Saturday, January 29, 2011
Additional documents received from Bastrop County and the State of Texas are now being amended to the FOIA Follies page.
Update . . . everything relevant has now been posted.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Santa Monica lost its battle because they had accepted Federal financing with undesirable strings attached. The CTA wouldn’t have that problem because it is (supposedly ) a privately-funded airport. But it is a wake up call that the citizens of Bastrop county will likely not have much say about size/type of aircraft that would use the CTA.
Court Nixes Santa Monica Large BizJet Ban
By Benet Wilson
Jan 24, 2011
The city of Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 21 lost its long battle with FAA over the city’s effort to prevent large business jets from landing at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the city’s petition.
The court ruled that FAA was not being “arbitrary and capricious” when it said SMO’s ban would make the airport unavailable on “fair and reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination, to all types, kinds and classes of aeronautical use.”
Randal Fiertz, FAA’s director of airport compliance and field operations, says he hopes this is the end of “a very long” process. “But the city can appeal the decision back to the court of appeals or to the Supreme Court, and we will carry on if necessary,” he says.
In March 2008, the Santa Monica City Council approved an ordinance banning larger, heavier business jets from SMO (BA March 31, 2008/4). This caused FAA to issue an “order to show cause,” giving the city 10 days to produce information why the agency should not pursue enforcement under Part 16 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, the section that deals with the responsibilities of airports and airport sponsors.
A month later, FAA issued an interim cease-and-desist order, which called on Santa Monica city officials to set aside an ordinance prohibiting Class C and D business jets—those with approach speeds greater than 121 kt.—from operating at the airport, warning it would use “all means” necessary to resolve the issue (BA, April 28, 2008/12). The interim order reiterated FAA’s arguments detailing why it believed the ban was unlawful, including the fact that SMO accepted federal grants, thus obligating the airport to make the facility available on “reasonable terms, and without unjust discrimination.”
Monday, January 24, 2011
These comments were presented during the Bastrop County Commissioners Court Citizen’s Comments on January 24, 2011.
The exemption to the FAA 14 CFR, Part 139 Rules in the 381 Agreement first came under scrutiny late last August in a letter sent to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court. The response from the County’s legal team advised:
“The county does not have any records relating to AOC 14 CFR, Part 139.”
We found it rather odd that there weren’t any records about an exemption that had such far-reaching consequences on the County’s future. Had the attorneys missed it?
A few weeks later in mid-September, there was a meeting with you Judge McDonald, Ronnie Moore and Commissioner Pina. The exemption to the Part 139 Rules was a major part of the discussion. Then as now, Mr. Moore did most of the talking. At the end of that meeting we were assured our concerns would be addressed. Instead they fell into a black hole.
In the following weeks there were emails and a few phone calls. Part 139 had become quite a contentious topic! And we were getting nowhere.
Then in early November, we received the Freedom of Information Act documents consisting of over 1400 pages of correspondence relating to the proposed Central Texas Airport. It was over whelming.
But with perseverance the documents were sorted and BINGO! We discovered just why the County had been less than forthcoming about the Part 139 exemption. It was included at the County’s not the developer’s request!
Note that the County never bothered to correct our assumption that the developer was responsible for the exemption. You were quite happy to have us pointing a finger in the opposite direction.
Fast forward a few weeks and suddenly the spin is dizzying. This exemption the County had been dancing around for months is now the poster child for the wonderful ways the 381 is protecting us. Give me a break!!
If it’s so wonderful now, why wasn’t it just as wonderful 6 months ago? Why were there months of evasions and failure to accept responsibility? Did you think we wouldn’t figure it out?
Well, as responsible citizens we did our homework and found undeniable evidence that the County HAD to acknowledge. Maybe next time you’ll come clean up front. That would save you the embarrassment and us the trouble of having to sort things out.
It’s no fun and a lot of work having to babysit County officials who are supposed to have OUR best interest in mind. Whose interests ARE you protecting and WHY?
Hmmm . . . I wonder just what else remains to be unearthed. See ya next time!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
FYI . . . this comment has been ‘awaiting moderation’ since January 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm at the Advertiser online. What’s with that?
Mr. Sommers’ reliance on flights of fancy rather than fact to prove a point is nothing new to those of us who visit here regularly.
But it is more than dishonest to fabricate an idea, attribute it to others and then use that ‘evidence’ to discredit those on whom the ruse was perpetrated.
No one opposing the airport has ever suggested that airplanes “are going to be cruising up and down the Colorado River”. We have no idea how he arrived at that ludicrous conclusion.
The only credibility in question is Mr. Sommers’.
It seems a little odd that the Advertiser would print such nonsense. But then . . . maybe not.
As to NIMBY . . . I actually know the person who coined that phrase. A NIMBY approach was already considered to be outdated by around 2000 and it is no longer considered a viable tactic for those seeking relief from corporate/government schemes of one sort or another.
If you’d bothered to interview StopCTA as part of this ‘opposition’ article, we would have been happy to set you straight and save you the embarrassment. :)
You would have also gotten a perspective from long-time residents of the county who have been involved in many local issues before this one and have an excellent track record for getting the job done. Not that there’s anything wrong with newbies joining in the fray. The more the merrier!
Part 3: Citizens speak
By Cyndi Wright
January 15, 2011
No one can argue that the proposed Central Texas Airport has brought forth its share of “nimbies” with their concerns about the commercial airport that is planned in the Cedar Creek area.
But not everyone is against the idea of the airport project – and the developer’s promises of lots of new jobs and increased land value.
In part 1 of this series, the Advertiser examined the county’s responsibility to its citizens and potential developers. In part 2, the city of Bastrop explained how it regulates new development in its extra-territorial jurisdiction, and some of the tools it uses to insure responsible development.
In part 3, citizens who will be impacted by the new airport – or any major development in the county – weigh in with their views.
Darlene Pendell lives near the site of the proposed airport. She and her husband have lived in the area for seven years. She is a board member of GUARD, Groups United to Advocate Responsible Development. She says the thought of airplanes flying over her home is just a minor part of her concerns.
“Planes will fly directly over our new high school,” Pendell said. “Fifty percent of all aviation accidents occur during take off and landing. Why would we put our children in jeopardy like that?”
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Regular readers of this blog know that those of us opposing the airport have been speaking out during the Citizen’s Comments at every Court session for several months. Week after week, the Judge and Commissioners have sat impassively while we marched to the lectern one after the other.
Our appearances have been reported in the local papers. And there have been quite a few LTE that received a number of comments.
First week of the New Year, brought an unexpected surprise. Judge McDonald initiated contact with the most vocal participants who have been regulars at the Citizens Comments.
The more experienced and cynical of us were skeptical that much would come of it but we went through the motions anyway. And as predicted, it was more of the same old, same old just slightly repackaged and with a twist.
We were given an ‘assignment’ to send a list of our concerns to the Court. Duh!! Haven’t we been doing just that for months on end?? Do they think that will somehow make us feel like part of the ‘team’ so we’ll go away and leave them alone?
Well, StopCTA still isn’t buying what they’re selling.
What we need from the Commissioners is ACTION not the illusion that somehow what we say matters to them.