In their own words: Joe Ferrerra
[Editor’s note: This is a question-and-answer session with Truckee Tahoe Airport District candidate Joe Ferrerra. Please see next week’s Sierra Sun for interviews with other airport district candidates.]Would you support the construction of another runway as detailed in the Airport Master Plan, and why?I would if it is going to help with noise abatement. That is one of the plans with that new runway is that it is there for helping manage the noise. If it redirects traffic into areas that are going to be less intrusive to neighborhoods, that is a good thing. They are talking about how many takeoffs and landing by the glider planes, not necessarily the gliders but the plane that tows them. If that is one of the concerns and this is a solution, that is a great thing. If it is there for noise abatement. I am not there to put in a new runway to think that it is going to increase volumes. I mean the only way volumes are going to be increased is greater population. Would you support the construction of a de-icing facility, and why?Yeah. There is a significant piece of that, I think. One, safety. Two, we live in an environment that really warrants it. But here is the part about noise management. I talked with some of the people in jets and when they fly in they have to fly in, drop off, fly out. Well, then they come back. And I know because these are people that I have worked with. Then they have to fly back, fly in, pick up and fly out. So it is double the amount of landings for just the one service. And those people, they are members at Big Springs … Northstar, Squaw Valley. These are people that have flown in for business for the day and it turns into four pattern, four operations, instead of just two. So in essence it is going to lower some of the utilization. I don’t know how much more utilization will come because of it. Again, both sides of the story. I am not naive to think that more people might be flying in the winter, or might not be. The reality is that it probably will have an impact on some volumes going up. But I know that the jets that are already coming in the winter, that are dropping people off and landing. It’s going to lower that level Would you support the construction of a new terminal building, and why? I think the new terminal building is a stretch. I think if its for operations management, that would be you know right now there seems to be a temporary building for accounting. That doesn’t seem right to me. I wouldn’t create a terminal building because I don’t know if we need a terminal building. So would you support an expansion or refurbishing of the terminal building?I just think an expansion of that, in regard to office space. But a terminal building, you know it starts smelling like we are going to have a ticket booth, and that is going down the wrong trail.Do you believe that by improving facilities the airport will attract more usage and increased aircraft traffic?No, not at all. Again you are talking about a population that are flyers … The reality is increased population will increase traffic here, lower cost planes will increase traffic here. They will increase traffic everywhere. More traffic on highway 80 will increase traffic on trains and planes.What are the major goals that an airport district candidate can count on you working for if you are elected to the board?Number one noise management. When I read the book “Administrating Airports” one of the most interesting topics that just jumped out at me was that every airport’s number one challenge is noise. So if we are going to be the best, if I am going to help raise the bar in aeronautics and airport services, we are going to do things unique to managing noise here than at any other airport … Pilots are considerate people … Considerate means when they know that when they fly in a certain pattern over our neighborhood, they know it is disrupting people. All the ones that I’ve spoken with like to stay away from that because they know the concerns. So by meeting with these pilots and finding out what are all the alternatives there are some alternative. There are low-hanging apples out there. This alternative runway might be one. But the jet pilots do you realize the new technology in jets within the next three years there will not be any Stage II jets. One, the Stage II jets are too expensive to refurbish, to work on the engines. Two, there is a sound package, a noise package, to put on these jets to make them sound more like a whisper jet… So the reality is that economics are going to force these Stage I, Stage II jets out. They are too expensive, they guzzle gas … The reality is I am going to work real hard on talking with the people who own them to either get them to put the sound packages in or find out when they are going to sell them and help inspire them to sell them. Not just for Truckee but for aeronautics everywhere … I think this is where Truckee sets the pace. I think as a small town people want OT be known as a place where everything is five star. Besides noise?Partnership with the community. I want the community to have as much ownership in the Master Plan as the airport does. And I think that those are two very strong goals … and that is going to be communication, getting the community members involved, agencies involved. People are going to walk away from that Master Plan process and understand it better, understand what the strengths and the weaknesses are , and understand the benefits and the strengths of the airport. That would create ownership of it … The sense of community is that everybody works together. And in a small town like Truckee, or any town, you like to think that everybody works together. And it’s not this big hotbed of people throwing darts back and forth. If I had two goals noise management and ownership of a master plan and a business plan.What specific things would you do differently than the current airport board?One lady who voiced an opinion at the presentation the other night said it always felt that people were snickering when I came with a concern to the board. That can’t happen. Board members of all types need to be open, need to operate with absolute interest in community and always trying to make a difference, always trying to improve. That’s one thing that I will install in every board meeting. I also think every board meeting, if members have questions, I think we should document those questions and document an answer for them. And I think that helps build trust … If we are not a part of homeowners’ association meetings, that is wrong. We have to be a part. We are the agents of the airport district. We are the eyes, ears and vision of the airport for the time we are serving. So we need to be a part of the community. We need to be out there part of their meetings to answer their and hear their concerns. And we need to be, for lack of a better term, grassroots and go door-to-door…Do you believe that the Truckee Tahoe Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan should undergo an Environmental Impact Report or include mitigation in its environmental document?I don’t know what the impacts would be, and I don’t see the harm of doing it. One thing I do as a board member, and one thing I do with all my boards as I manage them, is be above-board, be above reproach. So when people have questions, people have concerns, we are there to say its all done in public. When things are not done in public, when things are trying to be disguised that’s where you run into problems. So I would be open to that. I would be open to researching that. Would you support noise monitoring outside of the airport property?It’s interesting, one of the other candidates said that when people call in [about noise or low flights] they don’t like the level of questioning that goes on. And what I found from the level of questioning was really trying to hone into the specifics of the call. “Was it directly over your house?” “How high did you feel it was over your house?” All of these things go into that. And I think noise monitoring, if it wasn’t too costly, does it have a great value? I guess if it added value to some decision making. My thought is boy, if we have people calling and there are concerns, it’s irrelevant how many people they are, it’s irrelevant what the concerns are, noise is there, how can we make it better? You can use the studies to do two things. One say, “Well, it wasn’t above 65 [decibels].” So it is kind of a quantitative piece. I would rather be paying attention to the mark which is trying to take care of our community. My intent is, if it is going to be extremely costly, what are really the features, advantages and benefits of doing it. I don’t want to do it to say, “this person’s complaints are irrelevant because the noise quality is above 65 [decibels]…Members of your group Friends of the Truckee Tahoe Airport and other candidates have suggested publicly that is a Community Airport Restoration slate was elected the airport could eventually close. Do you really believe that CARE wants to close the airport?…I think Kathleen Eagan has interest in trying to do the right thing. People that I know, that I have spoken with, who are significant CARE supporters have said things that I could not debate from the standpoint that they didn’t want to listen to anything other than what they knew and what was impacting their lives and where they lived. Right there in Prosser Heights or right there in Northstar. And so, with what they told me, those people want to see the airport go away. As far as the specific CARE candidates?… I think the CARE candidates, when they start making statements of saying no jets, we want to send the jets down to Reno. That is a major impactful situation on our community and our airport. I don’t think you want to send any target market down the hill. I think the end results of some of their persuasive policies will inherently create a very negative impact on the airport and quite possibly get it to a position where it is not financially viable, so therefor it would close. If their persuasive policy making is to send jets down the area, do things that are negatively impacting volumes, then the airport could very well become a dinosaur, not be a viable entity, and very well will close. So the results of their actions could very well close the airport. Their initial intent may not want to do that. Their actions very well will do it.Considering that five households have registered 354 of the 787 noise and low-flight complaints, do you believe the airport noise problem is being exaggerated?I’ll go right back to my initial statement … In fact I am even on record at a presentation say that it is irrelevant that five people have made 45 percent [of the complaints]. Do I think that the numbers are exaggerated because of that? Yes. But does that mean that there is less of a problem? No. Are jets appropriate for this small town airport in regard to the positive economic impacts and the negative noise impacts that they bring?Without a doubt, yes … This target market will not fly to Reno and drive up here. It’s 35 minutes from San Jose, San Carlos to fly up here and land in Truckee and go up to their home in Big Springs, Northstar, Lahontan, Tahoe Donner, wherever. They are not going to fly to Reno and drive another 40 minutes to get here. They are going to fly to Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and build their next home there. There are probably some who would make that drive.Yeah. It’s always a give and take. But I can tell you the ones that I have spoken with, it’s not worth their [time] … Show me 200 people who have traveled in on a train, which I would argue probably makes a lot more noise on a more consistent basis than any airport … and created the kind of economic impact that ten have that have flown in. Would you support revising the Master Plan before the trigger set by the airport board of 61,600 annual operations or jet traffic exceeding 25 percent of the total aircraft traffic?The Master Plan at 60,000, right now we are at 35,000 or 40,000 and it has been that pretty much for the last four or five years, it hasn’t really changed much. I am having a hard time understanding getting to 60,000 if the current volumes haven’t changed for the last four years. If in the last four years we have seen such incredible growth here by increased economic standards, meaning people coming in with more income than we have ever seen in Truckee from 1980 to 1995. The kind of economic level that’s coming in the last four years, yet we still haven’t seen a big increase in airport traffic. Just knowing those numbers and understanding those numbers, what is going to make it jump to 60,000? What’s out there in the environment that is going to make it jump to 60,000? Is it more charter planes? Is it more people that want to fly because the traffic on the freeway? … I don’t know. I don’t see anything in the Master Plan that’s going to say how do we turn these people away. Do we make runways much smaller? Do we start deterring? I don’t know how that Master Plan would change anything … I guess the way to minimize that is no more building … I don’t think the Master Plan has anything in it that we could change that would change that volume. More hangars are not going to change that volume. An ice hangar is not going to change that volume. That volume is based off of population growth. If we want to change that volume we better start looking at buying land from private land holders. Take a Siller Ranch or take an Old Greenwood. If we didn’t want to see growth out there somebody should have stepped up and bought that land. Private land is private land until somebody buys it up for open space.
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