Will El Mirage Ever Be Able to Emerge From the Shadow of Luke Air Force Base?

The Mexican migrant workers who settled on the west bank of the Agua Fria River more than 70 years ago didn't have an easy life, but it was a good one.

They toiled in the fields, sowing seeds, pulling weeds, and picking watermelons, onions, and cotton. They carved out canals to water the farmlands. And they raised their families in simple ranch houses.

In 1937, they founded El Mirage, then a 134-acre town about 20 miles northwest of Phoenix. It was a community built on the dreams of farm workers who, after spending their lives harvesting crops across the country, wanted to plant some roots of their own.

The West Valley also proved attractive to the U.S. Army. In 1940, it sent a scout to Arizona to find a spot where the Army Air Corps could provide advanced training to fighter pilots. They set their sights on 1,440 acres of land several miles west of El Mirage, and the following year opened Litchfield Park Air Base, later renamed Luke Air Force Base.

Lifelong residents of El Mirage remember living comfortably for decades with the nearby military base. The community became a city in 1951 and still managed to avoid rifts with military officials. After a while, the sounds of jet engines screeching overhead simply faded into the background.

Jets ripping through the sky epitomized freedom and protection. And for most of Arizona, they also represented an economic boon.

But never for El Mirage.

When the jets fly overhead, their powerful engines are sometimes low and loud enough to rattle windows and walls. The roar can easily silence a conversation.

A 2008 study commissioned by state officials estimated that the military industry generates $9 billion annually in economic output in Arizona, in part, through job creation and military contracts with local businesses.

But for El Mirage, where the population numbers about 33,000, the military presence has been nothing but an impediment to economic prosperity. El Mirage has faced constant opposition from military officials and stymied growth because of its proximity to Luke Air Force Base.

State-imposed development restrictions meant to protect Luke from encroachment also kept many developers at bay. That put a significant hurt on El Mirage because a whopping 60 percent of the community sits beneath those restricted high-noise and accident-potential zones.

True, it didn't keep away a Walmart Super Center, which opened in El Mirage in 2005. That retail giant has proved to be one of the city's major successes, bringing about 500 jobs to the community and as much as $5 million annually in sales tax revenues.

But a single store — even a Walmart — isn't enough to support an entire city.

Over the years, nearby cities like Glendale and Sun City have elbowed military officials into concessions to ease noise and development restrictions. Not El Mirage. And so the planes fly over — and over and over.

The city has a legacy of well-meaning leaders who have tried to make El Mirage a great community. Historically, elected officials in El Mirage may not have been politically polished in their attempts to get that message across, but they stood up for what they believed was in the residents' best interests.

They fought for prosperity and highlighted the opportunities El Mirage missed out on because of Luke Air Force Base, including a $20 million resort-style hotel and convention center that military officials opposed in 1983.

Luke brass apparently didn't have anything to say about this to New Times.

A call to Luke's public affairs bureau was directed to Rusty Mitchell, director of Luke's "Community Initiatives Team." But New Times never heard back from him.

That's odd. Luke wasn't always afraid to come to the phone. And Luke used to come out swinging against cities and projects that threatened the base.

But lately, they've let others wear the gloves. There's Fighter Country Partnership, an advocacy group of community leaders that support Luke. There is Luke Forward, a campaign launched to promote Arizona's support of Luke and its continued training mission.

And there is Lana Mook, who couldn't be a bigger supporter of the base if she was on its payroll.

A retiree who moved to El Mirage a few years ago, Mook couldn't stand what she considered to be all the Luke bashing in her adopted hometown. She and her neighbors at Pueblo Mirage, a retirement community, started a group to counter it.

Mook is a 63-year-old grandmother of four, a community volunteer, and a workaholic — even in her retirement years — who once held management jobs in the healthcare industry.

Her goal has been to stir support in El Mirage for Luke Air Force Base while debunking city officials' claims that the base is to blame for the city's inadequate economic development.

The group she helped found also hosted community meetings with noise experts to silence the city's claims that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new jet expected to eventually replace the existing warbirds at Luke, would be too loud and disrupt life in the community.

Mook adopted a protect-Luke-at-all-costs stance and stood with leaders from other communities, blasting and ridiculing El Mirage for not pledging its unwavering support to the military base.

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Gregory
Gregory

Biased much New Times?

I guess the only thing you like less than land developers is Military.

We built a military base 20 miles outside of the city, bases need a city nearby because we need people to work there. The 200 or so farms that were in the area were built nearly 100 years ago, those families are gone,. Now we have people moving from California (building homes at the end of a runway because the land is so cheap) complaining about the noise...

Anti-pro
Anti-pro

My in-laws have lived in "new El-Mirage" since 2002. There has been growth, but most of that growth has been housing communities, the Wal-mart and redoing old strip malls, and even that is everything west of El Mirage Ave, and not the original town itself.

The housing boom of the late 90's and early 2000s did help boost a city that looked like it was stuck in the 50s, but that came to an end about 3 years ago when the housing crash took hold, and now the "new" section is nothing but a for sale or foreclosure sign on every other house, in every community. Thankfully with the boom they were able to remodel and improve the 2 elementary schools and the High School with those increase in tax dollars.

Sadly they have lost quite a few residences, so they will never make the tax revenue they did back in mid 2005 when every house was full and things were great. Although the Wal-mart does help in some aspect, it will never experience anything like it did some 6 years ago. Even neighboring city Surprise has lost money due to housing crash, and it was one of the states most developing and growing cities of the 2000's. But they have many more resources and much more going for it than El Mirage will ever have.

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alehound
alehound

Okay, look people you live in the Desert and next to an AFB. So there's going to be plane noise. I guess cheap housing ain't what it's cracked up to be. To paraphrase Sam Kinison, "We have deserts in America we just don't live" - never mind.

MadRaven72
MadRaven72

The town predates the arrival of the AFB by a good 3 years, so it's not as though the town founders said "Hey, but for the noise, this seems like a good spot"

the conscience
the conscience

Lana Mook does not have one redeeming quality that one would expect of a mayor- She has no vision, no goals, no plan. She is the most negative person, in public office, that I have seen for sometime.

Luke's Rusty Mitchell is as dishonest as Mook is incompetent. He and his superiors knows the truth about thenoise levels of the F-35 and threat posed to the public. which is actually 4-12 times louder than the F-16. If the bluebloods of Sun City were unhappy with the F-16's, wait until they get a load of the F-35. Many will be discsrding their Miracle Ears and moving back to their state of origin to escape the abuse.

As an interesting side note, the F-35 is manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is owned by Gannett Broadcasting which also owns the Arizona Republic. This is one of the reasons why the New Times is the only place that you will read the truth about the F-35 and its true noise level. Hundreds of thousands of people will be displaced from their homes either from the noise or the damage done to their homes that will make them unliveable. The same thing happened in the Fair Oaks subdivision in Marietta Georgia. 85 homeowners are now in foreclosure because of the changed flight patterns emanating from Dobbins AFB. The average price of these homes was $200,000 and after a lengthy court battle, the Air Force offered each homeowner 200 dollars for the loss of their home. Luke will prove to be the same kind of bad neighbor and the minister of public disinformation is Rusty Mitchell and corporate types operating Fighter Country and Luke Forward who masquerade as a 401 nonprofiti which it is not.

The Environmental Impact study does not even consider noise pollution as a deterent to placing the F-35 at Luke. That is because the Air Force knows that if noise was a consideration, the plane could not be flown in an urban area.

Now, West Valley, you cannot say that you were not warned.

To Monica, I felt you left out the fact that after the F-35 is flying out of Luke, El Mirage will not have to worry about economic development because it will be a ghost town.

As far as Mook's unwavering support of Luke and the F-35, one might want to lift up the covers and look at her family's financial dealings to uncover the reasons underlying her unreasonable bulldog approach to supporting the F-35.

Property rights and the health and safety of the citizens be damned, so long as the military industrial complex meets its financial projections.

tukzy
tukzy

From my little education I think there is always what is known as EIA (environmental impact assessment) conducted before a project is approved for construction in any given community. Was this done in El Mirage? We should go back to that so we can see and know who to be blamed for this. I also know that noise pollution is inclusive in this study if it was done.

gman
gman

I used to live in El Mirage until 1 year ago. I actually thought the jets flying overhead were cool, you don't get to see fighter jets every day, but there you got to see them all the time, those jets are awesome machines!! They never fly over at night, mostly during the work day. The city is a 'sleeper community' with very little retail stores, and was intentionally zoned that way by the city government, a little short-sited, because the lack of tax revenue, but nevertheless was purposefully zoned that way. El mirage wanted additional land for the purpose of retail zoning, and tried to fight a Glendale annex, but lost in court a couple years ago. BTW, there are 2 el mirage's the "new" El Mirage, and the "older" el mirage. If you ever plan on living there, go to the new! A lot less crime, and better housing. Now if you want to talk about irritating, the train was LOUD!! they should sink the grade of the train below grade like LA, and then you don't hear the train horn at all hours of the day AND NIGHT!!

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Me
Me

That may be Marcy, but sometimes when I come home from work or on days I have off (vacation), I notice lots of people that seem to wander around the streets and they don't appear to be old enough to retire, don't appear to have children with them, and don't seem to be working out of their homes so again I say that perhaps if they worked during the day, there would be no time to complain, whine, and generally gripe about the jets. By the way, the pilots flying those jets, and the ground crew maintaining those jets are EMPLOYED!

Euro_spec_golfii
Euro_spec_golfii

im a visitor to AZ..i guess not one of the people bitching has lived next to Ft Lewis/McChord AFB, WA..LOUD!!! all the time(jets, cargo planes, artillery/mortars, gunfire, etc) all just outside city limits. no one complains and the post/base does its best to inform the community before exercises. in my opinion, its a boost to the Sea-Tac-Oly economy. get over the noise....its the sound of freedom.

the conscience
the conscience

in this case, the sound of freedom will be the harbinger of oppression for the West valley. When the mission of the base grows to the point where it endangers the public, the base needs to be moved

Mailman0
Mailman0

Even if the Air Force study shows the F-35 will be damaging to the city, do you think she will even acknowledge it or release the information to the public for them to decide? DOn't think she will since she sold out to get elected.

Me
Me

I live in El Mirage and the jets don't bother me because I go to work! I work in Phoenix so I never hear them. The only people it seems to bother or even would bother for that matter are people who are home during the day. Why aren't they at work? Then they wouldn't hear the noise...problem solved!

Marcy
Marcy

Some people are retired, some people stay at home with their children, some people work out of their homes ...

But thanks for sharing with everybody that the jets don't bother you when you are 20 miles away in another city.

Flyaway
Flyaway

Did anybody not notice that pesky little airforce base before they CHOSE to live in El Mirage. If you don't like it MOVE.

dp
dp

so you lived there before the base?

Jimmymorris1
Jimmymorris1

In 1940, it sent a scout to Arizona to find a spot where the Army Air Corps could provide advanced training to fighter pilots. They set their sights on 1,440 acres of land several miles west of El Mirage, and the following year opened Litchfield Park Air Base, later renamed Luke Air Force Base.

THEY HAVE NO REASON TO BITCH, THEY CONTINUED TO BUILD FOR THE LAST 70 YEARS 2011-1940 Come on , those planes were flying over in 1945, 46,47,66, on and on and they just kept building and building, JUST SHUT UP!!!!!!!!

Jamescrocker66
Jamescrocker66

Luke AIr Force Base is a fixture in the west valley, that provides massive economic benefits. El Mirage is just a little speed trap on Grand Avenue, that only hinders any further growth in the area. Which would any sane person opt to keep!

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Marcy
Marcy

Disincorporate and merge El Mirage with Surprise. No reason to have the overhead of it's own governing body, police, fire, etc. It's a landlocked city with zero potential for growth, just turn it into another Surprise neighborhood and move on.

Lana can go back to her double-wide and the military can continue flying ever louder jets overhead that will never be involved in the defense of the US but will consume ever increasing sums of tax dollars.

Ajbayne
Ajbayne

I live in El Mirage, have for 8 years & I love the sound of the jets flying over my house.I do no think the noise is a problem at all.

Big Bob
Big Bob

Yay, Walmart! Boo, United States Air Force (that has been here for over 70 years)!

This amatuer news rag never ceases to uphold their unique brand of ignorant comedy. Great job, idiots.

Lawlessness=Chaos
Lawlessness=Chaos

Maybe we should shut down the base and loose more jobs so we don't have to hear the sound of jets....while we're at it lets close Sky Harbor too cause those big passanger planes scare me...I wonder how many original folks still live in El Mirage from when it was a 134 acre town?

JaimeBates82
JaimeBates82

I agree with lujlp. I feel no sympathy for the citizens of El Mirage. Who moves some place without researching what kind of town or city it is? If you moved there not knowing about LAFB, shame on you for being uneducated. If you moved there knowing about it and complain anyway, shame on you for being a whining idiot. The base is important and vital, if for no other reason then to give our brave soldiers a place to raise their families. A place where their families can rely and draw strength from others in the same situation when their loved ones are deployed. Is it noisy? Yes. Does that suck? Yes. But either get over it, deal with it, or move. I'm so tired of the human race, honestly.

qwertydorknut5
qwertydorknut5

@jaimebates82 While I understand the premise of your comments it seems you didnt quite get the jist of the article. While trying to avoid being attacked by Luke and the other supporters they have artfully manuvered around them..the writer of this article is hinting at the TRUTH! Not only was El Mirage actually there 1st. (A common arguement to keep people from complaining) but LAFB and the other communities surrounding Luke have a history of (and it continues today) of backdoor, shady deals to force the issue onto poor defensless El Mirage. ie Luke has deals with each and every community surrounding them. The jist of which is, in echange for not flying over your community we expect you to speak badly about ANY opposition to our base. It is a concerted (and hidden) effort to keep them jets over El Mirage while the other communities house the people who work there in a much quieter and more lucrative environment. I have been a resident of El Mirage since the beginning of the building boom (2000) and I have lived in other areas around the base since I was 2yrs old. I am a huge supporter of Luke and its mission but the truth is the truth. LAFB DOES owe El Mirage substancial amounts of money to offset current and future economic impact. This is NOT new. The military has a long history of paying for such things. The only difference in this case is that they have been laying the groundwork of support from the other communities surrounding them many years and it is THOSE communities that are thrust forward to speak on Lukes behalf...because they have secured much better, unspoken deals from Luke. One other point. The presence of an Air Force Base IS NOT the issue. El Mirage and everyone else in the west valley considers Luke a rich part of our heritage. Having said that, it's a whole new ballgame when they are talking about bringing in a jet (F-35) that is 4 times as loud then the current F-16..and they are trying to do it with no thought or care as to the affect of this. The houses built long before the idea of such a loud jet came along will be worth dirt. F-16's in this area are fairly loud but tolerable. F-35 brings so many game changing questions to the table. It is only fair to assert that if the military wants to bring in such an aircraft that they should at minimum, pay for the dammage it will create. Thats not being unpatriotic. Thats keeping with the well established history of our military. Most people are simply unaware that the military frequently pays its way. There IS a reason El Mirage is not the 1st choice of where to land this jet. It is in fact the 5th location. It has been chased away from 4 previous locations. While i'll be the 1st to agree that our country needs a very strong military..I will be very unimpressed if this same country is allowed ruin my home for free.

lujlp
lujlp

Luke doesnt owe El Mirage anything. El Mirage did not exist until ten yrs after Luke, unincoperated county residents are subject to the decision of the county, not a non existant town.

1951 to 1990 population less than 5000. Surronding towns had larger population and complained more. How do you resolve noise complaints? In a manner that makes the largest number of people happy.

1983 Air Force says they have no where else to fly after reconfiguring their flight routes nearly a dozen times since the late 50's early 60's due to population growth in town surroding the air base.

2000 poulation 7000+ (estimate census)2006 population 32000+ (estimate this article2009 population 40000+ (estimate town of EL Miage via wikipedia)

Why does the military owe anything to people who moved there 25-30yrs after it had been established that there is no where else to fly? Or to famillies who had children after that annoucment? The info was out there, they knew the situation(had they bothered to do the smallest amount of reaserch)

You want to argue that the military and surronding towns owes El Mirage for the loss of economic development between late 60's to mid 70's? That might be a valid argument, dependant on what the town leadership was doing at the time.

Big Bob
Big Bob

So, you agree that who was there first holds some relevance to this issue. That's good. Now lets think about how many people who lived there before Luke still live in El Mirage today, 74 years later, and are complaining about it. How many do you think that is? 0? 3 people maybe? Well, that's the same number who have a valid reason to complain. Everyone else knew they were moving in next door to an Air Force base. This isn't any more complicated than that.

Milman69000
Milman69000

El Mirage was founded in 1937 although not incorporated until 1951 (or can you not read?) so the BS that the Air Force is pushing that they were here first is factually incorrect. FI\inally a paper that tells the truth. Other west valley cities forced this over El Mirage so Luke and the other cities owe El Mirage plain and simple. If they didn't why won't Rusty Mitchell respond to inquiries? He would rather hide behind the sheeple groups to do the talking so the Air Force can say they have no part in it. There is a reason other cities sued to stop the F-35 and by the time the clueless groups in charge now figure it out, it will be too late for them and the city.

lujlp
lujlp

Here is what I got from your 'article'. Migrant(meaning they move about the country and dont stay in one location for any leangth of time) sent up temporary housing. Three yrs later the military got nearby land and built a base. A base that proved to be pivitol in winning World War 2(a fact you never mentioned) Ten yrs AFTER the base was built some people decided to settle permently in El Mirage knowing full well about the military base, as by that time it had been there for a decade.

Then as larger cites with a population and political leadership paying better attention complained to the Air Force first they changed their flight patterns many times over until there was nowhere else for them to go without comprimising flight saftey.

Heres a thought - maybe back in the fifties they shouldnt have incoperated a city. Maybe if a far back as THIRTY YEARS ago the Airforce was saying they were locked in and had nowhere else to fly people shouldnt have moved out there?

Why is it so god damn hard for people to take responsibility for their actions? Why is it that we can expect people to do a little reasech on the area where they are moving? Why in the hell is it reasonable to as the federal government for reperations because they local city allowed people to build homes in a FLOOD PLAIN? Why is it people are supprised that their home built in a FLOOD PLAIN GETS FLOODED? When in gods name did everybody become so damn stupid?

Bananas
Bananas

How does "In 1937, they founded El Mirage, then a 134-acre town about 20 miles northwest of Phoenix." and "In 1940 it (US Army) sent a scout to Arizona to find a spot ... and the following year (1941) opened Litchfield Park Air Base, later renamed Luke Air Force Base." equate to your claim of 'temporary housing' becoming permanent in the 50s?

Are you basing this on the date of incorporation? Are unincorporated towns and cities 'temporary housing'? Tucson, founded in 1775, was temporary or migrant housing for 102 years until formally incorporated in 1877?

Are you aware that neither Sun City nor Sun City West are incorporated. I guess since they are largely snowbird communities and have some mobile homes they must be temporary housing for migrant communities too.

lujlp
lujlp

Becuase El Mirage wasnt founded in 1937, it was founded in 1951.

According to the arcticle migrant workers started farming the area in 1937. Migrant meaning MIGRATORY, as in not permenant. And even if it was a permenant settlement it was still unincorperated county land and subject to the laws of the county and not a non existant township. Which mean when the land down the raod was sold to the military it became an established legal entity first. And existaded as such fro more than a decade before the residents in unicorpeated marciopa county decided to form themselves a town

Inccedentally 2011-70 = 1941

qwertydorknut5
qwertydorknut5

@lujlp If THATS what you got from reading the article, I think you need to slow down when you read. 1st of all I am not a migrant worker nor is anyone from my family. The fact that you infer to them almost like drifters is way of base. It is more accurately a term given to those who travel with the seasons of crops. This is actually how it works in the agricultural trade. Certain crops are grown in certain areas and those who care for and cultivate those crops move around depending on what crop season is going on to tend to those crops. Having said that, the article actually says the area was SETTLED by such people. Meaning they had actually established roots here BEFORE the base. However, this is all a moot point. I only mention it because people tend to hide behind the phrase "Well the base was here 1st so you should have no opinion" when in fact the base WAS NOT here 1st. El Mirage was settled long before the base. What you are refering to was the fact that it wasnt incorperated into a Town until after the base had been established. However, this is not the point. The point is that back in the day, Luke was waaaay over there and Luke has since grown out to the point where you basically live UNDER Luke..not NEAR Luke. Most of these changes could not have been forseen even by Luke, much less the communities surrounding them. So it is very unfair to paint a picture that all this has been the way it is for decaded and people knew it. In fact, the most recent bad news shoveled onto El Mirage came about when F-16's began dropping from the sky about 8-10yrs ago. (1 out at Barry Goldwater, 1 in White Tanks Park, 1 inside El Mirage at Peoria and Dysart and finally 1 out by Cotton Ln and Bethany Home) Being that this all happened within a relatively short period of time it highlighted to the military the potential for loss of civilian life so they extended a safety zone (rightfully so) around the base limiting what could be done developemently in those areas. The only problem with this is that roughly 1/3 of El Mirage (southern half) now falls within that NEW safety zone and the city was instantly handicapped in its ability to develope, costing millions in future revenue. The facts are that El Mirage was about halfway through developing the residential areas of its town when this happend. The area that is now protected was SUPPOSE to be the industrial and commercial region of the city meant to drive the taxes needed to sustain a city. This is not the fault of El Mirage nor is it the fault of the military. It is simply a change that needed to be made in the name of safety. Unfortunately it HAS crippled a community and the military has done NOTHING to assist with the dammage that has been created by the very neccesary step they had to take. You may not be aware of this but it IS the responsability of our military to mitigate environmental, developmental or financial dammage they may cause to an area or region to keep their mission going. They actually have a long history of cutting checks for things like this. In fact, part of the substantial military budget is monies alloted to make these situations right. The tough part is prying that money away from them. It is a rough process and it should be. It is undeniable that El Mirage should get some financial assistance from the military to help compensate for the roughly 1/3 of its city that is now prohibited from being developed. The already rough process for getting some relief is being made substantially tougher by the OTHER communities surrounding Luke. ALL of those communities have made deals with Luke to help keep those planes directed over El Mirage in exchange for their undying support of the base. It is a fact that the military has stonewalled El Mirage when it simply exercised its rights granted through the "Freedom of Information Act" to ask our military to see the agreements they have signed with those OTHER communities. 1 wouldnt think that was such a contreversial request now would they. 1 would be wrong!! To date, the military has NEVER released that information. Within days of El Mirage requesting that information those other communities launched P.R. attacks on El Mirage that continue to this day. If ya wanna have some fun, try walking into the Town Halls of Glendale, Surprise, Goodyear, Avondale, Peoria and Litchfield Park and request to see copies of that "Public Information" you are ENTITLED to see! Let me know how that works out for you! You WONT be handed the information! Kinda odd isnt it? The newest issue now being thrust onto this community is the F-35. I will be the 1st to say I love the sounds of the jets. I am 40yrs old and have lived near this base for 38yrs. I have always been 1 of those people who refers to that loud rumbling as "The sounds of freedom". The problem with the F-35 is that nobody will be able to hear me utter those words. We are talking about an aircraft that is FOUR TIMES as loud as an F-16. It has already been chased away from 4 previous locations that also depend on the monies the presence of an air base brings. The short version is, what good is having a base that can bring money into my region if my home, business, realestate is rendered valueless because of the extreme volume and vibration this new jet would cause. Again, this is a NEW issue, not something people have been aware of for 40yrs. If this is deemed the best location to bring it, im actually fine with that. But im sure you would agree that if bringing it here causes my home to become uninhabitable, the military should make that right! Im NOT saying they should give me a million dollars but I AM saying the military needs to consider paying for either diminished value or relocation.

One item I need to correct. MANY communities have homes in areas that USE to be flood plains. The fact is that the region they are refering to in El Mirage is NO LONGER deemed a flood plain. You wouldnt be able to get flood insurance if it were and I quite clearly have flood insurance. All houses in El Mirage DO meet the "100year Flood" requirements. The request made of Maricopa County to assist in constructing additional flood protection was simply an attempt to add an additional measure of safety.

lujlp
lujlp

1. 3yrs is not 'long before'2. As it was not incorperated until the 50s it was not a town, but a collection of homes with no municiple government3. these flight patterns were locked in by the actions of other larger cites back in the 80's. Cities with poulations that made their complaint heard.4.This problem has benn known about since the 80's when the population was les than 5000. It now has a population of over 32000 according to the article. As the population has had access to this info for more than 30 yrs why does the military owe them anything?5. The article claims that homes were built in flood plains before flood control was in place - I dont know if that is true or not. But if it is why should the citizens of the towns surrounding El Miraige be held liable for the shortsitedness of El Mirage's political leadership and citizens. Why is it my job to pay for the clean up a mistake that you never should have allowed your leaders to make?6. And finally given the Base predated the town of El Mirage by 10yrs why should the feds, using my tax dollars have to give the town anything? They knew an Air Base was right there, they knew that development would be limited in some ways, all of this was know before they decided to found a town - why should everyone else be finacially liabel for the poor decisions of your towns founders and residents?

WHY?

Dvorah
Dvorah

Surely I'm not the only one with the opinion that big business such as those that "support" Surprise- tremendous chain businesses- are actually one of the reasons our economy is weaker, not stronger?

I lived in Coolidge, a very small town, for a while. The Wal-Mart and the prisons in Florence and Eloy were the three main job sites for the city. The downtown area had store after store with boarded-up windows... except for the bars.

I'm not a businessperson, but that doesn't seem right...

Big Bob
Big Bob

Strange that a leftist news rag like this would side with Walmart. Everyone knows that Walmart kills local economies. I guess they'll say anything to support their muddled agenda.

GRGnAZ
GRGnAZ

Clown, first of all.

This story is obviously not written by anyone from El mirage my 3rd generation American (American's not Mexican/American) parents settled in El Mirage in 1970 and they have stayed since and have supported Luke AFB. We have about 11 active military or veterans in our current family status so it is hard to agree with this weird story.

(Much less these comments about illegals taking benefits from the state, THE ONLY BENEFIT OFFERED IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA IS TO POLICE AGENCIES, who are fighting a drug war that they have ever in 40 years held the upper hand they will not be so lucky. is it that politicians do not really want to stop sending people to prison you decide the great free country we are that I served in the military to preserve the Constitution is the most imprisoned society on earth???, commenter points are all idiotic and moot, so get a life, or you can go or come try to kill brown people and get the death penalty to like your hero Mrs. Ford just did in Tucson)

Sorry NT not everyone in El Mirage is against LUKE the city itself is only 9.7 sq miles and unfortunately our leaders only want revenue from property tax or sales tax. Had they planed better they could have brought business. They do things like the following they just recently were paying a city manager 250k to run a less than 10 sq mile city so Mook can say what ever she wants fact is she was a council member when they were paying that clown, the city courts had been taken over by the State Supreme Court and the Police force had to be taken from the city as well, now this huge city just hired the DPS Assistant at an exorbitant amount of money to police 10 sq miles. So the problems are not that the sound of freedom makes us stop a converstaion it is so much more.

The true problem with this country is crappy reporters getting paid for sensationalism.We the working class have to work too hard to pay attention, most of the time, and you the media conglomeration pander more then report that is the sad commentary on our society.

Usgovfail
Usgovfail

I forgot to mention that it has been reported that not only are just "regular" illegals sneaking through our southern borders. When I say "regular" I mean as in the typical mexican national, el salvadoran or guatemalen, but also people entering illegally from known terrorist countries like adghanistan, iran, iraq, etc. The feds haven't enforced immigration laws or protected our borders in over a decade so I see no need for a new aircraft that will just sit and look pretty while costing TAXPAYERS billions of dollars. You think illegals help pay for the new f35? Hhahaha, yeah, sure.

Usgovfail
Usgovfail

I don't understand why we needed to get a new aircraft here in AZ, its not like the feds actually protect Az, or the entire SW, from invaders. We've got something like a few thousand illegal invaders that sneak through our desert every week and then when they get here they assault our tax base, some commit rape, murder and identity theft, they are here illegally yet they protest openly in our streets for rights that they do not deserve, and the feds don't bother to round up these criminals. So please tell me exactly why LAFB needed to get this fancy new jet. The airforce are incompetent anyway. When 9-11 happened they scrambled jets in the complete opposite direction of where the hijacked planes were. This country is in such a bad place right now. Government needs to be smaller and with less spending. If they would just enforce the current laws on the books, instead of constantly creating new laws, America wouldn't be in such deep poop.

Kput
Kput

Wow, guess we should all just pack up and move to Mexico then. Since we don't do anything right here anyways.

AstronautFarmer
AstronautFarmer

Excellent article Monica. No matter how dimly the light shines, that light under the bushel basket is called the truth -- even if it is drowned out by jet noise. The history of El Mirage is undeniable. When the first operational F-35 airwing arrives in 2016, residents will wonder what in the world has happened and what can be done about it. The answer is NOTHING. The Air Force knows this and the previous council and administration knew this. The time to make the greatest opposition has come and gone. The only option left will be residents banding together under the rubric of private party litigation. The current council has neither the sophistication nor education to appreciate the sense of political timing that would have been required to ensure the success of El Mirage. When two former councilmembers, a former Mayor and former City manager have sold their homes and left the city with the spectre of the F-35 looming, that should tell you that the die is cast. Tonight, the Air Force will have their lovefest with the El Mirage leadership that they bought and paid for - unfortunately in the end analysis, it will all come at the expense of a city that dared to dream.

Notasheeple
Notasheeple

You are so right. The current council and their handpicked administration now have no clue and by the time they figure out the last regime was right, it will be too late.

twain
twain

I see lovefest huh? Guess your not a real big supporter of the Air Force? But I guess your entitled to your opinon. But you know what they say about them........

Astronautfarmer
Astronautfarmer

No, actually I am a HUGE supporter of our military generally, and cutting edge weapons systems in particular (although the F-35's obsolescence is now an issue due to Joint Strike strategy and the Russians sharing upgrade software with third world loons with whom they have already shared SA-300 air defense hardware). In point of fact, if the F-35 and new age hardware turns most of the moslem world who cannot control their behavior into a large sheet of craters and glass, I consider it money well spent. I believe in getting along with those who are not committed to my religious conversion or destruction. However, it reveals a severe lack of analysis, logic and fact to assume that because someone opposes an idea or project on it's merits that the supposition opposing your ignorance is somehow unpatriotic or unamerican. I hope you don't possess a voter registration card - we will all be poorly served at the ballot box if your ability to decide on candidates and propositions follows the thinking you have already displayed.

 
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