Monday, January 23, 2012

Voice of Reason

A voice of reason has finally crept into the Peotone Airport debate.
The pure voice of reason, so often muffled, finally echoed throughout Illinois media recently. It was that of Michael Boyd, a Colorado aviation consultant of Boyd Group International, Inc., the company co-founded by Boyd in 1984. 
Boyd who began his aviation career at American Airlines in 1971 has an independent philosophy that rings throughout his company. That quality has catapulted the Boyd Group to become one of the most respected voices in the industry.
Boyd is not a political pundit. He is not a mouthpiece for proponents of building a new airport near Peotone which has traditionally filled countless pages of newspapers for as many years. Instead, Boyd is an independent aviation expert, which is not normally associated with the Peotone project. Perhaps that explains why newspapers from all over the state have picked up an Associated Press story recently that quoted Boyd as he warned against proceeding with a new airport near Peotone.
For this one story, headlines were varied; each told the story in its own way. Headlines included: “Aviation consultant predicts losses for proposed Peotone airport project; Would Peotone be next airport boondoggle?; and Critic says third airport could be fiasco.”
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No matter what the headline, the message was clear. Claims that a Peotone airport would be some kind of panacea for the State of Illinois in general and the south suburbs in particular is nothing but a bunch of hooey. Rarely has there been a news story about this project that wasn’t spun out of a positive press release issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation, governor’s office or worse yet, by one of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s cohorts.
This was an honest, indisputable airport story and it was damning.
From what I could glean, the first story was reported in the Bloomington Pantagraph, and picked up from there. It quoted Michael Boyd as saying the Peotone airport could be a “major fiasco” similar to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in southwestern Illinois. He called MidAmerica “a monument to dishonest planning.” Last year, MidAmerica Airport posted an operating loss of nearly $12 million, according to the Pantagraph.
Countless other people, including myself, have said the same thing for years, but coming from an aviation consultant of Boyd’s caliber, the facts are worth listening to.
Boyd’s comments were prompted by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn saying a compromise to move the Peotone Airport planning were forthcoming. He referred to a compromise in the governing of the project, not the need for the project, which remains unproven.
As Boyd points out, Illinois has seen a 10-percent drop in the number of people traveling to and from its nine airports. Routes are being cancelled, and arguably the largest carrier, American Airlines’ parent company AMR Corp. recently filed for bankruptcy protection.
Of the Peotone project, Boyd also categorized it as a “solution looking for a problem.” He says it is a political project fueled more by politics than need.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blago and Jesse Jackson, Jr.

It is too bad for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich that he engaged with the likes of Jesse Jackson, Jr. It was a trifling that cost him his freedom.

On Dec. 7, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaimed that day to be one that would live in infamy. It certainly will for Blago, because that was the day he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. 

Was that a fair sentence when compared to his predecessor George Ryan who was sentenced only to 6 1/2 years?

In my mind, it wasn't but then I make my assessment based strictly on the character of the man rather than strict legal terms.

I took this picture of Blagojevich during happier times--on a campaign stop in Joliet while running for re-election. I wasn't enamored with him for his stance on the Peotone Airport. While he served as governor, he gave the airport plenty of positive lip service, but never really followed through. That was probably because there was nothing in it for him. 

Blago also taught us that size does matter when it references ego. Other than that, his tenure in the state house, or his Chicago house, from which he did most of the state's business, was not as upsetting to me as some of his predecessors--cold-blooded oportunitsts. I found Blago to be more of the warm-blooded variety. Even though he often put himself first, he did try to help others as well. 

I would not say he was a bad governor, as Illinois governors go.

Had it not been for that vacant Senate seat issue, would the state have even had a case against Blago? 

To me, and I admit some partiality in my opinion, Jackson is the one that should be taken to task. I hope the Senate Ethics committee looks deeply into their investigation of Jackson. His ethics are indeed in question, at least in my mind. 

I agree with a recent op-ed piece posted in several local newspapers about why the Senate Ethics committee should continue looking into Jackson's behavior. Congressman Jackson has had a pattern of immoral behavior This blog is quoted within it. 

Just before Blagojevich was sentenced, the House announced it would continue to investigate Jackson.

I can't speak to Jackson's other deeds in congress, but I know he has misrepresented the facts surrounding the potential of a regional airport at Peotone as well as the potential of utilizing the existing airport at Gary, Indiana. That has been my focus for the last twenty-five years. 

Jackson's latest action is in an attempt to gather support for the Peotone project far from ground zero where knowledge, and information is lacking. According to newspaper reports, Jackson is taking his pro-airport dog and pony show to Woodridge, a DuPage County community far from Peotone where so little is known or frankly cared about, that Jackson can get away with saying whatever he pleases without being challenged. He did just that recently in a visit to a village board meeting where he reiterated his fantasy that construction on a new airport could begin in six months. He fails to mention that the project has not yet been approved by the FAA, or that studies will preclude a decision for at least two years.

Jackson will never stop spewing misinformation to get what he wants. Perhaps, in this election year, it is time the people with ballots stop him instead.