But there are Guard members speaking out about it; that isn't fictional. He might disagree with the narrative, but it definitely might be a reason to fire people, a reason to fire him that is, if it is true.
He's had previous issues too, including trying the spy plane incident in October. His comment about "his planes" comes across as controlling. And unless service members are just making up stuff about an F15 being placed on standby, then there is something going on. If they just explained what that something is, then it would be fine, but they appear to be cagey about the whole thing. Just based on their outward behavior, I'd be more likely to trust Jones than Baldwin.
Baldwin comes across as dodging having to make any real assertions about facts. He makes a half baked response that a 5 year old with stolen cookie crumbs around their mouth might be proud of, but certainly not a full grown adult leading a state National Guard.
Also note that the Wing Commander at the F-15 wing denied in January that the airplane was put on alert. It therefore seems that the LA Times learned about this incident three months ago ... so why would firings happen now? Note that this reporter is the same reporter that wrote the 2019 story about the incident at the F-15 wing that got the previous two-star fired. I'd bet that some people in the F-15 wing have a relationship with this reporter and leaked the F-15 story months ago, but there was not enough for the paper to publish the story. The firings gave the F-15 "incident" a second life.
The most likely explanation is that something related to an enlisted member was mis-handled at State Headquarters. It could have been some complaint about harassment (or worse). I doubt it was money -- the California Guard has had several stinging money incidents in recent years, and they have never been shy about disclosing the details.
The last paragraph is where the salt is, imo:
In October, Newsom’s office denounced the Guard’s decision to send a military spy plane to suburban El Dorado Hills, where Baldwin lived, to help civilian authorities monitor demonstrations over the Floyd killing. Baldwin said the fact that he resided in El Dorado Hills, where the protests were small and peaceful, had nothing to do with the deployment of the RC-26B reconnaissance plane.
To me a bigger concern, when police gets military grade tech, as there is much less transparency in how it is being used.
I was doing you a favor, you do with that info what you will.
The baseline cost of a military at the ready is massive, whether you use it or not.
What often happens is someone with an axe to grind grabs a portion of this baseline cost and assigns it to whatever it is they are hyperventilating about.
In reality, taxpayers were going to spend that money anyway. It's a false equivalency; it would not have cost $0 to keep that plane on the ground. If they claim this to be the case they are lying.
Simpler terms: You own a trucking company. It costs nearly the same to have a truck parked and ready to roll at a moments' notice. The tank has to be full (or you have to have the money to fill it up when needed), you have to pay the loan, insurance, have an office, receptionist, computers, customer service people, order takes, drivers, mechanics, etc. All at the ready in order for that truck to roll. You would have had to spend and allocate the money whether it rolled or not. If it rolls, then there are some marginal costs that come into play, of course. Not much different with a fighter plane in a hangar.
As to the legal matter, that's a different story and one I am not qualified to comment on.
While the fixed costs of any aircraft are significant, flight time is a definite extra cost. Apart from the obvious cost of the kerosene the aircraft will accrue flight time and fatigue. Every component has a flight time clock, which dictates when it must be serviced and replaced. F-15C are very expensive to operate, $40k per hour would be quite possible.
Let me forestall arguments about incidental training. For training to count towards maintaining readiness it must be carefully designed and supervised. No training benefit would have eventuated.
If the money 'would have been spent anyway' then it would have been spent for a correctly determined purpose, such as training. Diversion to other purposes is not free.
Quite to the contrary. It is more informed and accurate than you might think. I am not one of those people who posts comments without having any context or knowledge in the matter at hand. If I don't know something with a good degree of certainty I don't participate in the conversation just to add ignorant noise.
At the simplest possible level of abstraction, a military base is allocated X dollars per year to function. This money is spent. Period. Fly or don't. That's the cost. They don't pull out credit card every time they need to fly a plane or drive a truck.
If someone wants to claim that this flight cost taxpayers ADDITIONAL money they need to prove there was a requisition as a result of that flight and show costs incurred over and above the baseline. They can't, because the entire cost attribution is 100% fake. In some cases they are pulling numbers out of the anus, just making stuff up. How?
Politician: "General, how much does it cost to fly that plane per hour?".
Politician: "This incident cost taxpayers $100K!"
No, it did not. That money was allocated and spent already. The operational cost the general quoted is the baseline, fly or not.
You have air bases with thousands of people, thousands of pieces of equipment, systems, hardware, etc. The baseline cost is massive. One flight here and there is truly a rounding error. Base Operations Support, as a budget line item, is in the tens of billions of dollars per year. Look it up.
Here, start with this. Try to find a $100K flight in there.
Uninformed and inaccurate? Please.
Flying time and jet fuel is specifically a cost that is monitored across the Air Force to make sure it is not wasted. Diversion to crap like this is part of the USAF pilot retention problem.
Good to see you’re being reasonable.
People are routinely convicted or given poor discharges because of much smaller thefts, like inaccurately claiming living allowance. Using NG combat aircraft for distinctly political purposes is far worse than theft.
Using the military for partisan political purposes, specifically surveillance and intimidation of political demonstrations.
As for your “worse than theft” comment:
“By your logic I could steal $10k from your bank account”
That’s you, equating this issue, with theft.
Unfortunately in 2002 it was the second largest, at just under a million subscribers, and is now down to 600K in 2019, and is $50 million in the red.
So whatever its former glories may have been, that does not mean its business model is working -- it's clearly not working, and its digital strategy has been one of the worst sources of dissapointment with only 250K digital subscribers in 2020. So when someone criticizes the business model by pointing out that it's unlikely that people will pay for a digital subscription to the LA Times, and this is reflected in fantastically, embarassingly, shockingly low digital subscription rates compared to what you believe the LA Times peers to be, then that suggests that either the LA times is not in the same peer group, or its digital offerings are uniquely unappealing, or both. In either case, throwing up a paywall doesn't seem to be working.
 See this hacker news thread about how dissapointing their digital numbers were: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20576544
I'm probably not going to subscribe to more than one general paper, because they probably have 90% overlap in coverage meaning even the second subscription is drastically less valuable than the first. There is no way I'm making it to 5.
Realistically I can get 85% percent of that news without subscribing to any meaning even one subscription is a stretch and there is no way I'm doing more than that. In the event that there is one article every three months that is LAT specific that I just cannot go without reading, I'll find some way to breach the paywall in that instance.
For the record, I'm not claiming NYT or WAPO are better papers than the times. In fact I hate the NYT and have more or less no opinion of the LAT.
Whichever one catches your fancy? We don’t all need to subscribe to every newspaper. Does everyone buy each brand of shaving cream?
On second thought, we can in fact do both simultaneously by shifting the responsibility for supporting good journalism onto our favorite other, such as "the government", "the rich", "regulators", "we as a society", etc.
I am personally completely satisfied paying for publications as long as I read at least one article per issue. In fact, due to time constraints, one article per issue has become something of an objective.
I'm also skeptical that this is a sustainable business model although I hope I am wrong.