Your recent editorial on the keeping the 180th Fighter Wing flying over Toledo was timely and informative. However, I can offer yet another reason why it should still pass muster despite the current round of base closings.
In 1997, I had a conversation with a pilot of the 180th who told me that our squadron often carried out DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) against Canadian Air Force F-18s over Lake Erie.
Given the cost of operating modern fighter aircraft (which runs into thousands of dollars per flight hour), this training is particularly cost-effective, as it is the Canadians who pick up the tab for the "aggressor" side in these exercises.
Moreover, the Canadians benefit similarly from these exercises, which represent an excellent example of defense burden-sharing among allies.
For this reason, the choice should not be one of either the Michigan ANG squadron at Selfridge or our own. Both squadrons are in a position to take advantage of this training opportunity with our Canadian neighbors, while other Air National Guard squadrons that are based deeper within the interior of the U.S. are not so blessed.
This set of circumstances should give the residents of northwest Ohio additional grounds for confidence that the 180th will be flying proudly over our skies for years to come.
Statements made by former Toledo mayor Carty Finkbeiner in the Jan. 11 article, "Ford halts transfer of high-tech clean site," require some clearing up to avoid confusion on the part of readers.
First, Mr. Finkbeiner stated that it "is the job of a mayor and a city council and its economic development agencies, as well as the state to spawn new enterprises." A quick review of the Toledo Municipal Code indicates no such duty among those listed. In fact, after ensuring the peace, the primary duty of Toledo's mayor is to "supervise the administration of the affairs of the City." Putting taxpayer funds at risk by investing in private sector startups should hardly be the first order of business for an elected official.
Second, Mr. Finkbeiner cites Buckeye Institute research showing Toledo's jump in high technology jobs from 1999-2001. Considering that the rest of Ohio's urban areas - and the state as a whole - have made significant tech investments in recent years only to see jobs in that sector erode, Toledo's numbers prove to be the exception to the rule and as such do not substantiate the argument that public investments typically pay off. Regardless, it is unlikely that the tech sector employment figures are the result of pursuing boondoggles such as the clean room in question.
Current mayor Jack Ford recognizes that it is the taxpayers who are left to pick up the tab for politicians aspiring to be entrepreneurs. He should be commended for moving to release the citizens of Toledo from the burden of continued payments on a facility that is likely to be obsolete in only a few years.
The Buckeye Institute
It's 2008, and George W. Bush, by acclamation, accepts the presidency. Of Iraq.
And Hillary Clinton, being uniquely suited for the job, is elected president. Of France.
EDWIN F. DURIVAGE
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