READER’S EDITORIAL: STOP EXPANSION OF FLIGHT SCHOOLS AT GILLESPIE FIELD

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By Sue Strohm, Advocates for Safe Airport Policies (ASAP) Steering Committee

October 24, 2012 (El Cajon)--Over the next year or so (over the objection of large numbers of County residents) the County Airports system will initially be digging up the former El Cajon Speedway and turning 21.5 acres (of the approved 70 acre parcel) of County airport land into the Cajon Flight Center. 

Back in June, when this redevelopment was okayed, Supervisor Dianne Jacob stipulated that flight schools were to be limited and that focus be placed on light manufacturing and industry.

ASAP members are monitoring the situation and will make every effort to ensure this mandate is carried out.  On October 2nd the County held an RFP (request for proposal) workshop to educate developers in the process.  Some of those in attendance were owners of flight schools hoping to expand.  ASAP finds this troubling.

Will the people at County Airports and the FAA chosen committee members be doing a good job of factoring in the concerns of those of us on the ground?  If past and present performance is any indication, NO they won’t. 

Major RFP deliberations affecting us are done behind closed doors.  But there will be windows of opportunity to put our demands for the good of our neighborhoods out there in front of the decision makers who will be in favor of more flight schools or expanding the ones already here.

We will remind you when these opportunities arise.  We ask that you stand up and be counted with us.

Our message is loud and clear.  For safety, security, health; for the right to enjoy our homes and to protect the value of our homes we are working to stop touch and goes over our neighborhoods, institute enforced curfews, monitor for lead at our schools, and institute and enforce a noise code.

Gillespie is our airport, supported directly or indirectly with our tax dollars by people we put into office and by people appointed and hired to uphold public trust.  Let’s work to make them accountable!

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