November 11, 2010
By Dan Namowitz
Aviation support groups in Venice, Fla., are celebrating local election victories that hold the promise of a new era of cooperation and progress for the Venice Municipal Airport.
On Nov. 2, three candidates supportive of the airport won election to the Venice City Council. They replaced three incumbents, including the mayor, who had held the office since 2007 and had taken numerous actions that hindered long-term airport planning and conflicted with management obligations the airport faced under terms of its federal funding.
“The local airport support groups, the Venice Aviation Society Inc. (VASI), and the Venice Aviation Business Association (VABA), were instrumental in finding and supporting candidates for city office that were pro-airport. They conducted candidate forums and worked hard to get them elected. This is a significant victory for the future of the Venice Municipal Airport,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy.
The new officeholders, Mayor John Holic and fellow council members Jeanette Gates and Bob Daniels, were sworn into office Nov. 10. Holic is a former air traffic controller, said AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Chuck Schmieler. Venice, population approximately 21,000, has a council-and-manager system of municipal government.
In another encouraging development for Venice, the city recently hired a new airport director, Chris Rozansky, “who is already working with the Orlando Airports District Office to move the master plan update through the acceptance process,” Collins said. Rozansky is an experienced airport administrator who comes to Venice from the Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, Texas.
“The KVNC Airport support organizations, the Venice Aviation Society, representing the non-commercial interests, and the Venice Airport Business Association, representing the commercial interests, have worked tirelessly over the past three years with AOPA and the FAA to convince the city to meet its obligations,” said Schmieler. “All the while we never lost sight that the ultimate recourse lay in the ‘political process,’ that is, the election of 2010.”
He thanked AOPA and the FAA’s Orlando airports district office, “without whose help and cooperation we could not have survived these past three years.”
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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