Printed letters, December 29, 2013
Regardless of the good that Rex Tippetts accomplished, his legacy may well offset any gains he’s made. That legacy must be borne equally by him and by the previous Airport Authority boards for failing to exercise their fiduciary oversight responsibilities.
While the impacts of alleged malfeasances won’t be known until the investigations and lawsuits have run their courses, current costs in terms of legal fees, manpower hours for both employees and the current board, and the black cloud that hangs over the airport are far from insignificant.
Rather than cast citizens who have repeatedly raised concerns as “detractors,” perhaps The Daily Sentinel should question why previous airport boards, the county commissioners and the City Council effectively ignored the concerns. When I made requests of former Commissioners Craig Meis and Janet Rowland, their response was that they only appoint three members and had no oversight responsibility.
As a CPA, I’d like to comment on a couple of financial items. First, I found it interesting that the Sentinel failed to comment on Authority member Steve Wood’s statement at the last board meeting to the effect that the planned $6 million administration building is actually an office building for six people that has a garage in order to qualify as an Airport Fire and Rescue facility. Therefore, it is eligible for FAA funding.
Next, I want to compare two statements. David Gordon, division director of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics, said that in 2008, general aviation visitors to Grand Junction spent about $20 million here, whereas former Airport Authority board member Craig Springer stated that, of the annual airport budget, only $134,000 comes from general aviation. While these are apples and oranges, to quote that budget number as a reason to question whether general aviation is really needed is perhaps indicative of previous boards’ leadership.
I pray that any investigations or lawsuits will be directed at those responsible for the problems and that no taint will be attached to our Grand Junction airport.
Time for new members on Airport Authority board
I have read with interest the complaint by Donna Vanlandingham against the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority and Rex Tippetts. Without commenting on the veracity of the complaint, it does raise some serious issues. Apparently the FBI, at least, seems to believe there may be some “fire” to go with the “smoke.”
In my one and only interface with Tippetts, I found him to be exceedingly overbearing. The issue at hand then was the loss of free parking for the Patriot Guard and others who came out periodically to welcome veterans coming home.
That aside, and once again stressing “if” the complaint is found to be true, it appears that Tippetts ruled with an iron hand and intimidation. Apparently, a couple of board members did not vote for the firing of Tippets. I wonder why. It would appear, possibly, that the board did less than “true diligence” in going along with Tippetts. If the complaint is found to be true, there is enough “smoke” raised about the Airport Authority board itself that may need investigation.
I believe the city needs to take a serious look at how this plays out and immediately begin an effort to find a replacement for Tippetts.
In a recent article, The Daily Sentinel pointed out all the wonderful things Tippetts did to place our airport on the map. While all those wonderful things did occur, it does not mean someone else could not have done them as well, without the allegations of fraud, intimidation and coercion. I would also recommend to the city that it take a long look at the board’s makeup and perhaps look for replacements.
States lack funding, resources to fairly manage public lands
There is a growing movement to transfer responsibility for our public lands from the federal government to state government. It is important for me to suggest that we all think a little more deeply on this issue and realize what a mistake this transfer would be.
We all agree that the federal government has been dropping the ball on protecting our constitutional rights and stumbling amid its own ineffective bureaucracy, but the management of public lands is one of the few things it does well.
State governments do not have the funding or resources to take over responsibilities for such large areas of public land. Soon the states would begin to sell public land to the private sector.
Can you imagine what kind of corrupt “good ol’ boy” systems that would arise from this?
The access we now all have to these lands would disappear. Recreation would be a series of locked gates and “no trespassing” signs. Hunting would he changed to standing in line for tickets to “Bubba’s Blast a Bull” caged-animal shootings. Places that we now enjoy camping with the family will then be locked away by some rich Texan using our land for personal gain.
Please consider this.