Our View: More noise around airport
October 4, 2005
It has been almost a year since the Truckee Tahoe Airport District board of directors election and shots are finally being taken at the three new members.It’s not surprising, really, considering the tone of the race. Now the barrage of words concerns the three new members, who campaigned under the Community Airport Restoration Effort banner, and their questions surrounding Federal Aviation Administration grants and what “strings” are attached to that money.In a nutshell, if an airport takes federal funding then it can’t “discriminate” against particular type of users, like jets.So with recent questions and comments concerning FAA funding made by Kathleen Eagan, Mary Hetherington and Paul Vatistas, who ran on a platform of managing airport growth and promoting community involvement, many of the people who were pitted against CARE during the election are now saying, essentially, “Told you so.”The trio wants to cripple the airport, their opponents say, by refusing federal funds and through a host of other ways. (Check out the My Turn column on this page).While no one can predict what will happen in the future, the repeated promises by Hetherington, Vatistas and Eagan that they will support a viable airport appear sincere.What we do know, and we said this back in June when the five-person board decided to a conduct a survey of district residents to help create a new vision statement and business plan for the airport, was that the trio – supported by a grassroots group focused on lessening airport noise, managing airport growth and promoting community involvement – won their seats handily over several other “pro-airport” candidates.In other words, the majority of voters wanted Vatistas, Eagan and Hetherington to do exactly what they are doing: Ask questions and involve the community in airport matters.The board hasn’t made any decisions on the FAA funding, it hasn’t instigated litigation by a jet passenger or jet owner and it hasn’t squandered any taxpayer money – money, by the way, collected from more CARE voters than non-CARE voters.What is happening is that they are carrying out a mandate, something anyone who has won an election by a landslide does. So instead of hand-wringing about things that haven’t come to pass, perhaps the anti-CARE camp should start thinking about how it will fill the remaining two seats on the board in the next general election.