Important Information About The Georgetown
There was a press release on the front page of your October 17 paper,
probably submitted by Penny Humphreys' staff. It is composed of two
short paragraphs which cause the reader to assume that the fixed base
operator (FBO) of the Georgetown Airport has chosen to leave and that
the County is graciously attempting to do without him for a time. It
also states that the work at the airport which has been delayed by the
County will be completed soon, and that certain necessary changes will
be made to secure the airport and allow pilots to fuel their aircraft.
The truth is that the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) in closed
session decided to remove the FBO. Steve (the current FBO) and Trish who
have worked together to keep the airport the showpiece that it is (in
spite of the County), have spent years negotiating to have the County
provide minimal service to those using the airport. The County has had
a preference for taking any dollars saved or collected from the
Georgetown Airport and spending them elsewhere. Why is Steve being
removed? The story begins at a much earlier date and some background
material is needed to understand it.
Steve and the FBO before him leased their space from El Dorado County.
In the course of their leases, both FBOs endured multiple actions by the
County to avoid offering the community any major services. This is
typical of the way the Georgetown Divide has been treated by the County
throughout the years. It is usually the "stepchild" of the County.
Whether by simple ignorance or deliberate intent, this treatment was a
way for the County to insure that the FBO would have difficulty in
At one time, the County Board of Supervisors realized that they were not
aviators and had no expertise in managing an airport, so they created an
Airport Commission of specialists to examine issues affecting the
airports in the County, to hold public hearings, and to advise the Board
according to their findings. After Penny was elected, this system began
to work too well and the honesty of the Commission began to be
embarrassing to the political interests of some of the supervisors. For
convenience in making decisions affecting airports, it was best to avoid
public hearings and unwanted advice from specialists. Penny was
instrumental in abolishing the Airport Commission and consolidating
immediate power on airport matters in the Board of Supervisors,
preferably without public hearings.
In lieu of the Airport Commission, two Advisory Committees were
established, one for each airport. Any "power" that the Airport
Commission had would be reduced by splitting it into two separate
committees. Yet Penny cancelled the October 8 meeting of the Advisory
Committee for the Georgetown Airport. Subsequently, Gary Hayden (County
Staff Member) was directed by Penny to send a letter to the Members of
the Advisory Committee explaining why the meeting was cancelled. One of
the reasons given was "they could not mobilize enough deputies on short
notice to protect the County staff at the meeting...since there was a
controversial issue involved".
Not long ago, Steve sued the County and the County settled out of
court. This made the Board of Supervisors unhappy. Now, Penny and the
other county supervisors have decided to remove Steve and Trish without
any negotiation or input from the public. As for the long-needed
services and maintenance that she says will occur, it may not happen
unless Steve and other informed people are there to needle the County as
has been necessary in the past.
The long-term objective of the BOS seems to be the complete elimination
of the Georgetown Airport. A frog does not realize he is being boiled
if the temperature is increased gradually. People may not realize that
their airport is being taken from them if it is done gradually. Of
course, Penny won't admit it, but we should look at what she HAS DONE -
NOT what she SAYS or does not say.
If we are to keep the Georgetown Airport, we need to keep Steve and
Trish. We also need to elect Supervisors for the BOS who will allow
public hearings, who will work within the spirit of fair play, who will
listen to people who are more knowledgable, who will honor their
obligations to the public without further legal action being necessary,
and WHO WILL LISTEN TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS.
We should remember that "the County" is us. We collectively own the
property where the airport exists. The Board of Supervisors is composed
of people elected to represent our interests. When they fail to listen
to our wishes, they should be REMOVED FROM OFFICE.
Lew Price, Garden Valley