Oceanside- Airport Needs Vision, Then Management

Thursday, July 20, 2006
Commentary
Airport needs vision, then management
By ROCKY CHAVEZ
The San Diego (CA) North County Times

The debate on management and leadership is often dependent on the definition of terms. I bring this up because at a recent Oceanside City Council meeting, the council debated that raising fees was not an action to close the airport, just recognition by the council that more funds are needed to operate the airport. It is my contention that raising fees is not the issue, merely a Band-Aid on a problem that needs better management of assets and leadership to define a vision for the airport.

Management of assets is analyzing the cost and benefit of a particular business enterprise. I think it would be beneficial for the council to have this discussion. How are we going to manage the assets of the airport and increase revenue in order to ensure the airport is a viable business partner to the city? However, it is often easier to look at a single component of a larger problem and claim success by addressing that single component and never solve the larger issue. It’s much like maintenance on an old fence —- a spot of paint will not stop the fence from falling down. I ask my colleagues to join me in a discussion on the management of the airport.

Leadership is articulating a vision and establishing an environment of success. I believe the City Council needs to play a leadership role and clearly define the future of the airport and how it supports the greater vision of Oceanside. My vision of the airport is that it will provide and enhance critical components of Oceanside (tourism, jobs, educational opportunities and recreation) to ensure that we are economically and culturally rich. The vision is not a discussion on the cost of hangar rents but on how the airport can fit into the mosaic of Oceanside.

As I reflect on the last council meeting and discussion on the airport, I think the council needs to define its terms. Are we discussing management or leadership?

I implore my colleagues to join with me and discuss the future of the airport. Once we can clearly agree on a vision, we can move forward and discuss the management. However, if we continue to debate terms of rent, we will not be able to reach common ground.

An essential task of a council is to communicate our intentions to the public. Let’s raise the level of discussion and talk vision, not a study that hides the intent or fees that splash paint on a falling fence. Our citizens deserve leadership that provides clear communication; I welcome the discussion.

Rocky Chavez is a member of the Oceanside City Council.

Editor’s Note: We agree completely with Councilman Chavez. It is very refreshing to hear the voice of reason when it comes to Oceanside Airport.

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