As expected, as they get more desperate and agitated, the anti-Vance Brand Airport people turn to threats and harassment. Maybe they’re used to whining and bullying to get their way without any push back. That will not be the case here.
Lets name some names. Seems from some accidentally leaked audio (heard it was from some guy taking their pictures?) at one of their recent meetings, they want to be able to threaten airport users and legitimate businesses but don’t want their names or addresses made public. They are not going to have that cake and eat it, too. Some of us put our neck on the lines, and for our efforts get threats, vandalism, and people targeting our family members. Allow me to share in that experience with our anti-airport friends. Over at LongmontAirport.Com there is the recent Noise Complaint Log. On it you’ll find as much info as these people have handed over to the city. It’s all public record.
Many of the names are members of C.A.R.E. and this new Anti-Mile Hi Skydiving group. It’s pretty obvious by the noise logs that it’s a coordinated effort, even to the point of making complaints against MHS when they are not even operating. For 2010-2011 here are the top noise complainers:
Julie Palmer at Nelson and Airport: 166 complaints.
Tom Zweck 10901 Airport Rd: 133 complaints.
Jock Little 5933 Galatia: 126 complaints.
Teresa Foster 712 Thornwood Way: 30 complaints.
Nick Mastronardi 8339 N. 83rd St: 24 complaints.
Diane Wood 6149 St. Vrain Rd 17 complaints.
Kimberly Gibbs 7468 Mt. Sherman Rd, Gunbarrel: 17 complaints. (Anti-MHS leader)
Lynda Smith 747 Snowberry Ln: 16 complaints.
Clark Allen 1127 Twin Peaks Cir: 12 complaints
Jane Shellenberg 11158 N. 65th St: 10 complaints.
There are many more, and most, including the ones above, are not in the City of Longmont. To get a feel for the noise complaints, and how ridiculous some of them truly are, you need to read the entire Noise Complaint Log – and it will take a while. But lets get to some of the players.
Most of these peoples biggest complaint is Mile Hi Skydiving (MHS), even though they admit that MHS is following every rule and law. But they don’t care, they still have made it their mission to put MHS out of business, or restrict them in such a way that would guarantee they’d go out of business. At the recent Master Plan open house, one noise complainer was heard saying that she’d like to hire a “Guido“ to take out the owner of MHS. At least two people witnessed this threat. The MHS owner was not amused by this.
Some people took umbrage at a piece I wrote called “Quelling an anti-airport jihad” where I spelled out some of their antics. It’s a long, but necessary read. Well, since then they’ve only helped to prove my point. One of their members, Diane Wood, made what I consider a direct threat to me when she wrote the Administrator of the FAA (my employer) to try to get between me and my career – and paycheck. Of course they dealt with this in the appropriate way defending my First Amendment rights and suggested I get a copy of her letter through a FOIA request and take it up with Homeland Security and the FBI.
This isn’t the first time my detractors have gone too far and tried to involve my employer. Maybe these people are white and old, but their actions are no different than any other garden variety urban vigilantes (I know there’s another word for that…). There are civil and criminal consequences to what a couple of these people have done and said towards myself and MHS. I’ve heard they’re thinking of hiring some legal counsel – that would be a very good idea at this point, but not for the reasons they think.
But lets get to Ms. Wood’s point of saying I, being on the Airport Advisory Board, should not be able to speak my mind, more or less. Like I’ve said repeatedly, I didn’t waive my First Amendment Rights when I joined this board. The City of Longmont tried impeding those rights with their amended Fair Campaign Practices Act – and their bank account is a little lighter after my attorneys took them to Federal Court – and won. I don’t take threats like yours lightly Ms. Wood, and I’m advising MHS not to take any threats from either of these groups lying down. If you want to play this game, expect all of your holdings and properties as the ante – that’s what you’re demanding of MHS. Pretty high stakes, isn’t it?
Unlike other companies in Longmont, MHS operates via an ordinance – that’s the city’s version of a law for you in the unincorporated county areas. MHS is following the terms of its lease, as well as federal regulations. Any continued action against MHS by these individuals can only be considered unwarranted harassment – and the worst part is they know it. They know and have admitted they don’t have a “rule or leg to stand on“. In that, they are correct. Except the lawlessness leg.
So, let me give some advice: while devising your strategy – a surefire losing one – keep all of the above in mind. You may think you’re on the right side of this – but by admitting you are going after a rule/law abiding entity you also admit you are not so much on the right side. When you make your email blasts to try to tilt a Times-Call poll about noise, notice how it didn’t quite work out – because you were not right about that either. When you put out a phone/email blast to flood the city’s voicemail about MHS’s Twin Otter, make sure it’s even flying and don’t make the complaints repetitive and so obviously manufactured.
I have no vested interest in MHS, or the airport, or a runway extension for that matter. But I know MHS gives a lot to this community (and you know this as well based on comments you’ve made), not just by their lease payments and fuel taxes, but also through the thousands of dollars in philanthropy. What do any of you do that comes close? The reason why you’re not getting the traction you wish you had by now (wanted 200 members by Oct 1st – have 9 Facebook followers as of Oct 3rd) is because most of Longmont doesn’t have a problem with MHS and/or know the value they bring to the city.
You just bring background noise. Pretty ironic, don’t you think?