Robert H. Maddox: A balanced group
April 11, 2006
Editor’s note: The following letter is addressed to the Steamboat Springs City Council:
The actions of the City Council, Susan Dellinger in particular, demonstrate the intent of a few of you to create an unbalanced committee to “guide” the airport study issue and force your predetermined outcome on the process. Thank you, Paul Strong, for restoring the public process and for stopping Dellinger’s attempt to hand-pick her own special interest group.
The need for a balanced committee doesn’t mean that extreme views on either side of the issue need to be represented; the process has to involve people who can be trusted to be objective and fair and who would be committed to a fully open public discourse. Without those components, the $100,000 study will not be believed — that was the basic issue in the failed 1997 RE-2 Bond Issue, and what made the subsequent “10+2” efforts successful. If you really want to just close the airport, do it now — the immediate financial consequences to the city are immense, but at least we won’t waste another $100,000 to fulfill your agenda.
Putting an avowed and highly vocal airport hater such as Warren Harner (or Michael Turner or Walter Scott) on that committee will guarantee divisiveness and a deadlock. You won’t need a facilitator, you’ll need a police officer.
There are many individuals in the community who would bring an honest, open and therefore believable presence to the steering group; exclude me or any other “special interest” if you want, but on the other hand, don’t try to fill the committee with negative and harmful attitudes about the Steamboat Springs Airport. That’s not “balance,” that’s “stacking.”
If you really want an open and balanced report, you will not appoint this type of person to the committee; if you go ahead and do so, you will have proven that you are not interested in a fair report and will have lost the support of the aviation community and those in the community whose businesses rely on the Steamboat Springs Airport before the process starts. What a waste of $100,000 of hard-earned taxpayer money.
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Robert H. Maddox