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|Santa Cruz County, CA||November 7, 2006 Election|
Legislating by Lawsuit and Media - Watsonville Airport
By George V. EricksonCandidate for City; City of Watsonville; Council District 6
This information is provided by the candidate
The City Council does support the airport. As a member of the council, I support the airport. In fact, just two weeks ago the Council voted unanimously to spend $161,380 to paint lines on the runways to assure pilots are guided safely on the runways. In addition, the City Council approved grant applications to extend the runway and install an instrument landing system. To write that the Council has no concern for airport safety and its future in our community is just not true.In American we have a saying that "the majority rules." And nowhere is that more true than in government. Ours is a nation of law, with a rich tradition of citizen rule. While the minority may not like the outcome, they recognize they have to live with it.
However, in recent years there has been a new trend. Outside interest groups seek to overturn the will of the voters with well-funded media campaigns or legal action. While special-interest groups may achieve their goals this way, in the long run, it is simply not a good way to govern.
Lately we've been seeing this with the Watsonville Municipal Airport.
Measure U, the Orderly Growth and Agricultural Protection Initiative approved by over 60 percent of the voters in 2002, was designed to give citizens an opportunity to manage our growth. It protects farmlands west of Highway 1 along with other agricultural properties north of the city, while calling for annexing 400 acres, encompassing four unincorporated neighborhoods near the airport, into Watsonville.
Measure U garnered an impressive and diverse list of supporters, including the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau, the Watsonville City Council, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, and the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The initiative was crafted by Action Pajaro Valley, a nonprofit coalition of community, business and environmental groups--including airport supporters--that worked for years to solve the issue of orderly growth for the area.
Voters saw it as a way to end 30 years of conflict when competing interests got candidates voted in and out of the city council, depending on who they thought would represented their special view. To end 30 years of patchwork development that lead to narrow one-way streets and the most densely populated landmass in all of Santa Cruz County, the voters approved Measure U.
In a recent letter entitled "Keep Watsonville Municipal Airport a Safe Airport," the Watsonville Pilots Association again practiced these divisive tactics. They made accusations that are simply not true.
The City Council does support the airport. As a member of the council, I support the airport. In fact, just two weeks ago the Council voted unanimously to spend $161,380 to paint lines on the runways to assure pilots are guided safely on the runways. In addition, the City Council approved grant applications to extend the runway and install an instrument landing system. To write that the Council has no concern for airport safety and its future in our community is just not true.
Measure U gave the people of Watsonville the right to express their views on development near the airport and many other important planning issues in the broad since. Many, many more meetings, five to fifteen years out will occur over the specifics before a single stake is driven in the ground As a member of the council, I am committed to this process, to the rule of law, and the will of the city's voters. Through that process let's work together to reduce the inflammatory language while planning for our future. Years of experience have taught me that the best solutions are developed through give and take, balance and understanding, not through shoot-from-the-hip-rhetoric. In the years to come, this wonderful community--if is going to thrive--needs to take a balanced approach to all the decisions that will face us. Compromise and conversation may not garner the headlines that name-calling and lawsuits do. But I believe moderation and respect in city politics is the best policy for the long run.
I ask you to consider the facts, rather than the rhetoric.
Position Paper 2
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