A. David Bothe
463 Picasso Drive
Nokomis, Florida 34275
Dear Fellow Hangar Tenant: April 10,2005
I have never been in North Korea. It has been described as a film set with everyone a conscripted extra. The Director feels he needs more scope. But, he doesn’t want to share power with the larger studio system.
That fairly well describes the current Airport Authority and its “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Piccolo. We know, in theory, that Midnight Bob Waechter, the Chairman, with the consent of the other commissioners, should be providing direction to “Dear Leader”. However, when one reads statements reported in the press to the effect “Fred Piccolo is among the finest airport directors in the Nation” (Think Manchurian Candidate) you have to wonder if he, and the rest of the Authority, have had a Piccolobotomy.
While we are not exactly conscripts, our options are limited. It is hard to argue that the Airport Authority is not one large, taxpayer supported, government bureaucracy, with all the waste and empire building that entails. To suggest that its operation bears any resemblance to free enterprise is sheer folly. Carefully review the capital improvements going on now and recently completed. When President Piccolo is asked about the value of some these infrastructure improvements he replies that it is the grant that matters. Thanks to the ants, the grasshoppers get the grants. However, when the subject of hangar rents comes up the President morphs into Milton Friedman and extols the virtues of the free market system. He quickly points out that the rent schedule is way below market (his analysis). If requests are made to the Authority for things like wash racks, or dumpsters, they are dismissed, cavalierly, as not cost effective, or frivolous. No grant money, you know. However, the rents continue to go up.
The reason questionable government programs continue to get funding (grants) is because they have a committed constituency who lobby tirelessly on their behalf. The taxpayers, who make it all possible, are, rarely if ever, represented. They are usually too busy making a living to pay attention to the bureaucratic minutia that results in policy (spending) decisions. This concept will be burned into your consciousness if you will but attend one Airport Authority meeting.
There is hope. Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 180 meets every fourth Wednesday of the month, 7:30 PM, at the Dan McClure Room in the McElmurray building at the Airport. Their next meeting is April 27. Most of the members are pilots. Many of them are hangar tenants like you. They are serious about confronting the issues affecting pilots operating out of SRQ (like the accursed Class C airspace directive). One of their members attends every Airport Commission meeting. They also have a tape library of the most recent Airport Authority Meetings. They have a website: http://www.eaa180.org I encourage you to visit it.
I’ll be there Wednesday night. I hope you will too.
A. David Bothe, J-1, 113
Home 941 966 6723
Fax 941 966 1959
Cell 914 468 0305