Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Bastrop County recently approved an official ‘Bastrop County Mission, Values, and Objectives’ statement. It is now posted near the entrance to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court.
Let’s examine the first paragraph: ‘Our Mission’ as it relates to the Central Texas Airport/Eco-Merge fiasco.
‘To promote the health, safety and general welfare of our citizens, to preserve the history, culture and natural resources; and to serve as trusted stewards, providing County services in a professional, courteous, ethical, and fiscally responsible manner.’
Would siting an airport within a FAA-recognized Wildlife Hazard Zone that may bring down aircraft on a school or subdivision due to bird-strikes be considered promoting ‘the health, safety, and general welfare of our citizens?’
Would siting an airport in the middle of twenty established subdivisions be considered promoting ‘the health, safety and general welfare’, when many residents may suffer condemnation and vastly reduced property valuation?
Would the removal of safety and environmental regulations by Bastrop County’s ‘trusted stewards’ to facilitate airport construction and operations be considered ‘professional’, or ‘ethical’?
The answer to these three questions is no, no, and a resounding NO!
The performance of the Commissioners Court on these, and many other aspects of the Central Texas Airport/Eco-Merge fiasco, does not live up to the standards of the ‘Mission’ statement, and should be viewed for what it really is.
And we all know what ’spin’ used to be called.
Part 1, Central Texas Airport: The county’s responsibility
By Cyndi Wright
December 10, 2010
Part 2 of this series will examine the City of Bastrop’s steps in regards to the Central Texas Airport, which will exist inside the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Part 3 will present citizens voices, both pro and con, for the CTA project.
Is Bastrop County doing all it can to protect its citizens and maintain the great quality of life many people moved here for, while at the same time promoting economic development?
For some residents, especially those who currently find themselves living near the proposed Central Texas Airport in Cedar Creek, it may seem as though there are not enough steps being taken by the county to ensure not only their safety and well-being, but also the safety and well-being of the environment.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
On April 13, 2009, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court granted Jim Carpenter an opportunity to present information about the proposed Central Texas Airport and possible legislation to create a Municipal Utility District (MUD) to support the project.
The County and City of Bastrop had been aware of the project for several months but the public had been kept out of the loop until just prior to the meeting. The citizens of Bastrop County were not pleased and many attended the SRO event.
At that presentation, someone from the audience asked the Court if citizens would have an opportunity to express their concerns publicly at a later time. The judge hemmed and hawed and conferred with Commissioner Dildy and when pressed, blurted YES, there would be an opportunity to do that.
Now fast forward to 2010. In June just over a year after that presentation, the Commissioners entered into a 381 Agreement with Jim Carpenter which included a 75% 30 year tax rebate for the airport. The good citizens of the County were never offered the opportunity to express their concerns about the deal in a public meeting as promised by the Judge.
However, demand for a public meeting has continued during the citizen’s comment period at the Commissioners Court sessions. On November 22, the demand prompted an impromptu hallway meeting with the Judge. He tried to explain that he MEANT that the meeting was for the MUD though MUD was not referenced in proximity to his 2009 promise. His fancy semantic two-step around the issue just doesn’t ring true in light of the recording of the presentation.
So the Judge didn’t keep his word and the 381 is a done deal. Do politicians ever keep their word? If the citizens who attended Carpenter’s presentation had pressured the Court immediately following that presentation, things might have been different. But they didn’t and now that ship has sailed. Let’s get over it, move on and not let another opportunity slip by.
The Bastrop Advertiser report of this Court session was never published online but you can see a scan of it here.
If the FAA can’t keep track of planes just how are they going to do it at the proposed Central Texas Airport with only private security? Who knows what’s going to be flying in and out of there! Doesn’t sound like a very good idea to us.
FAA loses track of 119,000 aircraft
By Chris Hawley
December 10, 2010
NEW YORK – The Federal Aviation Administration is missing key information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the U.S. — a gap the agency fears could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.
The records are in such disarray that the FAA says it is worried that criminals could buy planes without the government’s knowledge, or use the registration numbers of other aircraft to evade new computer systems designed to track suspicious flights. It has ordered all aircraft owners to re-register their planes in an effort to clean up its files.
About 119,000 of the aircraft on the U.S. registry have “questionable registration” because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems, according to the FAA. In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or has been junked.
Already there have been cases of drug traffickers using phony U.S. registration numbers, as well as instances of mistaken identity in which police raided the wrong plane because of faulty record-keeping.
Bird strikes are very real and very dangerous. Here is a report of one from last month.
Bird strike sends U.S. Airways flight back to Norfolk
By Cindy Clayton, Debbie Messina
November 2, 2010
FAA data reflect 302 bird strikes from 2000 through 2008 at Hampton Roads airports, including Norfolk International, Newport News/Williamsburg International, Norfolk Naval Station and Oceana Naval Air Station. The majority, 201, occurred at Norfolk International.
A US Airways flight had to turn around and head back to Norfolk International Airport Monday morning after a bird struck one of its engines.
The pilot reported a vibration in one of the engines as the Boeing 737-400 reached about 1,000 feet elevation and was headed toward the Chesapeake Bay, said Robert Bowen, the airport’s deputy executive director.