AOPA President Phil Boyer was the featured speaker at a fund-raising dinner for the Watsonville (California) Regional Airport Promotion Political Action Committee February 23. More than 130 airport supporters cheered his presentation about the value of general aviation airports to the community, which was videotaped for later viewing by members of the Watsonville City Council.
Boyer commented, "AOPA applauds the efforts of this group and encourages pilots in other communities to become more active in local politics, to educate the public and politicians, and to counteract the all-to-common situation in which land developers drive decisions that threaten the local airport."
The Watsonville political action committee was formed in 1999 to support pro-airport candidates and to promote the airport. The group is currently working on a study to demonstrate the airport's positive economic impact on the community.
"This visit by Phil Boyer was good for morale here," said Watsonville pilot Dan Chauvet.
Watsonville Airport is the only remaining airport in Santa Cruz County. It served as a staging airport for aircraft flying people and goods following the 1989 earthquake that badly damaged roads in the Bay Area and in Santa Cruz County. Area aviators have been battling closure efforts since the 1980s. The most recent threat has been the proposed location of a new high school in relatively close proximity to the airport and under the traffic pattern.
For more information about the situation in Watsonville and the actions local pilots are taking, visit the Web site.