The Jets Are Coming ...                 

      The Jets Are Coming ... 

            The Jets Are Coming !!!

By Timothy Clifford Riley

 

Are You Going To Allow Our Heavenly Paradise 

                    To Become A Jet Port? 

                            angel morphing into a B52 bomber--into an angel         Recently, Ventura County Board Supervisor Judy Mikels, was quoted in the L.A. Times as follows:

    "Major airports, such as LAX, are being squeezed by growth which makes it critical for communities such as Oxnard to pick up more of the load."

    Pick-up more of the load? -- The Supervisor from Simi has got to be kidding, right?

    Unfortunately, she isn't. If she and other airport expansion proponents continue to have their way, Oxnard Airport will eventually become a regional jet port - LAX commercial hub - and our property values and quality of life will start to resemble Crenshaw, Van Nuys and Burbank. 

    Pursuant to their lease, Mesa Airlines, newly providing scheduled commercial flights to and from Phoenix out of Oxnard Airport, can use jets here in Oxnard anytime they desire. Mesa airlines will eventually start using jets here in Oxnard. How do I say this with confidence?

    Mesa, as a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ, is required to make certain public disclosures, and they have. A review of their Web site and 10k filings with the SEC, discloses that Mesa is the largest fleet operator of regional jets of any independent regional carrier in the world, and they are actively converting their turboprop inventory into regional jets. Mesa's publicly stated goal is "to expand regional jet flying."

    Additionally, SkyWest, also a publicly traded company  which operates the United Express flights to and from LAX out of Oxnard Airport, has recently announced that they too are actively buying regional jets. 

    "St. George, UT, January 15, 2001 SkyWest, Inc. (Nasdaq:SKYW) announced today an order for 64 additional Canadair Regional Jets (CRJ). This brings the total number of regional jets on firm order with solid delivery dates for SkyWest Airlines to 114. When deliveries are complete in 2004, SkyWest will operate 46 CRJs in partnership with Delta Air Lines and 84 CRJs with United Airlines, for a total of 130 Canadair Regional Jets... The markets to be served by the new CRJs have yet to be determined, but will include Denver and West Coast operations. The new order has scheduled delivery dates between mid-2002 and December of 2004."

    In an effort to try and stop the inevitable emergence of scheduled commercial jets, I appeared at the Board of Supervisors meeting wherein they considered signing the lease with Mesa Airlines. Were any of you there? I urged that they modify paragraph 4 of the lease because it enables Mesa to use any aircraft they desire, and strongly urged that the language be modified requiring Mesa to voluntarily agree that they will not use jet aircraft at the Oxnard Airport. The Board of Supervisors ignored my urging.

    Fortunately, Mayor Lopez did listen to me, and called a special meeting of the City Council, and the Mayor made a motion asking the Board of Supervisors to require Mesa to voluntarily agree to use only turbo-propeller aircraft and not jets. The City Council approved the motion 4-0.

    Unfortunately, the County Board of Supervisors has ignored our Mayor and City Council as well. Please note, the County owns and operates the Oxnard Airport even though it's located in our city.

    What is even more frustrating is the disparity in treatment the Board of Supervisors exercises in the operation of the two County airports. Commercial carriers are not permitted to fly in or out of Camarillo, yet Camarillo Airport is three times the size of Oxnard Airport. Camarillo Airport has continually been making a profit, whereas Oxnard Airport constantly loses money and has lost an additional $350,000 this past year.

    What is even more infuriating is the fact that in this past year Oxnard City taxpayers have needlessly spent approximately $2.24 million bussing children around the airport whose footprint dominates our entire city.

    Why is Camarillo treated so special? Why does the Board of Supervisors dump commercial flights on Oxnard while protecting Camarillo from them?  

    Are we chopped liver?

    The answer - homeowners in the Spanish Hills and all of Camarillo flex their muscles, while we at the Shores with more valuable properties and vested interests, continue to act as if we don't live in Oxnard, and pretend that the airport problem will just go away. 

    Simply put, we at the Shores have the most to lose by playing dead. Camarillo is getting the supervisor's helping hand, while we are getting only their finger.

    Special treatment? We don't even get fair and equal treatment. Oxnard will remain the County dumping ground so long as we accept it. We must change that now. It is time to unite as an association and flex our influence and financial muscle. Otherwise you better consider moving to Spanish Hills.

    One thing that I learned for sure as I sat on the Oxnard Airport Mission Statement Committee representing the Oxnard Shores this past year, is that we have very little local control over the airport operations and expansion. We cannot stop the inevitable airport expansion.

    However, and most importantly of all, we can close the airport completely. Closing it completely is the only answer to assure that this airport will not become a relief hub for LAX as the Simi Supervisor and special interests desire.

    It is not extraordinary to close an airport, and communities are doing it all over the United States. Approximately 2000 airports have closed in the past decade; and in this past year, on average, 5 airports have closed every month, somewhere in the United States. That's more than one airport closing every week.

    After the Mission Statement Committee officially voted to close the Oxnard Airport, Supervisor Flynn was quoted in the L.A. Times as follows: "The committee's decision made a significant statement and that means something has to happen... like steps to make the airport more compatible or move it ...There are people concerned about the Oxnard airport. There are more of them then there used to be.  I don't think it's reached critical mass yet. But it will."

    It's time to reach "critical mass."

    We now have a new Board Supervisor Steve Bennett representing the Oxnard Shores. He is against urban sprawl, and we must impress upon him that we don't want urban sprawl facilitated by an expanding airport, and since we can't stop expansion - let's unite and shut the dominating, noisy, dangerous, expanding money-pit down - once and for all. It currently serves about 150 hobby pilots and approximately 150 commuter passengers a day, so other than the vocal special interests, very few residents will actually miss it.

    If you are interested in preserving your property values, and quality of life, contact me at 805-984-2350.

    Unfortunately, I cannot continue to battle the County and the special interests without your support. I have worked pro bono for approximately one year trying to preserve our property values and quality of life, and can no longer continue without your help.

    Get on board and help me help you.

    If you are a pilot, or profit from the airport operations, or simply wish to be an LAX hub, please lose my phone number.

*****

About the Author:


      Attorney Timothy Clifford Riley is a former Adjunct Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law, and is a Certified Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Attorney Riley and his litigation assistant - wife Hayden reside at the Oxnard Shores. 

    A Consumer Protection Attorney licensed in both New York and California, Riley has won multimillion dollar jury verdicts for his clients, and for the past eighteen years, represented people that have been taken advantage of, and those with very serious physical and emotional injuries, catastrophic automobile accidents, wrongful death claims, medical malpractice claims, product defect injuries, insurance claims and disputes, injury to property value, business disputes, civil litigation and civil appeals. 

    His office Phone Number is 805-984-2350. 

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