Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why Peotone Airport won't go away


Here are two reasons the Peotone Airport won't go away.

The following is an excerpt taken from the board meeting minutes from an April village board meeting in Beecher, one of the communities adjacent to the project's proposed location.

Anthony DeLuca, theState Representative who replaced George Scully, ... answered  questions from  President (Paul) Lohmann  about the  third  airport legislation  being proposed by SenatorToi Hutchinson. Mr. DeLuca stated that he supports a third airport. The Board reiterated that Beecher does not want Jesse Jackson’s plan for control of the airport. The Village wants local control if the airport is to be in our back yard.

First, why would Anthony DeLuca, the former Mayor of Chicago Heights who has just been appointed State Representative, support a third airport? Does he know that what he refers to is really a sixth airport in the region — O'Hare International, Midway, Gary/Chicago, Chicago/Rockford, and Milwaukee International? It might even be a seventh airport if the Greater Kankakee Airport has its way. Does he know any of the history of this project?

DeLuca is the Mayor of Chicago Heights — ground zero for airport support. It started with the late State Sen. Aldo DeAngelis, the godfather of the project. But he has been gone for many years.

Does DeLuca know the history of this project, or is he simply relying on what he has heard from the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association. This is not real people, it is an organization that speaks for real people.That was proven years ago when a survey of some of the community's mayors were polled. They admitted never even talking about the project. Yet, because theywere members of the SSMMA, they were "considered" supporters.

Secondly, the above minutes reflect the statement by Beecher Village President Paul Lohmann, The Village wants local control if the airport is to be in our back yard.

Though at first glance, this doesn't appear so, but this is by far one of the most damning statements that could be made to an elected official by another. Instead of the passive statement — if the airport is to be in our back yard— should have been an aggressive statement — it will never be in our backyard.

If the three communities opposed to the airport would take that simple step, communicate that to their state representatives and senators, the airport would have gone away long ago.

Another thing that could harm, and perhaps kill the airport, if they really want to, is to counteract the trick played on them years ago. The villagesfell into IDOT's trap to satisfy federal regulations when they included the airportinto their comprehensive plans. The trick was to write two different plans. Theno airport plan was real. The other plan was IDOT's fantasy. Is that like  keeping two sets of books?

To make the airport go away - the villages should write the airport right out of their future. Take it out of comprehensive plans. Present the FAA with future plans for communities without an airport. Make it disappear on the paper  and it might just disappear in reality.