With his midnight destructive raid on Meigs Field Chicago Mayor Daley sounded a wakeup call for California airport supporters. Most California airport supporters have heard of the high visibility arrogance of the mayor in arbitrarily tearing up the Meigs runway with no public hearings or notice. His action was so precipitous, rapid and drastic that the media gave it wide coverage. What many California pilots do not know is that the same result is being accomplished in California in a more subtle and insidious way. California’s airports are being closed at the rate of approximately one each year. City councils, and county supervisors who side with anti-airport groups and land developers threaten many of California?s existing airports.
Santa Monica, Concord, Oceanside, Reid Hillview and Chico are just a few that are under pressure and threatened with restrictions or closure. This pressure from voters and land developers who contribute large sums of money to “reelection campaigns” is having a frightening effect on elected officials who have the power to restrict or close airports.
A case currently in point is a proposal by Contra Costa County Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier to convert Concord Airport to a non-aviation commercial use, even though an economic study showed the airport brings $43 million a year into the local economy. It is well known that land developers have a big hand in supporting this proposal.
A big question is whether collectively we as California airport supporters are willing to exercise our right to elect candidates that support airports? Failing in that, are we ready to stand in front of the bulldozers as they head for the airports?
Taken from the Sept October 2003 Cal PIlots Newsletter