Thanks to local pilots and the support of AOPA, voters in Lee's Summit, Missouri, on Tuesday soundly defeated a ballot measure that would have wrested control of Lee's Summit Municipal Airport (LXT) from where it belongs - in the hands of public officials. The proposed amendment to the city charter would have required virtually any change to the airport to be approved by a majority of registered voters.
"Once again, 'reason' prevailed against a ridiculous public policy, which is what this was really all about," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Other city and county governments should be thankful of the effort in Lee's Summit. Had this been successful it could have spread like wildfire, not just to stop airport expansion, but to harness the authority we are supposed to be giving elected officials."
AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Gary Fox, The Friends of Lee's Summit Airport, and the Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce mounted a public information campaign to protect the airport. And AOPA took out a full-page advertisement in a local edition of The Kansas City Star a few days before the election, encouraging west-central Missouri voters to reject the change in the city code. The measure was being pushed by an anti-airport group called Community 1st.
Fifty-six percent of those who cast ballots said no to a charter amendment that would have required voters to approve all airport expenditures. In fact, it was so broadly worded that almost any change to the airport would have required a public vote. The airport generates nearly $8.5 million in economic activity for the city.
"AOPA was glad to help, but without the local efforts, this wouldn't have been as successful," Boyer added.
February 9, 2005