Ed Rosiak – President California Pilots Association
Protecting general aviation airports isn’t sexy. There, I have said it, and I doubt anyone would argue the point. Having said that let me also state – it still must be done.
It does not surprise the California Pilots Association that we have to work harder than ever to make people understand how important theirs, as well as the entire state’s, GA airports are. We continue to work toward this goal every day.
The trend over the last few years, a reduced interest in protecting our state’s GA airports, has paralleled the reduction in GA operations. It does not require a PHD to understand.
Despite the public’s common belief that all pilots are wealthy, flying is an expensive endeavor which requires us to prioritize other expenditures to make happen – or not.
Why am I telling you all this since you already understand? Why — because you need to think about it. We are a long way from economic recovery in this state, and the country. And we must face the facts that we cannot rely on those in office to watch over us as they are required to do – especially a small group of “wealthy pilots”. Remember – perception is reality to most of the uninformed.
We need to be even more vigilant because we can not trust all politicians to do the right thing. We are already hearing about Sacramento “stealing” from the various funds of the large cities in the state. And, it is no surprise we have also seen city councils becoming even more creative in raising fees – or let’s just call it what it is, create more taxes, to pay for this continued mismanagement.
Need an example? Oakland California recently raised parking ticket fees to $75.00. And no one can deny that law enforcement is out in massive numbers seeking revenue through writing more tickets. The decades of state fiscal mismanagement have come home to roost, and as a small group, we pilots need to be ready for whatever our local and state officials try to throw at us – after all, we are all wealthy – right? Wrong.
Even though it is erroneous to believe that all pilots are wealthy, it is still up to us to insure that we are not treated unfairly because of this lack of facts or understanding. In essence, when it comes to our GA airports, we must protect the state from itself.
The trend to cut services wherever possible is already in effect. The state’s GA airports will be under closer and closer scrutiny and will no doubt see attempts to cut services and raise fees. Some loss of service is inevitable, and may even make sense. However, choosing the least path of resistance, a small group of supposedly rich pilots is inappropriate.
Even though times are very difficult – this is not a time to lose interest in the support of our GA airports. Once a bad decision is made it is almost impossible to go back and right the wrong. Don’t be lulled into complacency because there has been little or no interest by developers to surround your airport with triple density housing. Trust me. They are still there, waiting for the first sign of recovery.
The California Pilots Association understands that general aviation is not your first priority. We want to insure however, that as a group we all stay vigilant and watch over our state’s GA airports. It is the right thing to do. We must remain vigilant. If we don’t, you won’t like what you will have to live with after the fact – trust me.