few weeks back. It is supposed to be a single platform for all branches of the military. F-35 cost overruns and other issues are also present as is the case with most govt. projects.

    The three brances of the military Army, Navy, Marines, who will be the main users don’t like it as it does nothing well for their respective missions. It is sort of like trying to get a motorcycle to do all things well. It can’t be done.

    This bloated project may never see opertional status if SecDef Robt. Gates remains on staff. He is sick and tired of goodies that do nothing for the ground troops.

    They can buy all the pretty posters they want but this bird may become extinct before it gets put into service.

  2. I agree Paul. The viability of the F-35 in it’s current platform design, is far from a production “done deal”!
    However, with regard to the city council, one has earned the right to be “forgetful”. The rest aren’t ignorant, they are CLUELESS!!

    EDITOR NOTE–The council did indeed pass a resolution in support of the F-35, but it said nothing about advertising banners, public relations expenses with public funds, equal time for opponents. We were told it was pretty much a matter of “if there are going to be F-35s we want the jobs.”

  3. So who authorized them and more important who paid for them?? – – there has to be a paper trail somewhere – – or did someone hide it?

  4. What are the expense guidelines? How much did the city of Boise expend for F35 PR?

    I hear from my military friends that I MUST support the F35. I haven’t made up my mind. I would rather see this exorbitant amount of defense money for now being put to better use, i.e. cost of living adjustments (retroactive) for military, veterans and seniors, despite the consumer-price-index tie. Obviously, the price of goods has risen. Our soldiers are fighting too many battles and separations from family. You have no idea of these personal costs for liberty unless you have served in the military or are a veteran or military family member. Same for seniors on fixed incomes; their battles are many too. These PR types need to cruise the grocery stores, food banks, payday loan places, battlefields, etc., instead of sitting on their royal perches and wasting our time and money.

    This PR effort is similar to the 2010 Census hoopla. Instead of all the promised jobs, albeit short-term, money was wasted for a bus tour and massive outreach to promote a five-question questionnaire. I’m still seeing ads on TV asking folks to return their census in March. My brother in Florida sent his census in on time and has been the victim of five follow ups. Fortunately, the BP problem has not yet hit northern Florida, but it is the talk of the state. Time to clean up and do what’s right for America!

  5. I despise those banners–I most certainly do NOT support the F-35s, and resent the implication that everyone in Boise does.

    I’m not sure how all the council has missed them. They’re extremely visible on the concourse. I don’t even travel that often, and I know exactly where they’re at and what they look like.

  6. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 22, 2010, 12:47 pm

    If the PR effort “…falls within expense guidelines”, then those guidelines need to be changed. The city government should be neutral on issues such as this.

  7. So our tax money did pay for the stuff.

  8. diane sower
    Jun 22, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Nobody gets it. The decision to bring these fighter jets was made long before they announced it to us here in Idaho. We can gripe till we are blue in the face, but until you’ve realized the process involved in military decisions, you are all barking up the wrong tree. Find something else to work on.

    EDITOR NOTE–Diane, they haven’t even decided to produce the fighters yet let alone decide where to locate them! LAtest wrinkle is a politico pushing for an “alternate engine” manufactured in his state.

  9. Porcupine Picayune
    Jun 23, 2010, 9:33 am

    “…couldn’t recall authorizing any expenditures…”

    Plausible Deniabilty…

    It’s the fuel that drives the City of Boise and its Political Fiefdoms

  10. Larry Fortensky
    Jun 23, 2010, 11:02 pm

    I lived about 10 miles from a naval air station, and it was a 24-hour, noisy operation. Mechanics testing engines at 3 a.m. by running them full bore. When the wind was just so, the distinct odor of jet fuel and emissions wafting over. Jets dumping all their fuel anywhere if any sort of emergency light comes on in the cockpit. Two or four jets taking off together on late night missions, using afterburners that will rattle your house, followed by another two or four jets. It’s a major industrial facility that doesn’t work in Boise. No thanks. Boise, you don’t want this.

  11. I’m not surprised Boise Council supports the F35 fighter squadron. They support extremely loud Harley Davidson motorcycles anywhere in the city. I suppose it also is the “sound of freedom” when I hear a pack of them roaring past my house in the middle of the night.
    Makes me glad I’m American. Think I should run out and salute in my skivvies next time?

    Asked a Boise cop why they don’t ticket loud motorcycles and he smiled and said, “because we like them”. Wonder when I like it?

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