Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


By Sue Strom, ASAP Steering Committee

April 24, 2016 (El Cajon) - A number of residents recently attended a community coffee for State Senator Joel Anderson.  It was hosted by El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells on Thursday, April 14th, 2016.

A few months back Senator Anderson stated on KUSI News that “there are only about five people at the end of the runway who are complaining about noise.”  We asked that our members email their reactions to his words and scores did just that.  

At the coffee, several residents questioned Anderson about the touch and go practice pattern over our neighborhoods.  He lashed out at these residents with an unprovoked disrespect not seen before from a public official.  He called many of those who complained “nasty” and told one resident who spoke about planes circling over her home that he didn’t believe her. 

This is a man many of us voted into office to represent, protect and serve ALL his constituents.  And this is a man who will be asking for your vote several years in the future when he runs to fill Dianne Jacob’s position on the Board of Supervisors when she retires from office.

The following is a letter from one of our neighbors making our case to the County.  We are publishing this (with her permission) in response to Senator Anderson’s diatribe in the hope that he and his staff will be willing to read it with an open mind, and just as important, an open heart.


Dear Supervisor Jacob;

We are residents of Fletcher Hills, and are, therefore, victims of Gillespie Field’s international flight schools, and their touch and go student training patterns.

Our personal safety, the fuel pollution, and the negative effect on our property values are year-long concerns for us, and are directly related to the abuse of the air space over our homes. 

However, with the advent of warmer weather, and our desire to use and enjoy our patios and backyards - or even open the windows - those chronic concerns and annoyances become acute complaints. 

Frankly, the noise from the low flying and constant small planes (we have often clocked them circling over our house every 40 - 60 seconds), as they perform their frequent touch and go landings, makes any thought of exposure to the outdoor realms of our homes and yards impossible.

When we bought our home in 1973, we knew of Gillespie Field, and its primary use as an airport for recreational pilots.  Even as its use expanded, and flights increased, we had no complaints. But this development, with flight schools operating out of Gillespie, and with pilots (or instructors?) apparently having no respect for the quality of life of residents under their flight path, is completely outrageous, and quite intolerable.

We believe it is altogether inappropriate for student pilots to be flying over heavily populated residential areas. Our fearfulness – and anger - is not without justification;  several years ago a plane crashed, in broad daylight,  into the backyard and garage of the canyon home directly behind us! 

We ask you, therefore, respectfully, to do whatever you can to help mitigate the damage done to the quality of life of all your constituents who live “below the planes. ”   

Thank you for listening, and for your attention to our problem.

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.  To submit an editorial for consideration, contact


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.