July August 2003 Cal PIlots Newsletter

by George Loegering VP- CPA Region 1

The county reports that they are making progress on the updated EIR with a major push to complete the work pending a meeting July 9th with the FAA. There is much to do. An item that is looming large on the horizon is public involvement. Those of you present at the Trinity County Pilots Association (TCPA) annual meeting are aware that we need to get the word out to other airport supporters that the success of project demands advocates. Our Board of Supervisors (BOS) expects to have input from their constituents on the project. The input includes letters and phone calls and presence at the public hearings. Without a presence the BOS will be inclined to believe that the project is only wanted/needed by a select minority. The opponents of the airport relocation include the Organization to Preserve Trinity County (OPTC) group. (Preserve: to keep safe, guard, protect, prevent spoilage, maintain; also for the protection of natural resources.) While I am not convinced that the group is only “against the airport” they certainly do not want any changes or improvements in Trinity County. OPTC is 140 members strong, including many husband and wife teams and represented by an attorney. Colleen O’Sullivan, another former Trinity County Planner, is a member as well as a Trinity County Chamber husband/wife team Jeff and Judy Morris, who attended the Weaverville Chamber meeting a few weeks ago when I gave a presentation on the impact and benefits of the relocated airport. Based upon letters to the editor in the Trinity Journal and past performance on other issues OPTC is organized, and in their minds, ready to fight to preserve (pickle) Trinity County. Please consider organizing and fighting for your airports. Please call or mail me (geoloe@tds.net). Without airport advocates the project will die with no guarantee of even limited operation of the existing Weaverville Airport and of course no probability of growth to sustain it. It will take time and a dedicated effort to organize the airport advocates. I have information and contacts with many other user groups outside of the county, and other entities that might support our cause. We must join in our efforts to gain public support for the project. It is particularly important to get support from non-pilots and people in the community who do not use the airport directly. I plan to contact several past supervisors and local business people I know. Call me with the names of those that you think will help. We can use the same effective tactic that the opposition used to delay the project a year ago in the hopes that they could delay it forever. That tactic was to assign every meeting volunteer a topic and for each person to speak for the full time allowed. The opposition managed to intimidate some of the few airport advocates who did appear at the first EIR meeting last August. Others did not speak. Do we want to lose again? There may not be another opportunity!