Doing More Than the MDR: A Letter To The Port Commission

Dear Commissioner,

Regarding my comments at the Regular Commission Meeting today.

Several of you have expressed a sincere desire to do more for the airport communities. To which I have two coments:

1. Who’s stopping you? There are numerous changes that you can make without fear of opposition by the FAA or any other agency. The only requirement? You need to get out your checkbook. Any meaningful changes you might want to make will cost real money. Not a few hundred thousand for some ‘grant’. The kind of money that should have been put into escrow for us after the last expansion.

2. The Port has done literally nothing to address community concerns beyond the minimum FAA requirements since the last expansion (the 3rd Runway). Just one example I gave today: The windows and insulation programs. The Port could, at any time, offer that ‘Port Package’ to as many homes as you like. You only offered them to the ones you got reimbursed for. But your people (falsely) imply that the FAA somehow bars you from doing more. The reality is that you simply don’t want to pay for any Port Packages you’ll lose money on. In fact, NONE (zero) of the recommendations made by that EIS were implemented. This is why I personally have had so interest in the SAMP or any current studies. We’re still waiting for relief on the items from 1997!

When I tell you that the Port Commission has a scotoma when it comes to the airport communities, I’m not whistliing Dixie. Again, several of you wax on all the time about the dire urgency of our environment, but no one ever addresses the above two factual statements.

One other factual statement: You can trust the community: We know the airport–in many ways far better than you ever will. And in other ways much better than your own people. We’ve had decades to study the situation. We know the law. We know the politics. And we know your economics. We know what you reasonably can and cannot do. Sadly, no Port Commission has ever had the political will to do so.

The 1997 EIS has a list of prescriptions for helping the airport communities and may I suggest that you start there if you’re looking for ideas. The next step would be for the Commission to convene a meeting with local activists and make a laundry list that you can then investigate and vote on.

Coming up with a plan has never been difficult. The question just hangs there, year after year: Is there the will?

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