September 7, 2010
Record-Courier readers have now been informed by Jim Herd and Terry Burnes that both have dropped out of the con side of the debate on the proposed airport ordinance that will appear on the November ballot. This debate will take place tonight at the CVIC hall and will offer voters an opportunity to learn about the ballot issue. For those interested, the debate starts at 6 p.m.
Jim and Terry are leaving the debate with less than a week to replace them because they claim a PowerPoint presentation prepared by the county manager’s office unfairly biases the evening’s deliberations. I disagree. I think the PowerPoint presentation gives voters an understanding of the issue so they can better evaluate the presentations by the debaters. More importantly, for Jim and Terry to drop out this late unfairly burdens the remaining con debater (Jack van Dien) and robs voters of a thorough debate on the merits of the issue.
More revealing than their criticism of the process, though, is the fact that neither Jim nor Terry addressed the substance of their opposition to the ballot question. What better place to convince voters of the strength of their argument than their letters withdrawing from the debate? Their refusal to tell readers what they consider wrong with the proposed ordinance implies strongly that they are not withdrawing because of the debate format but rather because they recognize the weakness of their position.
Readers should know that the proposed airport ordinance is not the work of special interest groups such as the Business Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the casino industry or real estate developers. Its development was initiated in 2008 by me and others within the Carson Valley Vanguard Coalition organization (a citizen airport watchdog group) with the intent of asking county government to put it on the 2008 ballot.
We crafted our draft of this proposed ordinance because our current airport weight ordinance is ineffective, unenforceable, lacks any penalties for violation and is discriminatory (according to the FAA) because it lacks any scientific basis for its weight limits. The FAA has now cut off grant funding for airport maintenance because of this discriminatory effect. If continued, this cutoff will cost county taxpayers millions of dollars to maintain the airport on our own. It was apparent then and quite obvious now that a viable replacement ordinance was needed – one that would create voters’ veto power over public funding for unwanted airport expansion. If passed, this proposed ordinance will go a long way towards advancing citizen control over the airport.
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The Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee, which I have long co-chaired, also supports this measure to assist in maintaining Minden airport as an integral part of our rural character.
I urge you to vote “yes” in favor of this airport use ordinance.
John H. Garvin
Co-chair of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee
Member of the Carson Valley Vanguard Coalition