Angels will keep flying in S.F.

A resolution to ground the Blue Angels from flying during next week’s Fleet Week crashed and burned Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors voted down the resolution 7-3, months after Supervisor Chris Daly began his effort to make it the board’s position that the fighter jets should be banned.

For four days during Fleet Week, the legendary blue and yellow-striped planes soar through the skies over The City’s northern waterfront at speeds reaching 700 miles per hour and perform such maneuvers as vertical rolls. The noise can start dogs howling and can even set off the occasional car alarm.

Daly introduced the idea in June, after a Blue Angels fighter plane crashed during an April show in Beaufort, S.C., killing the pilot and injuring eight people on the ground. The attempt to stop the U.S. Navy fighter pilots garnered national attention and a mixed reaction from veterans, anti-war and pro-war activists, city residents who hate the noise and those who have never missed a show.

“What I got to thinking was, ‘What if this crash happened into a heavily populated area of San Francisco?’” Daly said Tuesday. “This is a risk I don’t think we have to be taking. There’s no vital function that’s performed. It’s strictly entertainment and I think it’s dangerous.”

Supervisors Tom Ammiano, Daly and Ross Mirkarimi voted in favor of the ban, while all other supervisors present, including newly appointed interim Supervisor Carmen Chu, voted against the measure.

Board President Aaron Peskin said he voted against the grounding because the aircraft display is a main attraction during Fleet Week and brings increased revenues to area merchants.

“While the noise is deafening and scares my cat … the economic impact for the district I represent is very significant,” said Peskin, whose district includes Chinatown, North Beach and Russian Hill.

Fleet Week 2007 will run Oct. 4-9. In previous years, it has sunk an additional $4 million into the local economy. In 2004, when the Blue Angels did not perform, that revenue was cut in half, according to Fleet Week Committee, a local nonprofit.

The Blue Angels have 35 shows scheduled across the country for 2007, and last year more than 15 million people turned out to catch the aerial acrobatics.

How they voted

A resolution to ground the Blue Angels during Fleet Week was defeated, with seven supervisors supporting the annual air show.

McGoldrick, Dist. 1 – ABSENT

Alioto-Pier, Dist. 2 – NO

Peskin, Dist. 3 – NO

Chu, Dist. 4 – NO

Mirkarimi, Dist. 5 – YES

Daly, Dist. 6 – YES

Elsbernd, Dist. 7 – NO

Dufty, Dist. 8 – NO

Ammiano, Dist. 9 – YES

Maxwell, Dist. 10 – NO

Sandoval, Dist. 11 – NO

dsmith@examiner.com

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