Politics at their Worst

May June 2003 Cal Pilots Newsletter
by Ed Rosiak

If you still need to be convinced that you should belong to as many ?pro-aviation? groups as possible, then the ?dis-Honorable? Mayor of Chicago, Richard?I am just as strong handed as my father was?Daley, has provided it to you. In an astonishing display of ?let me show you who is the boss?, and under the guise of Homeland Security, Daley literally snuck into the night with a start time of 1:30 AM, and had Meigs Field?s only runway destroyed When I first read about it on April 1st, I thought, A-ha, someone is pulling our collective legs?. I found out it was true when several email showed up with references to the AOPA web site, which displayed pictures. When I first wrote this column, I was in shock. This ‘Dictator of Chicago’, who has long tried to close Meigs to supposedly provide even more park space in an already lush public park area, actually directed this night time attack on a this valuable airport asset. His treacherous move left several aircraft stranded, an FBO out of business, Tower Controllers without an airport to control, and has compromised safety in the VFR corridor along the lake front which lies underneath one of the world?s busiest airports.

This truly is an example of politics at their worst. Not long ago, Daley signed an agreement to keep Meigs Field open for the next several years. To this editor, he is an example of what happens when self-serving politicians do as they please without due process. Several of the larger alphabet aviation groups are in legal action aimed at Daley’s political machine. What does this means to us? The biggest concern is that other Politico’s will be watching. They will want to determine what happens as a result of this ‘in your face political move’ on an airport asset which may not accrue as much tax money as a new subdivision; or does not fit what the current political environment believes should be there. Lets hope that the multiple lawsuits, which have followed, will show politicians that they cannot act without due process. AOPA is right on top of this issue, along with the Friends or Meigs, and business aviation organizations all of whom have the assets, and power to respond legally.

We must all remember however, that national aviation organizations cannot handle everything. It is more important than ever to belong to multiple organized aviation groups, to protect our rights. National, statewide, and local aviation organization memberships are required to protect us. This tiered approach is the best way to protect airports. It?s also the only way to ensure that local issues are uncovered, and understood in a timely manner. Local pilot groups such as airport groups or geographic groups, are an airport?s first line of defense. The protection hierarchy is: Local, Statewide, and National. Luckily for California Pilots, we have an excellent statewide organization in the California Pilots Association. After Daley?s actions, there should no longer be any doubt why every California Pilot should belong to CPA. Don?t think that this can?t happen here, or you may be looking at your airport through a fence. Keeping our airports open requires daily vigilance. Remember, together, we will make a difference protecting our airports.