Airports and Airplanes
In September, I was asked to share my experience as a pilot and County Supervisor at the annual conference of the Association of California Airports in Lake Tahoe.
One of the goals of the two-day conference was to gain information on how airport managers, pilots, and other city and county representatives can collaborate on matters relating to airports, and find ways to improve day-to-day operations as well as plan for long-term aviation challenges.
I established an immediate bond with the group of about 140 as I told them about getting my pilot's license when I was a teenager and being a courier for Bank Air, as well as a few stories that still make the hair on my neck stand up when I remember them. Most people don't know that I survived a number of crashes, and can still vividly recall each one of them.
I spoke about our County Airports system and the tremendous progress that our team of professionals in the Department of Public Works has made in working with the community at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. The group heard about our state-of-the-art flight tracking system, the brand new terminal and parking lot, and the customs facility, all built or upgraded without using any local taxpayer funds.
I also mentioned the need to investigate extending the runway at Palomar, and how it has become vital to the economic health of North County by bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect revenue, as well as new jobs.
My thanks to aviation experts Cory Hazlewood and Ralph Redman of C&S Companies who were excellent hosts for the conference.
Possible Runway Extension at Carlsbad Airport
Creating jobs and increasing business in the North County is the goal behind the $767,000, 15-month study to determine the feasibility of extending the runway at the McClellan-Palomar airport. The results will determine whether the runway can be extended by 1,100 feet.
The idea has been considered for years as an extension could potentially bolster the already significant economic benefits of the airport. It could also offer greater safety for pilots during take-off and landing, and reduce noise for nearby residents.
I brought the idea for the study to the Board of Supervisors in June, after meeting with several airport tenants, members of the Palomar Airport Advisory Committee, and elected officials from North County about the airport's future.
The study will focus on the challenges and risks of building a runway over an old County landfill. It will be paid for through the County's Airport Enterprise Fund, meaning no General Fund dollars will be used to finance the study. Also, the process will be terminated if at any point the extension is deemed unsafe or too expensive.
Are You Ready for the Big One?
Here in San Diego, we are fortunate enough not to get hurricanes or tornadoes. But we do get earthquakes, and they come without warning. Scientists predict a 6.7 earthquakeor stronger along the San Andreas Fault, sometime within the next 30 years. It could happen anytime.
I want every family to make earthquake preparedness part of their emergency plan. You should have a 3-day disaster supply kit with enough food and water for your family and pets. You should have a battery operated radio and fresh batteries. During an earthquake, always remember to Drop, Cover, and Hold On.
Did you know?
Over the past 5 years, District 5 has made more road repairs than any other district? Nearly 72% of the County-maintained roadways within District 5 have been repaired over the past 5 years.
District 5 receives more resurfacing money than any other district. Despite having only 40% of the roadways maintained by the County, District 5 received 54% of the funding for resurfacing projects over the last 5 years.
Going Ashore and Coming Aboard
John Culea, who has been our staff media and communications director, is retiring after ten years with the County. John has been a valuable member of our team and I appreciate all he has done.
John's replacement is Anita Lightfoot, someone you may have seen on local television news. Anita worked at Channel 6 for over 10 years, Channel 51, and worked in Las Vegas at the CBS and NBC affiliates for 8 years. Anita graduated from USCD and danced at SeaWorld before starting her career in television news. She is thrilled to start this new chapter of her career. Anita is married with 3 children.
John and his wife, Patti will be doing more traveling to see their family in Florida, Belgium, Arizona and Illinois. John has several writing projects in the works and will be active in his church, community and doing public speaking workshops for young people.
John and I have traveled mutual paths during our lives, including military service during the Vietnam War. From this Marine to a Navy veteran, Semper Fi, John.
On October 1, a new state law called Public Safety Realignment went into effect. SanDiego County and local law enforcement agencies are now responsible for monitoring, tracking and incarcerating hundreds of low-risk offenders who were previously the responsibility of the state. These are non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offenders.
As usual, Sacramento politicians shifted responsibility to local governments without providing a reliable source of funding to let us do the job. Local officials have no guarantees the state won't shift, raid or redirect these funds in future years.
In order to protect public safety, we need assurances the money will be there year in and year out. We want the legislature to place a measure on the ballot to create a constitutional amendment that would guarantee a continued funding source. The county is being forced to take on the additional responsibility. The state needs to provide reliable revenue for the added expense.
Bill Horn knows San Diego, especially North San Diego County. And the people know and respect him. This was where he was born, this was where he went to school, and now his public life is dedicated to serving the County of San Diego.
Unlike many elected officials, Bill didn't want to get into politics. As a North County businessman and avocado and citrus rancher, Bill was appalled at local government's fiscal irresponsibility and refusal to defend individual property rights and protect young people.