Airport Commission Appointees – Media Release 9/8/21


Wednesday, September 8
​​From: Safe Skies Clean Water Coalition
Allies for Black Lives—Madison

Parisi reappoints Airport Commissioner​ ​
despite racist comment at April meeting

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is appointing two members to the Dane County Airport Commission, Perry Armstrong, a title company CEO from Mount Horeb, as well as Jeremy Levin,​ ​a county supervisor representing District 10 on Madison’s near west side. The appointments​ ​need to be confirmed by the County Board, which meets this Thursday evening, September 9.
The Airport Commission, an advisory body composed of five County Board members and four​ ​citizens, has expressed solid support for the basing of F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field. This,​ ​despite the Air Force’s own conclusion in its Environmental Impact Statement that the F-35 jets​ ​would cause 2,766 people to live in areas “incompatible with residential use.” The Air Force​ ​also admitted the project would have disproportionate impacts on low-income, families of color​ ​and children living adjacent to the airbase.
At an Airport Commission meeting this past April 14, Armstrong commented, in what he​ ​characterized as “just a little editorial on my part”: “As a responsible parent, you know if these​ ​noise issues are really that significant, and they may be, then how as a responsible parent could​ ​you choose to reside in that neighborhood and subject your children to those problems?”
During the April meeting, Diane Morris, a resident of the Eken Park neighborhood and a Safe​ ​Skies Clean Water member, told the commissioners that “noise pollution is not an irritation, it is​ ​cruel harassment.” She went on to explain: “I live with a daughter with Down Syndrome. When​ ​the F-16s fly over, she is in near tears.”
Tom Berman, a small businessman who has lived next door to the airport for 37 years, called​ ​Armstrong’s comments “despicable.” He said that “Armstrong cannot understand or represent​ ​the working class people of this area.”
Steve Klafka, an environmental engineer and Safe Skies leader, commented on hearing about​ ​Parisi’s appointments: “If the County Executive, landlord for the airport, refuses to take any​ ​responsibility for the PFAS contamination of our water or the noise and air pollution that will be​ ​generated by the F-35s, he might at least find someone to sit on the Airport Commission that​ ​has a little sensitivity and common sense.”
Former County Supervisor Paul Rusk, who died suddenly in October, 2020, represented the​ ​neighborhoods around the airport and served on the Airport Commission. Rusk opposed the F-35 project.
The Dane County Executive Committee will meet at 5:30 pm on Thursday and the full County​ ​Board will meet at 7 pm.