Important Information About The Georgetown Airport
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Dear Editor,

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

attracting business.

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,


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

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