By DAVID R. FRAZIER, editor
Using money donated by concerned citizens, the GUARDIAN paid to obtain three months worth of public documents from the City of Boise regarding the F-35 which paint a vivid picture of a single-minded battle plan with little regard for “collateral damage” to the home-owning citizens of the Boise Bench. The documents are available HERE until April 27. NOTE–This is a 413.96 MB zip file that will be downloaded to your computer or device – be sure you have room for it.
Armed with taxpayer dollars and the resources of government, Boise and Idaho politicos have launched a public relations offensive against the citizens in their battle to attract the F-35 fighter jet to Gowen Field. They may be well intentioned, but many residents stand to be victims of “friendly fire” in this war of words.
E-mail documents show “The Group” (or committee) comprised of National Guard, City, State, Idaho Power, and Airport employees, communicates almost daily preparing canned form letters to constituents, conniving to keep “our message” in the media via op-ed pieces in the Statesman, at public meetings, with the Federal Government, and on social media. Their event at Gowen Field hosting the STATESMAN editorial board was an exercise in military maneuvers worthy of a military academy class.
The Group has created “talking points,” while never once discussing alternatives to the loud F-35 fighter being based in Boise. For instance, in a series of exchanges regarding the opponent’s logical suggestion of basing the F-35 mission at Mountain Home AFB, they settled on this response:
“The U.S. Air Force is currently considering which Guard bases will receive F-35s, not the consolidation of Air Guard and Air Force bases.”
When opponents and the GUARDIAN noted the impact on the most densely populated area between Salt Lake and Seattle, the glib solution became:
“Boise is the most densely populated city in Idaho, maintaining a population base sufficient to meet the needs of an F-35 mission.”
In one document the Idaho Dept. of Commerce reveals it has nationwide access (intelligence source?) to a service called BRANDWATCH. They provided a password and instructions to the Group so members could get news reports and social media trends regarding the F-35. Boise’s attorney denied the GUARDIAN access to that info by redacting it from the e-mails. Just another weapon in the official arsenal not available to the enemy.
Buried in the hundreds of messages was this reference from airport Director Rebecca Hupp to Mayor Dave Bieter: “I will also ask Elizabeth Koeckeritz to email, for your rerefernce, the attorney-client memo that initially discussed forming Gowen Strong as an independent non-profit and the City Council resolution.” Koeckeritz is a civil attorney for the city. GOWEN STRONG is a collaboration between Boise City and the private special interest lobbying group known as the Chamber of Commerce.
When a member of what is now “Citizens for a Livable Boise” sent an invitation to a neighborhood association president to attend a meeting of concerned citizens regarding the F-35, the neighborhood guy’s wife turned it over to the mayor’s staff, prompting this response from an executive staffer:
“Tracy’s husband, received this email today…would be great to arm some of these folks with facts beforehand. Also, speaks to Jade’s point about reaching out through Kathleen Lacy (sic) and Melinda McGoldrick to the NAs. (Jade Riley is mayor’s chief of staff and NA is neighborhood associations).
It came as no surprise when neighborhood association presidents received a letter sent April 14 by none other than Kathleen Lacey, Boise’s neighborhood coordinator claiming, “In recent weeks, you may have received information from individuals who oppose the potential F-35 mission at Gowen Field. While we certainly respect the opinions of everyone and their right to express them, we feel a responsibility to make sure you have accurate information to base your own opinion upon.”
She then used the aforementioned talking points/sales pitch to promote the F-35 position, adding, “Unfortunately, some individuals who oppose F-35s coming to Gowen Field have disseminated a number of inaccuracies about Gowen Field and the potential new mission. Though the City of Boise, the Boise Airport, the Idaho Air National Guard, the State of Idaho and others have consistently provided the correct information they continue to extend erroneous material.”
When Patrick Harren asked the mayor to rescind his support of the F-35, he was sent a letter with the usual talking points and sales pitch about the economic benefits of the Guard. Then Mayor Dave Bieter parried Harren’s concerns saying, “Once again, it is important to keep in mind that the City of Boise has no say over what aircraft can or cannot fly in and out of Gowen, and any decision involving a replacement flying mission lies in the hands of the United States Air Force. If you have any further questions or would like more information, please contact the Idaho National Guard, or you can contact our Congressional delegation members.”
Seems counterintuitive (maybe inaccurate) to claim the city of Boise has “no say,” while devoting thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours of public employee time in an effort to influence the Air Force decision to bring the F-35 to Boise. He is either wasting taxpayer money in his “no say” effort or sending out “misinformation.”
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Apr 15, 2017, 8:26 pm
Downloading documents from the hyperlinked “here” found at the top of this article is a three (3) step process.
1) Click on “here”
2) Click on “Released E-Ma…7.zip”
3) Click on the “Download” button.
NOTE: This is a 413.96 MB zip file that will be downloaded to your computer or device – be sure you have room for it.
Apr 15, 2017, 8:33 pm
I hope the military realize it would be better if it was in Mountain Home instead of Boise. It would be cheaper since they have the required support and benefits available to our military soldiers. I think we will end up with a newer plane. Newer in the sense not as old as the A-10 but not the F-35. Or they could just move the guard totally to another state where it would serve the overall mission.
Apr 15, 2017, 9:15 pm
Thank you for your perseverance and getting this information! The whole shameful affair stinks to high heaven. There is no good place for the F-35 Noise Monster planes in Idaho. They pose a great threat to Idaho’s wildlife in the Owyhee Canyonlands. AND the great Bieter and ID Cong delegation promises of “jobs” galore. Guess what. The ultimate plan is to have these aircraft be unmanned.
Apr 15, 2017, 9:32 pm
Unfortunately for Mayor Bieter and his gang (for lack of better name), people of Boise are not dumb and will not be conned by his “message”.
Apr 15, 2017, 9:35 pm
Idaho Power? They spend buckets of money trying to make me think they are a caring company.
Good job getting the scoop on these documents Editor. So sad our local media refuses to cover the story without bias — or even cover it at all until about six months ago.
It is plain to see from reading the documents and speaking to the players — they are knowing full well they are telling YUGE lies.
Now we just need to find the grease money. I wonder if you found the money and showed it to KTVB, would they run the story?
EDITOR NOTE–The Idaho Power guy is Bill Shawver and he is/was a high ranking ANG officer. Also worked for Otter as disaster services. Earlier post comment link claims in Burlington, VT the money trail will lead to developers who will take property not suited for residential use and develop storage, commercial, etc. http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/bill-shawver/
Apr 16, 2017, 6:28 am
Channel 7 is the least likely station to run this story, Love It. and the odds of one of the other two running it are long indeed.
Apr 16, 2017, 7:52 am
Thank you very much for the well written article!
The manner with which the city, state, and congressional delegation leaders are handling this is deplorable!
Apr 16, 2017, 9:08 am
Why are they so afraid to accept the GUARDIAN editor challenge to bring in a couple f-35 and let us see and hear them at full afterburner and full load? Put some db meters out and record the noise or lack of.
They visit Mt. Home, but never show their face in Boise.
Apr 17, 2017, 9:57 am
Loads of info in that file. This shows the city is contacting everyone and trying everything to get this decision made in their favor. One of the deciding factors maybe the “x factor”or citizen opposition and the amount of noice that can be made. There are lots of .mil email addresses in that archive that could expand the noise of opposition.
Some of my favorites:
– Email from Idaho ANG to City of Boise regarding the need to install a barrier or cable arrest system on the south runway (sounds expensive).
– Anon email to city council ” Change the first letter of “Boise” to an “N”, and what to you have?”
Apr 17, 2017, 11:24 am
To any legislator who may read the Guardian blog….
The information provided in this story illustrates yet again how political subdivisions misuse taxpayer provided resources.
The same occurs frequently in the City of Boise and it political subdivisions. (CCDC, Auditorium District, etc..
Apr 17, 2017, 3:46 pm
Whereas mayor Bieter’s streetcar dream remains a persistent fantasy on his part, he is on solid ground when promoting the air national guard’s contribution to the City of Boise, which is genuine, substantial, consistent, and historical. Given the historical nature of this military presence, those who elect to settle near the airport, and then deign to complain about the noise, have nevertheless been given fair warning / notice, and thus have no justifiable cause to complain. Caveat emptor! They should join in the appreciation of Boise’s being part of our strong military and hear those jets taking off with sincere gratitude.
Apr 17, 2017, 7:36 pm
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.” 1984
Apr 17, 2017, 10:26 pm
JLR, Ya got your Speedo all in a bunch for the wrong cause. The primary problem here is the government conspiracy to tell lies to the public. I should not need explain this to you. Is your law firm gonna profit from the noise too? Are you helping them lie?
You folks in the ivory tower take for granted we rats who run on the wheel and keep your lights on. If this airplane is based here, it should have departures to the north over downtown so you can feel the sound of freedom too.
BTW: Our military has been made weak by the overpriced underperforming F-35. This same scam has been run before, but the military brass plays along so as to get a nice retirement job with a military contractor.
Apr 18, 2017, 9:52 am
From: Mayor Bieter
Date: March 30, 2017 at 10:33:31 AM MDT
To: joanie fauci
Subject: RE: F35 sample
Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your suggestion. The City of Boise has no say over what aircraft can or cannot fly in and out of Gowen Field, and this includes the possibility of having an F-35 visit Gowen so residents can hear the noise it makes. If you would like to make this request to the Idaho National Guard, please contact Major Christopher Borders by calling (208)422-5268 or by email at CHRISTOPHER.L.BORDERS2.MIL@MAIL.MIL.
It is important to keep in mind that the decision about any long-term flying mission for Gowen Field will be made by the U.S. Air Force and their decision making process will include a significant amount of public input opportunities. We are many months, if not years, away from any final decisions being made, which will include the official impacts that such a mission would have on surrounding neighborhoods.
I hope this information is helpful. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
David H. Bieter
EDITOR NOTE–As we observed in the main post, these impersonal form letters all say the city has no voice, yet they devote money, resources, and staff time in their attempt to lure the F-35 to Boise.
Apr 18, 2017, 11:46 am
GREED IS GOOD.
I would like to explain why ANG base selection for F-35 is not a fair and transparent process by USAF, but has to be influenced by politicians such as Idaho Congressional Delegation.
If Greed is Good, then Profit is Necessity.
Like in horse racing, fixing the winner, and placing the right bet, Maximizes the Profit. Members of Congress are wealthy because of that.
In our capitalist society, when thousands of home owners are asked to accept partial or complete loss of home value for the “greater good” such as deployment of F-35 in their city, I know public opinion is being manipulated.
Dont’ get mad, get greedy.
Demand monetary compensation for the noise and loss of home values.
Apr 19, 2017, 10:43 am
I think it is reasonable to say Boise has “no say over what aircraft can or cannot fly in and out of Gowen Field”. That is the military’s decision based on the city’s influence.
However, Boise does have a choice whether to be inviting to the Guard at all, and whether to invite/allow the the Guard to be a tenant at Gowan. Of course, the IDAHO Air Guard needs to be SOMEWHERE.
I’m pretty sure the Mayor, and the Governor don’t care if the Guard chooses F-35s or cargo planes flying “rubber dog sht out of Hong Kong”. They just want the economic benefit of people and the money that goes with it. Money talks…
I welcome the Guard in Boise- with whatever toys they want to use; please build an exclusive airstrip East of Boise and fly to your heart’s content, over there.
EDITOR NOTE–Your airstrip already exists at Mt. Home AFB! Anything in between would have conflicting airspace. SE if the tank shooting range and we don’t want to shoot down F-35s at their price tag.
Apr 19, 2017, 1:54 pm
I DLd the database and I found many interesting elements. One was a article about the FAA providing few options for Bunrlington Vermont residents, surrounding their airport. They are stuck with buying up many homes and providing sound mitigation for many, many more.
File after file in this email dump reinforces that this F-35 deal is totally done, in the eyes of the City. They want the F-35s here and badly, while pretending that the USAF makes the decisions. They pretend it’s about a “mission” but they want the F-35 mission specifically. They track all opposition and media postings. It’s almost Stasi like. I found one of my own submissions to City Hall highlighted. Here is the real bottom line as far as Burlington found that spells doom for Boise-
“I understand people want the F-35 on maps for mitigation,” Doucette said. “But we can’t do that until they are here, and even then it will take years to put a program in place.”
Another source of contention was the loss of tax revenue for South Burlington when homes are bought and demolished. Doucette said he hopes to see the city rezone those areas for commercial land use.
See here- https-//vtdigger.org/2017/02/17/faa-offers-solutions-f-35-noise-mitigation-south-burlington/
Apr 19, 2017, 10:39 pm
I disagree with your statement that the mayor has waged a “public relations offensive against the citizens.” From my perspective, as someone who would like the F-35’s in our fair city, I see him as advocating for the best interest of his citizens.
Look, I’ve lived in Boise since the 60’s. I’ve seen people buy the cheaper real estate near the airport and build houses there. News flash: Your land was cheaper BECAUSE IT WAS NEXT TO AN AIRPORT! I have zero sympathy for those who built or bought homes near an airport and are now complaining about airport noise.
Apr 20, 2017, 10:47 am
Dearest Angry F, Your disagreement is based on an incorrect presumption and/or the mayor’s anti-citizen propaganda. Homes many miles from the airport are slated to be disturbed, not just those inside the noise loops. Also don’t forget the doctor’s point about air pollution. We are consistently one of America’s dirtiest cities without even factoring in the annual forest fire fostering industry. Many cities do just fine without military money wasting, so the case for how we will shrivel and die without Gowen is bull. Money spent in Mountain home is money spent in Boise anyway.
Mayor wants all this noise as a tool for stirring the real-estate pot. Team Dave is using noise to make way for commercial developments. There’s billions to be made by destroying the residential Bench and redeveloping commercial. It is why mayor is not hard selling a quiet military aircraft. They want to cause this problem for as many as possible. The Mayor, his team, and their spouses make huge bank by forcing transactions. It’s the age old government function of causing problems so they can swoop in and fix them with truckloads of federal money.
Lastly I’m going to rezone and build something you don’t like all around your home. It will knock 50% off your value. I have zero sympathy for you. You were foolish not to see this rezoning in your crystal ball.
Apr 20, 2017, 1:49 pm
I concur with “Love It” .
Of the only 2 comments Mayor Bieter made during many hearings for Syringa Valley development near airport, one was if there is going to be enough land promised for commercial development. There is a shortage of commercial zoned land in Boise.
Also, saying you have zero sympathy for other people in Boise, such as residents around Airport, detracts from Angry Floyd’s point. Because people are less willing to hear out someone who does not care about others.
Apr 20, 2017, 3:16 pm
I am sorry to say the Mayor has his mind made up and no one can change it. it is like a new development and we voice our objections and opinions and even show it is causing a burden to that area and he stills approves.
Apr 24, 2017, 7:11 am
Let’s be clear about one thing: Never has a guard unit shut down or moved to another state. The National Security Act of 1947, which formally created a guard unit in each state (air and army)as well as Pentagon policy prevent that. Only active Air Force units have shut down, such as Plattsburgh Air Force Base in upper New York in the 1980s. You can take that to the bank. Don’t let any of the F-35 proponents bamboozle you about losing the Air Guard. It will always exist and stay in-state.
Apr 24, 2017, 7:22 am
The National Security Act of 1947 and Pentagon policy assures that each state will continue to have both an Air Guard and Army Guard.