Real pilot backs ordinance
I don’t have an imaginary pilot friend as does Jack Van Dien with his “Bo the Builder.” I’m a real pilot (glider and small power plane) who cares about our valley and our airport. So this will be simple, straight talk about county Question 1, the airport use initiative. With so much confusion on a simple issue, who’s right?
First, the situation as it is now. We have an old voter approved airport weight ordinance on the books that has never been enforced. Why? The district attorney, our county grand jury, and the FAA all agree it is “bad law,” unsupported by fact, and discriminatory. If the county tried to enforce this bad law, they (really us, as it’s our money) would be sued – and lose.
In this case bad law is far worse than no law at all. The FAA says if we don’t fix the old ordinance, we’ll get no more money for airport maintenance. Our tax dollars they’ve collected will instead be given to other airports. Remember, airports are maintained using aircraft fuel and seat taxes collected from across the U.S., just like our Nevada highways are maintained with gasoline taxes collected by the feds and then returned to us. Why on earth would we refuse to accept our money back? A Yes vote on County Question 1 gets us our money back, and keeps the airport as a moneymaker for our County rather than becoming a liability and drain on our tax base.
Hold on. What about the old weight ordinance keeping jets away? Nope, since it’s unenforceable, it doesn’t do a thing to keep jets away. It’s “jet neutral” – like having no law at all. OK, so if the old law doesn’t work, why don’t we have a swarm of jets already?
Look around, our Valley is mostly ranches, retirees, and bedroom community. You can count “huge corporations,” the type that might have a big business jet, on two fingers … and those are not “corporate headquarters” where a jet might be based. I’m saying there is absolutely no need basis or market to warrant or support a jet center here – none. Proof? Look at Pinon Aero. No, not their pie-in-the-sky Web site, instead take a drive out Heybourne road. See for yourself the almost 90 acres of sagebrush they’ve been leasing for the past dozen years. There’s a rundown construction trailer and a few scruffy jackrabbits, that’s it. Not even enough to call a ghost town. No market, no demand, not happening.
Our airport is rural and a center for soaring and small aircraft. Your “Yes on County Question 1” will keep it rural, help grow soaring tourism, save our tax dollars, and maintain voter control over your airport.
Yes on County Question 1 is supported by the Minden Airport Association, CVVC, SGI, all but one airport business, and lots of businesses in Minden and Gardnerville that benefit from visitors to our airport.