Beale rally at Capitol
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now has his very own "Save Beale" cap, courtesy of Sen. Sam Aanestad.
Aanestad and Beale Air Force Base supporters also delivered 30,000 letters Thursday to the Governor's Office in a show of support for the Yuba County base.
"Certainly, we feel the governor has direct access or input to the people who make the decision," said Aanestad, R-Grass Valley. "This is one more attempt to remind him that Beale Air Force Base is just north of us, it's the closest one around, it's what we have left for the north state and it's vitally important to the Sacramento area."
The Sutter County Republican Women Federated and the Disabled American Veterans Marysville Chapter 9 also submitted their own resolutions supporting the base.
The Pentagon is preparing its list of recommendations to close bases or shift missions. The list may be released next Friday.
"This is pretty impressive, isn't it?" said Yuba County Supervisor Hal Stocker as he gazed at a wheelbarrow full of letters.
"The value of this particular facility to the state of California, to this region, cannot be overstated," said Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico.
Keene, Aanestad and Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, sent their own letter to the governor supporting Beale.
"It's important that we have these kind of facilities in California and they also be in rural areas like my district," Keene said. "You can't put facilities like this in urban areas."
LaMalfa said Northern California "has really absorbed a disproportionate share of base closures with the closings of Mather and
McClellan and the Sacramento Army Depot. To further inflict that on Northern California would be wrong."
Losing Beale "would be very devastating to the north state because of our economic needs and, I think, strategically for our nation's defense," he said.
Beale, which covers 23,000 acres, "could take the missions of two or three other Air Force bases and incorporate it within the geography of the present Beale Air Force Base and still have room to grow after that. We think it has a unique mission," Aanestad said.
He said Beale has too many positives to be closed.
"Its size, the fact that housing and cost of living in that area are still reasonable compared to other places in the western United States, we don't see how they can make any other decision," the senator said.
Beale backers are "optimistic and have a lot of hope, but we're not leaving it just to optimism and hope," Aanestad said. "We're trying to convey to the governor and his committee and also to the people in Washington that the people of Northern California, the north state, think that not only is Beale unique in its mission for America, but it's also just as vital to the economy of the north state."
LaMalfa noted that Thursday was National Prayer Day.
"There is a higher authority we can appeal to on this issue," he said.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Harold Kruger can be reached at 749-4717. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.