Election 2010: Truckee Tahoe Airport candidates make their pitch for two seats | SierraSun.com

Election 2010: Truckee Tahoe Airport candidates make their pitch for two seats

Matthew Renda
Sierra Sun

KINGS BEACH, Calif. and#8212; Six candidates are competing to represent the public on the Truckee Tahoe Airport District board of directors. Desmond Elder, John Jones, Katie Morrison and David Vaille participated in a candidate forum on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at the North Tahoe Events Center in Kings Beach. Bob Cohune and Ernest Alioto were not present.

The following is a look at some of the questions and answers featured during the forum:

Jones: There are great benefits. The purchase of Waddle Ranch is the first suggestion. The district also purchased the Ponderosa Golf Course and leases it to the recreation department for a dollar per year. If the district is run conservatively over the next 10-year period, it will have approximately $30 million to buy open space.

Morrison: Open space is important to all of us that live here. We want to keep it the jewel. The airport also provides important safety services, like fire prevention, helicopter search and rescue and Care Flight. Other things include the administrative buildings offer conference facilities. Even that deli is a popular community spot, where residents pop in and out and really enjoy that facility.

Vaille: Obviously, the airport supports hosting medi-flight, Bureau of Land Management search and rescue and facilities for the community, such as baseball and T-Ball. The district stepped up and helped the purchase of land impact on community. It’s obvious how much we do for the non-flying public. I want for that direction to continue.

Elder: It’s very obvious the airport facilitates Care Flight, search and rescue and#8212; which is vital to our rural community. Acquisition of open space, noise abatement, flight paths that soften noise and a safety barrier all benefit the public. Obviously future generations will enjoy open space. There are batting cages and meeting facilities which nonprofits utilize to no cost. Also, the airport brings business revenue to our community. People fly in and stay in resorts and utilize recreational activities.

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Morrison: We have come a long way to be viewed by the public as a good neighbor. We need to be perceived as a community asset; over the next four years, predictions indicate more airplanes, larger airplanes, with turbine or jet engines. It will be a challenge to keep the airport safe and quiet to continue the perception that the airport is a community asset.

Vaille: It will be a challenge to maintain safety and noise abatement with the increased activity. We will have to keep our finger on the pulse of the public. I want to represent you and understand the direction you want us to take.

Elder: Safety and noise abatement will have to be taken into consideration. However, this document (the airport district master plan) was created in 1998, which predates Internet technology. This document dictates board governance, it’s like a business plan. We need to update this document. The board has done a great job on significant issues and keeping the community in the forefront. However, we have to put this plan into play and set a vision for the next four years.

Jones: The biggest challenge is balancing the needs of our pilot and non-pilot community. Jet traffic is predicted to be 15 times greater and we need to anticipate that growth in traffic. We need to direct airplanes away from residential areas, buy up land and turn it into open space and balance the community residents that don’t want noise with pilots that enjoy the facilities.