Council Waits to Take a Position on draft EIS/F-35s

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Thursday May 17, 2012

Although most of the City Council members were planning to attend the draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) public hearing directly following their regular session and public hearing on Monday, May 14, the Council still had the topic slated on their agenda. This item became a major point of discussion. The conversation primarily involved the procedure for developing a possible position regarding the draft EIS. According to City Manager Sandy Miller, one of the considerations is whether or not they would have enough time to draft a position between their May 21st meeting and the June 1st deadline. According to Miller, if they decide to take a position they could then proceed with a couple of steps. First, “ask staff to compile a statement based upon what the counselor’s intentions were” and secondly, “hold a special meeting to what that was.” “If we’re not going to develop a position, it’s mute” he said. The main purpose of Monday’s discussion was to lay out procedures in advance to determine what information they would need in order to get to the point of taking a position, should they decide to do so.

In Councilor Sandra Dooley’s view, “we wouldn’t necessarily have to take a position. We could say something about if the F-35’s were based here; we think there should be a responsibility on the part of the Department of Defense to provide resources around sound litigation.” “Whether or not they are based here,” Sandy Miller amended.  Vice Chair Helen Riehle added that she believes the, “city should take a position. We owe it to our constituents even if it’s only considering dollars for sound litigation.”

Chair Rosanne Greco said she believes, “it is their [the Council’s] responsibility to take a position because of the impact it has on the neighborhood and what the impact may be in the future.”

When the item was opened to the public for comment, one community member held up two large binders holding the draft EIS and recommended that everyone read them thoroughly, “The devil’s in the details,” he said.

While the majority of the Council concluded that they should take a position, they decided to wait and resume the discussion of whether or not they would,  based upon information gleaned at the public hearing which was held later the same night. The deliberations will continue at the Council’s meeting on Tuesday, May 15th.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent