Supervisors OK Christian School in Auburn Airport’s Flight Path

Auburn Journal
By: Jim Ruffalo
Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gliding through the notebook while wondering why the county’s Board of Supervisors had to meet at Tahoe to vote on Auburn Airport matters. …

It did seem a bit odd for the supes to take up the matter at the lake, especially when one considers the local ramifications of allowing a church school to operate directly under the Auburn Airport runway flight path. But that’s precisely what the five supervisors did at Tuesday’s meeting in Tahoe, although they did allow the courtesy of taking it off the consent agenda before applying the combined rubber stamp.

To put a not-too-fine point on it, supervisors voted to allow the Parkside Nazarene Church to operate its Legacy Christian School directly under the airport’s runway flight zone.

Had legacy been a public school, the application wouldn’t have even reached the supes, perhaps the logic being we don’t want secular kids killed or maimed by an errant takeoff or landing, but there’s no problem throwing the Christian kids to the Lycomings.

The matter now moves on the Caltrans’ aeronautics folks, and maybe somebody there will realize two things in the next 45 days. The first being that runway departure zones are not the neatest place in the world to have a school house, and secondly, that it may be just a matter of time before parents and teachers start complaining the airplane noise is ruining the learning experience and perhaps the nearby airport needs to be closed?

Third District Supervisor Jim Holmes says the approval was a matter of “common sense.”

“The (church) already uses those classrooms every Sunday, so this was just a matter of modified use,” Holmes said.

And while we’re at it, it wasn’t just the vote’s outcome that seemed a bit strange. Consider that the school was up and running last year under what county representatives and school officials earlier claimed was a temporary permit. But when we went searching for that permit, papers were shuffled, lower-level officials were polite and file cabinets were searched only to find that either the permit was in Jimmy Hoffa’s wallet or else it never existed. For those of you taking the test at home, the second answer is the correct one.

Also take into account that county staffers came up with one set of reports on the matter, only to be sent back to their desks when supervisors found that the facts didn’t support the opinions. After a hasty reworking of the findings, the airport usage request suddenly seemed to be proper.

Oh, well, maybe in the upcoming weeks, somebody will propose placing an ice cream parlor at the very edge of the runway – talk about just desserts. …

Check list: Supervisors also voted to put together a new Charter Review Committee, with that group’s prime duty no doubt being to look into the need for pay raises for the supes.

Our lead item notwithstanding, recent boards of supervisors – including the present one – have long been worth more than they’re getting paid. After all, 30-large is little more than a year’s worth of per diem for state legislators. This particular board rates that much money just for the time spent reading those voluminous packets it gets every two weeks.

Among the seven people appointed to that committee were ex-Placer Consolidated board member Wayne Nader, current North Auburn MAC-member Todd Lindstrom, and former Auburn Mayor Annabell McCord, who may or may not have performed a similar duty in the late 1900s. … Sands storm: As long as we’re on the subject of political payrolls (note we did not say payoffs), let’s point out that the recent dollops of cash sent to state legislators were approved by the California Citizens Compensation Commission.

To get a squint at how that seven-person board functioned, we checked in with one of the members, former Auburn Mayor Kathy Sands, who admits to uttering the opening bid of a 2 percent pay hike.

“I thought that was a fiscally conservative offer,” she said, adding that once around the table, the offer rose until it reached the agreed-upon figure of nearly 3 percent. “And it went to 5 percent for the Attorney General (Jerry Brown) and state Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell,” Sands said without pointing out that those two now must struggle to make ends meet on a mere $184,301 per year. (Editor’s Note: This is how Government gets out of control……Ed)

Sands points out that the commission members didn’t have much to work with, just a one-page agenda.

“I’d earlier asked for additional information, but was never given it, even though I asked again at the public meeting. I will insist upon it when we meet again in a year’s time,” she said.

Sands said she was also perplexed at the total lack of public comment at a very public meeting, saying that there were close to 50 people in attendance, yet even after the commission asked for comment, none was forthcoming.

Herself a retired banker – although she remains on the advisory board of Granite Community Bank – Sands insists that the commission needs to remember that if the overall budget is fiscally constrained, then it might be a good idea to do likewise with elected officials’ salaries. Jim Ruffalo appears Wednesdays and Sundays in the Journal. His e-mail address is or post a comment at

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