By Donna Westfall – August 9, 2017 –
Could things get any worse? Alaska based PenAir announced they’ve filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and want to stop servicing Crescent City. Founded in 1955, it is the oldest family-owned airline in the United states with 700 employees serving 25 destination. All, but the essential Air Service (EAS) route between Portland and Crescent City, California, was shut down effective close of business on Monday, August 7th.
Where does that leave Crescent City? Will we be soliciting seven seater puddle jumpers making frequent trips to Medford, Oregon since we can’t attract jets because our apron and runway are too short?
With a $2.8 million new terminal under construction should we be looking at double zoning our airport?
- Make it an event center for weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs?
- How about locating our homeless shelter or safe and sober facilities out there?
- Maybe with the threat of North Korea’s boasts of shooting missiles capable of landing on US soil, we should turn it into an anti-ballistic missile site? A sure money maker.
Right now it seems reasonable to talk about runways. With that in mind, Sup. Bob Berkowitz suggested in Tuesday, August 8th BOS meeting, that Chairman, Chris Howard form and be on an Ad Hoc Committee specifically to expand the runway. This idea was shot down by Sup. Gerry Hemmingsen who felt that discussion held years ago was sufficient.
Former Crescent City Mayor/Council member, Rich Enea, back in town for his father-in-law’s 83rd birthday, joined the 6 am meeting at Fisherman’s Restaurant. He reminded me that when former Supervisor, David Finigan, came before the City Council years ago to invite the City to become a member of the Airport Authority AT NO CHARGE, I said to Finigan, “Will you put that in writing?” After a while his NO CHARGE became $20,000 a year.
Finigan will forever get the credit for the new airport terminal as well as the blame as Sup. Berkowitz wonders, “What’s going to happen to this beautiful Taj Mahal we’re building?”
Quoting Sup. Gitlin, “EAS is an eggshell foundation. We cannot count on continued subsidies to our airport. I told my fellow board members to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of $2.8 million, but was voted down 4-1.”