The annual aerial show by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels — a San Francisco tradition dating back to 1981 that pumps millions into the local economy — is running into opposition from three local peace advocacy groups that are calling for a permanent halt to the popular Fleet Week flyover.
CodePink, Global Exchange and Veterans for Peace, Chapter 69, are working with Supervisor Chris Daly on a Board of Supervisors resolution to address concerns over the Blue Angels.
Daly acknowledged he is considering a call to halt the flyovers because, he said, “they seem dangerous and unnecessary.” Daly said he plans on introducing the resolution as early as Tuesday, but is still drafting the language. A resolution is not legally binding, but states a board position.
The Blue Angels, a team of navy fighter pilots, fly over San Francisco during Fleet Week, which this year is scheduled for Oct. 4 through Oct. 9. For four of the six days, the flashy blue- and yellow-striped planes soar through the skies over the northern waterfront at speeds reaching 700 miles per hour, and perform such maneuvers as vertical rolls. As part of the show, six planes group together in tight formation to perform deft maneuvers.
The Blue Angels have 35 air shows scheduled in 2007 in various U.S. locations. Last year, more than 15 million people watched the fighter pilots.
Veterans for Peace takes issue with the pro-military message and the recruiting efforts that come along with the annual visit as well as what it refers to as the “noise pollution.” The group calls the event a public safety risk, pointing to the April crash of a Blue Angels plane during an air show in Beaufort, S.C.
Just a slight miscalculation or a mechanical failure can cause a plane to “go barreling into the Golden Gate Bridge or a high-rise and cause a significant amount of damage,” said Paul Cox, a Vietnam veteran and member of the Veterans for Peace.
Edward Leonard, chairman of the San Francisco Fleet Week Committee, said that since the April plane crash, the Blue Angels are back flying and “we think it’s safe.” He added that the planes’ maneuvers require approval by the Federal Aviation Administration, the more challenging maneuvers are conducted over the Bay waters and that “commercial airlines fly over The City all the time.”
Fleet Week attracts about 1 million people to The City’s waterfront and sinks about $4 million into The City’s economy, according to Leonard. When the Blue Angels did not fly over San Francisco in 2004, attendance and revenue dropped by more than 50 percent, he said.
Leonard said Fleet Week comes with a variety of benefits, from boosting the local economy to providing people “a chance to say thanks for the people serving in the military now.”
CodePink has launched an online petition, signed by more than 500 people to date, calling on leaders to end the flyovers for reasons of public safety, air pollution and fuel waste.
Cox said the resolution would establish that city leaders and the public are not in support of having the Blue Angels.
“We can then take the next steps we have to legally stop them,” he said.
I'm sure most people don't know this, but the Blue Angels were "born" in my hometown. I grew up watching them fly over the St. John's River twice a year at air shows. Sometimes we would actually go on base, but usually, my family (along with a few friends) would take our boat out and watch from the water, and the fighter jets especially dazzled us. My brother, especially, as a kid loved the Blue Angels. I remember one year, one of the planes flew low enough that, when my brother and I, little kids, gave him a thumbs up cheering, we could see the pilot in it give us a thumbs up back. It made my day, but especially my brother's day. Watching those air shows, and specifically the Blue Angels, is what gave my brother his dream of being a pilot.
This is not new ground for San Francisco. They literally hate the military there (don't accuse them of that, no sir. They just LOVE our troops). The Navy pulled out of San Francisco, sending an amphibious assault ship [reader correction], the USS Makin Island, to San Diego instead. Some examples of anti-military bias in San Francisco? They killed a popular NJROTC program. It refused to let a retired battleship, the USS Iowa, dock. San Franciscans have notoriously held up signs advocating the fragging of officers in anti-military demonstrations. They've even thrown molotav cocktails at police officers in protest of the war. They banned military recruiting at public high schools and colleges (remember career day at school?). A San Francisco Board of Supervisors member went on Fox News saying that we should get rid of the United States military altogether, saying, "What good has it done us?" Michelle Malkin did an entire Vent giving details of these incidents and more.
Think back to when you were a kid, if you were lucky enough to see the Blue Angels fly. Think about the look on your children's faces when they were awed by their amazing stunts. Forget kids, the Blue Angels fill adults and kids alike with wonder and awe. I cannot possibly think of one negative thing about the Blue Angels putting on a show. Not one single thing. The Blue Angels pilots are people to be looked up to, revered, like all of our military servicemen and women.
Banning the Blue Angels. Only in moonbat-filled, liberal land, San Francisco would this fly. Oops, wrong choice of words.
Hat tip: Right Wing News
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more, including a look back at Seattle moonbats:
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which oversees preschool teacher training, curriculum standards, and daycare accreditation, "That's Not Fair! A Teacher's Guide to Activism with Young Children" is "an exciting and informative" resource for "developing community-building, deep thinking, and partnership.to change the world for the better."
On page 106 of the guide, co-author Ann Pelo details an activism project she initiated at a Seattle preschool after her students spotted a Blue Angels rehearsal overhead as they played in a local park. "Those are Navy airplanes," Pelo lectured the toddlers. "They're built for war, but right now, there is no war, so the pilots learn how to do fancy tricks in their planes." The kids returned to playing, but Pelo wouldn't let it rest. The next day she pushes the children to "communicate their feelings about the Blue Angels."
Pelo proudly describes her precociously politicized students' handiwork:
"They drew pictures of planes with Xs through them: 'This is a crossed-off bombing plane.' They drew bomb factories labeled: 'No.'
"Respect our words, Blue Angels. Respect kids' words. Don't kill people."
"If you blow up our city, we won't be happy about it. And our whole city will be destroyed. And if you blow up my favorite library, I won't be happy because there are some good books there that I haven't read yet."
Pelo reports that the children "poured out their strong feelings about the Blue Angels in their messages and seemed relieved and relaxed." But it's obvious this cathartic exercise was less for the children and more for the ax-grinding Pelo, who readily admits that she "didn't ask for parents' input about their letter-writing - she didn't genuinely want it. She felt passionately that they had done the right thing, and she wasn't interested in hearing otherwise."