Hard position to defend
Mr. Burnes’ letter of Friday related to the airport ordinance, whereby he dropped out of the “con” debate team, is sad but to be expected. Trying to defend an unreasoned position is difficult and obviously frustrating.
The issue at hand is not that complicated. A 1984 airport weight ordinance, as amended in 1992, was designed to control and direct growth at the airport towards community uses and away from commercial aircraft. Despite its intent, it has been deemed both unenforceable by our district attorney’s office and discriminatory by the FAA, with the resultant recent withholding of federal funds which, if continued, will amount to millions of dollars over the next five years. This puts an otherwise self-supporting airport at risk and exposes the county to millions of dollars of maintenance and repair expenses, i.e. tax dollars that could be used elsewhere.
The new ordinance, that will appear on the ballot this November, was drafted by members of a group not known as being overtly airport friendly, the Carson Valley Vanguard Coalition, in conjunction with input by the county, and has been deemed both enforceable by our district attorney’s office and acceptable to the FAA.
In addition to having the approval of the CVVC board, it is supported by the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee, another group not particularly known as being oriented towards any airport expansion or increased jet usage. So to argue that this new ordinance does not set important limits to airport expansion and usage and that it is being promoted by a conspiracy led by the business community is disingenuous at best. Essentially the new ordinance fixes the 1992 ordinance and adds additional constraints on the airport.
Mr. Burnes’ argument that the 2008 Airport Master Plan was based upon yet another conspiracy against the citizens of our community is particularly galling to me. I sat on the Airport Master Plan Commission and heard and witnessed hours of citizens’ questions and yes a few irate and emotion-based concerns. Rational arguments supporting it were in the majority and won the day. The master plan is required as part of airport funding by the FAA. It was and is acceptable to them. The new airport use ordinance, if passed by the voters, falls well within the range of the Airport Master Plan’s long term objectives. Further, to claim that a plan and ordinance that saves the citizens millions of tax dollars is a conspiracy against those same citizens is completely unreasonable and irrational.
So how does one argue against the ludicrous claim that this ordinance supports airport growth and increased jet traffic? Now one begins to see the untenable nature of the opposition’s viewpoint. Due to the awkwardness and conflicting position that the “con” group has to defend, one could expect that along with “leaving the playing field” and more conspiracy theories, that name calling will be next in their line of opposition.
I hope that the debate on Sept. 8 will be well attended. I am confident that the remaining members of the “con” debate team will do their best as will the “pro” debate team and that the debate will be well and fairly run.