Project: Reader Reaction: Case made; Cannon future not clear

A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked:
“Will Cannon Air Force Base supporters convince BRAC commissioners to spare the base?” Some responses:

“ALTHOUGH THE SPEECHES BY the supporters were excellent, I believe the government has (one way or the other) already made up its mind on the issue. Listening to the speeches, I felt really optimistic about the chances. However, when one of the commissioners said something about Cannon being “one of the best” but there are other bases also “one of the best,” my optimism began to slide. My family moved to Cannon when I was 5 and now I work at Ranchvale Elementary where the majority of the students are military children. I love my job, working with the children and the parents from the base, so I pray that Cannon will be spared closure.”

— Lynn Davis

“I AM OF THE OPINION that there is an even or somewhat-better chance that Cannon will be removed from the closure list. All presenters by pro-Cannon delegates did well, but the outstanding argument was delivered by Randy Harris. If Cannon stays, it was Harris’ factual, logical and persuasive address that delivered the knockout punch to the opposition.”

— Harold Burris, Clovis

“I THINK EVERYONE WHO made a presentation before the BRAC committee did an excellent job. Also the support of our community was overwhelming. In spite of all the effort and consolidation of a community, my feelings are that it is all futile. With the present administration and all the mistakes that have been made, the president has yet to admit a single wrong. How then can we expect him to have a change of heart and use his influence to have BRAC to change the recommendation?”

— Mac McDonald

“THE PRESENTATION TO THE BRAC commissioners by our Committee of Fifty, particularly as delivered by Randy Harris and Chad Lydick, was researched, prepared, and presented with such excellence that there isn’t anything more that could possibly have been said. We now know that commissioners themselves have a very good basis for keeping Cannon. We have always said that we believe in Clovis, and I am sure they were impressed with the whole town’s efforts. The level of excellence displayed at Friday morning’s presentation proves that we are a community unique among small towns, especially when it comes to our support of America’s military. We really do care, and we really work to make a difference. Our chances of keeping Cannon have improved dramatically! Bravo! Way to go Clovis!”

— Carolyn Spence

“I WENT TO THE HEARING and felt positive after hearing all the wonderful speakers for Cannon and Clovis. I wasn’t sure the show of force and the hearing would help, but my hopes rose as I saw the people of Clovis, Portales and the surrounding areas lining the streets to show how much we care for the base and its people. I commend everyone for all their hard work in saving Cannon. There were numerous errors in the Department of Defense report, so hopefully the BRAC commissioners will go back and tell the DoD the base doesn’t meet the criteria for closure. Now it is time to pray for God’s help in keeping Cannon open. We have done what we could to help keep it open, so let us pray that the BRAC commissioners hear our heartfelt need for the base to stay open.”

— Ardyth Elms

“I AM ANSWERING THIS question as a retired member of the United States Air Force. It was good to see Gov. Richardson, U.S. Sens. Domenici and Bingaman along with U.S. Reps. Udall and Wilson and retired Brig. Gen. Hanson Scott on the stage fighting for Cannon. The people that had the most impact I believe were Randy Harris and Chad Lydick. The compassion in their voices while going over the presentation made you want to hear what they had to say. It raised a lot of questions that the Pentagon and the Air Force will have to answer. If I were a member of the BRAC Commission, they would have convinced me that someone has the wrong numbers and would place serious doubt on what is coming out of Washington. Did they convince the BRAC commissioners? On Sept. 8 we will find out.
“As a side note, Harris has coined a new phrase: ‘It just doesn’t make sense to me.’”

— Charles Hemphill

“If THE HEARING (ON FRIDAY) doesn’t convince the BRAC Commission, nothing will. It was very well organized and Randy Harris and Chad Lydick did their homework. A-plus.”

— Mearl Thomas

“IF THE BRAC COMMISSIONERS were to make an objective analysis of the facts and figures presented, the base would not close. However, I think they’ll just succumb to politics and tow the party line. None of them would have been selected to sit on the panel if they actually had the ability to think on their own.”

— Richard Lopes

“WHILE I THOUGHT THE (Cannon supporters) made some important points, many of the points were based on opinion and feelings and not based in solid fact. And if the base’s answers to the BRAC questionnaire were in error, this is not the DOD’s fault. (I make reference here to the number of flying hours of 12 versus 24/7 and the number of active runways.) The community impact, while grossly underestimated by the government, doesn’t have enough weight in the scheme of things, to reverse the decision. I really don’t think the committee will be able to justify removing Cannon AFB from the list. The ripple affect in the long-term plans is just too severe. I sincerely wish it could be otherwise (and will be delighted if it becomes so).”

— Bob Baker

“FROM THE CITIZENS’ LINING of Prince Street and Commerce Way through the delegates’ presentations at Marshall to the pep rally, I spent most of the time with tears in my eyes and was glad that I was wearing sunglasses. The commitment of the public and the knowledgeable and passionate presentations by our delegates were very powerful and moving.

“My family arrived in Clovis in 1973. I was commandant of the noncommissioned officers leadership school from 1973 to 1978 and wing senior enlisted advisor in 1978 and 1979. My second career has been in education; I have taught at Clovis Community College and Clovis High School, and am presently a full-time instructor in education foundations at Eastern New Mexico University. My wife retired at Cannon … The cases for Cannon’s military value and the adverse economical impact were eloquently stated; we could win this one!”

— Bill Gaedke

THE ODDS OF GETTING Cannon off the BRAC list are against us. Like Powerball, you can’t win if you don’t play. Harris and Lydick did an outstanding job. The data and their presentation was the best that could have been done. They made the paid professionals/politicians look like amateurs. This household thanks them. Win or lose it was an outstanding effort. Can’t say it enough — good job!”

— Auggie Jones

“This isn’t a yes or no answer at this time. We’ve improved the chances tremendously so far. I thought the communities did an awesome job showing their support on BRAC Friday. It was very impressive. I also thought the hearing presentation was professional and informative. The commissioners appeared to listen intently with interest and were impressed themselves by their own admission. I applaud the efforts of everyone involved. It’s still an uphill battle and we should continue contacting the Commission showing our support.

“Our community and state leaders have done a wonderful job in the short period of time they had to prepare for the hearing and they will have more information to provide the Commission as more Department of Defense information is provided. Let’s keep it up and have faith.”

— Steve Deleon