Sick And Tired Of Airport PR - And Response

Thursday, January 9, 2014

For the last week I have been baffled and disappointed by what is occurring at the Chattanooga airport. It truly is sad that a taxpayer-subsidized facility has not only driven a private business out of town, but has also lost over $1 million since its construction under the Ron Littlefield administration. Rather than address this discrepancy, the Airport Board now hopes to put more money into a bad decision using a $10 million bond issuance. 

The Airport Authority board’s silence on the issue thus far indicates either a lack of confidence in their decision or fear of backlash resulting from it. Above all, their silence has prompted many Chattanoogans to question the airport’s future direction as well as its current leadership structure.

A rule of thumb for cases such as this: if they adamantly oppose releasing information for public scrutiny, they very likely have something to hide. My question – what does the Airport Authority board so desperately want to hide from the public? 

According to Airport spokesperson Albert Waterhouse, the board "has put additional financing in place so the airport can continue to strategically meet the future needs of all our customers." This quote is nothing more than a public relations tactic intended to avoid any elaboration or explanation about the board’s decision.

The public deserves more than another uninformative Waterhouse pivot statement. If the Airport Authority continues their silence on the issue and refusal to show the public any substantial information about its current dealings, the Chattanooga public will demand change.  

Taylor Watson
Chattanooga

* * *

Today, the Chattanooga Airport Authority Board will vote to encumber we the people to a bond issue to buy TAC Air for about $10 million. The Airport is owned by the public, and I don’t care what their revenue source is, the facilities are owned by the taxpayers.

 

The Airport Authority refuses to provide media, watch groups, or citizens documents or details of their secret deal to buy out Tac Air with municipal bond issues.

 

The appointed Chattanooga Airport Authority Board not only refused inquiry, but a board member actually hung up the telephone on a state-wide watch group called, Tennessee Watch Dog, with insulting comments about their inquiry or questions.

 

It is just mind boggling that none of our elected representatives from the elected City Council or members of our state legislative delegation are demanding that the Airport Authority produce for public review the details of how this $10 millionof public bond issues will be spent in detail, or share what insiders know is a buy out of a for-profit private airplane facility, TAC Air. We want to see this information prior to the vote, not after.

 

The Chattanooga Airport is a publicly-owned facility. What kind of arrogance of power by this appointed board's authority thinks they can enter into bond issues or contracts to buy out a private company without public review or public deliberation. What is worse is that our own elected officials, our representation are not demanding the Airport Authority produce these documents at a public hearing prior to spending $10 million.

 

If we the people do have representation through our elected officials and the Airport Authority refuses disclosure to state watch groups or media, what kind of government is the Airport Authority?

 

Let us see the deal, before the deal is done.

April Eidson


Looking Back From Experience

We are so far from done. Five men buried. Four widows, and a fiance, left in a seemingly hopeless, vulnerable limbo, all suffering beyond words. All five, plus these men's children, mothers and fathers and extended family, fearing the silence. Alone.  Where the homes were broken, suddenly those broken marriages are painful again, each divorced parent, dying inside again. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Could Obama Win Again?

When President Barack Obama spoke to the African Union yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he made a pretty brash statement: “I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he told the African leaders. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.” While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don’t think that’s true. Obviously, term limits keep Obama from running, but as I sit ... (click for more)

County Taking First Step Toward Replacing County Jail Downtown With Workhouse Addition At Silverdale

County officials are taking the first step toward replacing the long-criticized county jail downtown with an addition at the workhouse at Silverdale. The County Commission is set to approve next Wednesday a $150,000 contract for the PFM government financial consulting firm to begin working out the details. County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he believes the move will save the ... (click for more)

Birchwood Residents Organize To Try To Keep Old School

Birchwood residents have organized to try to keep the old Birchwood School that serves as a community center. Jason Wright, who said he is an alumnus of the school and recently moved his family back home, said the community is concerned over the possibility of the county tearing the school down. He said he was advised that the boiler in the old school has stopped working and ... (click for more)

Ooltewah, Rhea Co. Picked To Win Region 4-5A Football

The Ooltewah Owls and the Rhea County Golden Eagles both advanced to the Class 5-A football playoffs last fall with Ooltewah getting eliminated by the Golden Eagles in the second round. Both teams entered that contest unbeaten, but Rhea County routed the Owls by a 47-14 final to advance. Rhea County went on to with 13 straight games before getting beat in the semis by ... (click for more)

Owls, Eagles Look Back Differently At 2014 Showdown

For the first time since they played in the second round of the 2014 Class AAA state football playoffs, a few Ooltewah and Rhea County players were together Wednesday at the Region 4-5A media day at The Bridge in Ooltewah. The Owls and Eagles, obviously, have polar-opposite thoughts on last year’s second round game in Evensville on a brutally cold Friday night. That’s because ... (click for more)