Letter to the Editor: Vote Van Berkem, Hetherington and Wallace for airport board | SierraSun.com

Letter to the Editor: Vote Van Berkem, Hetherington and Wallace for airport board

Tom Van Berkem, Mary Hetherington and Lisa Wallace are all non-pilots who want to represent the community in making policies for our airport district. Each has selflessly dedicated uncountable hours to making our area a wonderful place to live.

I have had the absolute pleasure of working closely with the current Airport District Board president, Tom Van Berkem, for the past 4+ years on the Truckee Donner Land Trust board. He has a remarkable combination of business and social skills, staying calm and focusing on what’s important when issues get complicated. Tom drove the process to purchase a state of the art flight tracking system, enhancing safety and identifying better routes to minimize annoyance.

Mary Hetherington, also an incumbent, is a civil engineer who has the knowledge and good sense to ask tough questions. She championed a master plan for 4.5 million square feet of airport pavement, enhancing safety and reducing long term maintenance.

Lisa Wallace, Executive Director of Truckee River Watershed Council, has a remarkable track record for accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks to restore the Truckee River. I recently heard her speak about the issues facing the airport and was absolutely stunned by the depth and breadth of her knowledge of airport issues. She has a good analytical head, clearly does her homework and has a history of success through collaboration.

Van Berkem, Hetherington and Wallace, together with two pilots who are current Airport District board members, will be developing a 10-year plan that will impact all of us with issues such as emergency response, safety, noise and annoyance. As a community, we give the airport $4 million in taxes, so we should be well represented by folks who care about the big picture including community, non-aviation and youth use of the airport facilities. Reading the candidates’ statements in the Sierra Sun, you will see that Tom, Mary and Lisa focus on the issues and not on bad-mouthing others. That should be a big clue in how future board meetings will unfold.

Janet Zipser Zipkin


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