Airport district board candidates have their say | SierraSun.com

Airport district board candidates have their say

David Bunker

The debate table was almost as crowded as the packed room at Tuesday night’s airport election forum sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association.Eight candidates are vying for three seats on the Truckee Tahoe Airport District Board of Directors. Of those eight, three are sponsored by the Truckee-based Community Airport Restoration Effort: Mary Hetherington, Kathleen Eagan and Paul Vatistas. Three are sponsored by the Friends of the Truckee Tahoe Airport: Board President Ken Foster, Adrian Howes and Joe Ferrara. The other two, incumbent Connie Stevens and Al Turner, are running independently. Here are some of the answers and statements that came out of Tuesday’s forum. •Ken Foster: “I will not support any projects that expand the operational capacity of the airport, but will always support the maintenance and upkeep of this valuable community asset.”•Mary Hetherington: “I am involved in running for the airport board because I want to give hope to the residents of this community that our voices will be heard”•Joe Ferrara: “This airport has provided a tremendous economic boom to our community.” … “Noise is the biggest impact on airports. That is the struggle”•Kathleen Eagan: “I want to use my skills in bringing people together to help tackle the challenge of creating an airport that benefits the region without sacrificing the character and quality of life in Truckee and the Martis Valley.”•Paul Vatistas: “I believe we need a strong and vital airport, but we also need an airport that matches the values of this community – and the board needs to provide that leadership.”•Al Turner: “My interests lie in maintaining the airport as a viable structure. There are problems. They need to be resolved, and I plan to help do that.”•Connie Stevens: “My vision for the airport district, if re-elected, include supporting formal scientific evidence and solutions to reasonable complaints and suggestions.”•Adrian Howes: “My first commitment is to preserve this airport as the wonderful general aviation facility that it is.” … “I think that the Master Plan was well thought out and carefully written and I don’t see that much there to argue with.”Here is what the candidates said in response to this question: It seems that jets are disproportionally responsible for complaint calls, how would you address the negative impacts caused by increasing jet traffic? (Note: Stage I and II jets are the noisiest of the four classes of jets. These two stages have already been outlawed on the commercial level. The Truckee Tahoe Airport is part of a group seeking a national ban on Stage I and II business jets.)•Joe Ferrara: “One thing I know the airport has already started, and I would continue as a boardmember, is phasing out the Stage I and II jet engines. Those are the loudest, those are the biggest, those are the most obnoxious. Those are the ones that are really hitting us.”•Kathleen Eagan: “What’s going to be absolutely critical is to work with outside experts to help devise way to encourage those that are flying into the Truckee Tahoe Airport to consider going to Reno Tahoe instead, to fly different flight patterns, and, or not to actually encourage more jet traffic than is already on its way”•Paul Vatistas: “The jets are an issue and we need to use every power of persuasion that we have within everybody at this airport and also to reach out to new resources to go beyond what the current board has been able to achieve.”•Al Turner: “Stage I, Stage II jet aircraft are the noisemakers. They’re aging in the inventory. Eventually they will be gone, what we need to do is speed up the process … start talking to your congressional representatives, state senators and get the FAA to get off the dime and start enforcing noise regulations.”•Connie Stevens: “Four years ago asked the board of directors, when I was originally elected, to consider a FAA part 150 study that has to do with noise …I feel it is very important to know what you don’t know, and that is going to the professionals for the scientific data.”•Adrian Howes: “It’s not the physical size of the aircraft. It is the age and the type of engine.” … “We need to continue working, there’s a lobby in Congress to try to phase out these engines and that work needs to continue.”•Ken Foster: “The current board of directors is a founding member of the group trying to eliminate Stage I and II business jets from our general aviation skies. I would certainly continue that, and work very hard. I would raise jet landing fees.” … “I would work with the Town of Truckee to include development conditions on every development that would eliminate the construction process to include Stage I and Stage II jets.”•Mary Hetherington: “The jets have definitely triggered a movement within the community.” … “I think what the board has been doing starting with the lobbying at the congressional level is good, but there is still much more.” Here is a selection of some of the most interesting comments made by the candidates during the two-hour event.• Al Turner: “If left to the other side of this pack, what you are going to see is this airport paved over with commercial or residential development.”• Connie Stevens: “What do you do about jet traffic? Keep it. Make it better.”• Paul Vatistas: “If community relations were so great there would not be six candidates up here running against the two incumbents.”• Kathleen Eagan: “I am a tireless problem-solver. There is no issue I will look at and say, ‘It can’t be done.'”• Adrian Howes: “The quieter jets are here. They are coming here, and there is no reason they should not.”•Joe Ferrara: “I will be out in the community. I will be listening to the members out there. I will be talking to pilots. I will be working with administration.”• Mary Hetherington: “I want this to be a thriving community airport that serves the region, but also maintains our quality of life.”• Ken Foster: “Pilot education is paramount.”