Mayor Bowman and the Truth About Crystal Airport
During the Crystal Mayor’s debate, Mayor Bowman made the assertion that she fully supported the Crystal Airport, going as far as coupling an active airport with a public amusement park (good luck getting the FAA on board with that…). This is a ridiculous statement.
Let’s not even go into the obvious; that the airport is still listed on the City’s redevelopment plan. Any local news outlet should have been able to look into that, but hasn’t bothered. Let’s take it a step further, and do some old fashioned investigative journalism. The Crystal Airport is held up only by the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC), who owns the property. I happened upon the transcripts of MAC meetings from November 7 through December 17, 2007, where Mayor Bowman voices how she really feels about the Crystal Airport. While Community Solutions does not endorse candidates, we will report on newsworthy items we see happening with any of them.
Here are some of her comments:
“For over two decades, the City of Crystal’s official policy position has been that the existence of the airport that is embedded in a residential neighborhood represents a significant risk to life, property, and aviation safety. The Crystal comprehensive plan, the city’s primary land use policy document, maintains that the airport operations and residential neighborhoods in such close proximity create problems for both the airport and the area residents. And as such, that policy asserts that airport operations should cease to ensure pubic safety.”
This is a load of hooey. As a resident of this neighborhood, I can assure you that we weren’t forced into this neighborhood, but moved here because of its charm. There are no problems related to the airport.
“Government is good government when it addresses the needs of the whole and that happens when we respond genuinely to those needs over and above the needs of special interests. It is a difficult role that you have to play, and as mayor, believe me; I understand the challenges that accompany the responsibility of safeguarding the broader public interest.”
Do you hear the condescension in her statement? Good government is one that protects our individual liberties, not the needs of the whole. She could care less about the whole of the residents that fought the County Road 81 expansion, in favor of special interests like Hennepin County, Transit for Livable Communities, or the Department of Transportation. It is her lack of understanding of our system of government and her situational ethics that makes her unfit to lead this city.
“Unfortunately, the City’s comments were ignored by your staff so the final report is constructed on flawed methodologies and assumptions.”
More condescension; this is not how a mayor should act.
“This decision carries important regional implications and as such should not be based on wishful thinking.”
You know where I’m headed with this.
“Not for this particular staff evaluation, but for the overall recommendation to close the airport, that we would support it. I believe we have, right? That strong of language. Pardon? Right. As part of the Bottineau Boulevard upgrade to the area.”
Enter the Crystal Redevelopment Plan…
“One of the reasons why the, most of the residents who live around the airport, at this point like to have the airport there is because it’s very quiet. There’s very little activity going on in that area. And so it make it very nice. They’re an island in and of themselves.”
Is there a problem with this? Imagine the gall of people who live in a neighborhood because they like it! According to our Mayor’s previous comments, that is not good enough. If it doesn’t serve the collective good, we have no right to keep our neighborhood the way we like it. This is evidenced by the Frankenstein job they did to Lakeland, Brunswick, and Colorado, not to mention the constant light and noise pollution from the new Northwest Family Physician building we were told we were so lucky to have.
“The other side of the piece has been that the opponents to closing the airport as in all opponents to most issues in the political arena, start to spread those rumors that scare people. They’ve told our Crystal citizens that is you let that airport go, that property is going to be developed as low-income housing and we’re going to create a ghetto there is the message that has been sent to these people.”
Living in this area, I think I would have heard that rumor, if it was prevalent. No one builds ghettos. Everyone knows that. You build, and over time a ghetto develops if the development sits empty, or gets run down. Who knows if that would happen here or not, but it would mean a whole lot of traffic to this area, and an additional school. (We’ll revisit that soon.)
“Whether any value is placed on the safety of life and property in the surrounding neighborhoods, MAC staff continued misunderstandings of FAA authority related to your ability to close one of your airports and the opportunity that closure of Crystal presents for the five other airports in the reliever system. The process would benefit from having staff responses to those questions as well.”
So, she’s so worried about our safety and property. Our safety is a non-issue, and she doesn’t worry about our property when she’s pursuing the “greater good” of the City. She is worried about fulfilling the redevelopment plan. She could care less about the Skyway neighborhood, as evidenced by the unwanted changes to it.
“As guardians of public assets, you, the MAC Commissioners, have a right to expect objective analysis based on reality, and not on forecasts that somehow mysteriously always seem to argue for more of the same, no matter what is happening in the real world.”
Again with the condescension… You know, this is great advice for the Crystal City Council in their budget meetings, West Metro, or their redevelopment plans! You may want to recall your own words instead of selectively applying them.
“In fact, I question whether it’s even possible for the MAC staff to come up with an alternative other than growth, growth, growth. So, recognizing that reality, our intention throughout this process was to help you, the MAC Commissioners, see beyond what MAC staff wants you to see and to try to ensure that you who are entrusted with managing public assets have the information that you need to consider what is in the best interests of the MAC system and the region. Our hope was that this planning process would offer MAC Commissioners an overdue reality check about your system’s future.”
How benevolent of her… She was there to help by pointing out how much smarter she is. I get it now.
“But you cannot ignore that from the perspective of your own systems, overall health and viability, closure of Crystal represents an opportunity for positive change for MAC’s reliever system.”
Another call for closure.
“There has been a resolution , when did we pass the resolution, the resolution was to support the City’s own comprehensive plan which calls for/supports closing of the airport and that passed by a 6/1 in favor of that resolution.”
Do you still believe her when she says she doesn’t want to close the airport?
“There sort of that rumor monger stuff going on in the community, they’ll build a ghetto. So, but we know that that’s valuable land that we could do very many great things for our community if that land were made available.”
What about our safety and property? No mention of it here. That’s because she’s really not concerned about it.
“I met with Superintendent Stan Mack, superintendent of Robbinsdale schools the beginning of this month, and he made a statement about the Crystal Airport and said, “Just remember when you plan to develop it, we get to build a new school there.” So the Robbinsdale school district would be very happy to be able to put in a new school somewhere in that area to accommodate the families we could bring in.”
Yeah… remember my earlier statement?
“Let me just add another thing, I mean there’s a lot of wishful thinking that’s going on. We have the business boosters, I think it’s called business community, it’s organized in my City, and there’s been discussion there. There’s not enough office space for the businesses that would like to come in to my community, there’s not enough of it to go around, so lots of wishful thinking.”
Ummm… ever been along Bass Lake Road or to the Crystal Shopping Center?
So as you see, despite all of her claims to the contrary, she wants very much to close the airport. It’s just out of her hands. She lied about this, just like she lied about not operating anything at a deficit (the Comprehensive Annual Financial Statement shows that the pool and the Community Center operate at big losses annually). Can we trust a Mayor that can’t shoot straight with us? Do your own research and vote for the candidate that most reflects your values on Tuesday, August 14th.
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