February 4, 2003
Mayor Daley may have won the battle with his sneak attack on Meigs Field airport, but the war is far from over.
Taking a line from Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones, AOPA President Phil Boyer said, "We have not yet begun to fight. Pilots around the world are incensed by Daley's wanton destruction of Meigs. We're going to use every guerrilla tactic in the book to restore that airport. And if in the end that fails, at the very least we'll make Daley feel the pain."
Battle planning continued Wednesday afternoon as AOPA General Counsel John Yodice canceled a planned trip to Sun 'n Fun to continue strategizing with Boyer, who also canceled his planned trip to this major airshow. (Boyer instead will be traveling to Chicago Friday to keep the heat on Daley in the local media.)
Working into the evening, Boyer, Yodice, and AOPA attorney Ron Golden plotted the next salvo, while AOPA Senior Vice President Andy Cebula and Legislative Affairs Director Julia Krauss worked legislative strategy on Capitol Hill.
"There are more than 600 panel attorneys in the AOPA Legal Services Plan," said Yodice. "We'll ask them to be part of our 'brain trust' to develop new legal arguments."
AOPA sued in the past, and that kept Meigs open for an additional seven years. "The association is certainly prepared to sue again," said Yodice.
AOPA has already uncovered some legal options that could cost Chicago money and impact the city's other airports.
"Students of history may remember that John Paul Jones was outgunned and nearly sunk, yet he forced the British captain to tear down his colors and surrender," said Boyer. "Today's general aviation pilots are no less determined than those sailors."
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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