August 11, 2006
The future of Oceanside Airport in Southern California is looking up. Election results for the two city council seats that were open for reelection indicate that two AOPA-supported candidates were elected, one who replaced an airport opponent.
Airport advocate Rocky Chavez won reelection, and Jerry Kern, also an airport supporter, edged out Shari Mackin to turn the city council to a 3-2 majority in favor of the airport.
"This election is a tremendous win for general aviation and the citizens of Oceanside," said AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn. "AOPA worked with the Oceanside Airport Association and local pilots to influence this shift that will be crucial in stopping city officials' efforts to implement an alternative land-use study for the airport."
AOPA recently met with all Oceanside city officials to discuss their plans for alternative land use and remind them of their federal grant obligations that require them to keep the airport open.
Before the election, AOPA polled city residents to gauge their support for the airport, placed full-page ads in the local newspaper touting the benefits of the airport, and mailed 30,000 political mailers endorsing Chavez and Kern.
The association also gained the support of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who requested that the FAA keep Oceanside Airport open.
"This underscores the importance of strong, active local airport support groups," Dunn said. "It took the local pilots coming alongside AOPA to turn this election in favor of GA. AOPA will continue to work closely with city officials and the local pilots to ensure the airport remains open and is developed to its full potential."
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