Guest Editorial by Lana Mooks
There has been a lot of media coverage lately that some of the elected leaders in El Mirage are questioning the Air Force’s selection of Luke Air Force Base as a finalist for the F-35 training mission.
The impression is that many El Mirage residents are opposed to Luke being considered for the follow-on mission of the F-35. Nothing could be further from the truth!
There are a great number of El Mirage residents who are not in lockstep with those few city leaders who are leveraging the selection process to force payments from the federal government.
A great number of us, a number which is growing every day, are concerned that our leadership may jeopardize the follow-on mission by their antics and paint the entire city as opposed to Luke and the F-35.
Like many of our city leaders’ communications, El Mirage’s messages are mixed, particularly when matched with their actions.
Case in point: the city’s recent “Sustainability Forum,” which was presented as an opportunity for the community to hear about El Mirage development issues, was nothing more than a compare-and-contrast of what El Mirage could be were it not for development restrictions caused by Luke AFB.
The most worrisome part of the meeting was the fact they played a recording inside a concrete room of various aircraft acoustics with the clear intention of stoking the fears of its own citizens over the perceived noise issue.
El Mirage residents and the West Valley need a serious discussion about the impacts of a new mission at Luke AFB. We don’t need a self-generated media storm by our elected officials attempting to leverage towards an ill-defined outcome. That is why we formed the citizen group, People Of El Mirage.
The People of El Mirage is a collection of El Mirage residents who will give voice to those within the city who support Luke AFB, who are open to having a follow-on mission of the F-35 and who want open discussion about the impacts of a new mission on our city — not fear-mongering and pandering from those we elect to serve us.
The People of El Mirage citizens group recently hosted a public meeting with representatives from Fighter Country Partnership, Luke AFB, and Dr. Jack Rutherford from Arizona State University to provide a factual basis from which residents could draw their own conclusions.
We had close to 300 people from El Mirage — people who wanted facts about the issues and process. We plan to hold more meetings in the coming months to ensure that the facts and process are clearly understood and not used in some alternative ways to damage our city’s reputation any further than it already has been.
Ms. Lana Mooks is a resident of El Mirage – page updated 4 Feb 2020