LETTER: City Manager Matthias and Mayor Pina took lead on airport issues

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

Thank you all who signed our petition requesting the Des Moines City Council to appeal the Hardstand Holdroom DNS*.

The City did not appeal and that may have you disappointed.

I am not. I am proud that we came together and took a stand behind a City who actually filed public comment in the first place. Remember not every city surrounding the airport even did that much.

Our City Manager Michael Matthias has worked incredibly hard this past week, no other City Manager thought to call an emergency all-city meeting with the Port, but Michael did. This meeting gave the other cities that did not file public comment a chance to voice their concerns, and iron out some of the glaring issues outside of a costly appeal.

Wednesday at the Highline Forum it was our City Manager Matthias and Mayor Pina who took the lead on the airport issues, challenging the data presented by the Port of Seattle’s Stan Sheppard. Mayor Pina stated that the data being reported by the members of Quiet Skies Puget Sound is far more accurate then what the POS is reporting, Mayor Pina and Matthias pushed for updated noise monitors/data reports because the ones POS are using don’t work.

Each and everyone of you should know that I did not support the hiring of Matthias and I have gone into heavy battles with Matt Pina, I will publicly state Michael Matthias is doing more as a City Manager then anyone else ever has, I will publicly apologize to Michael Matthias for my part in the public dis-crediting of him without facts, which is exactly what I see happening here now – you all don’t know the facts because they will not be learned here on Facebook.

The Highline Forum is open to the public, so was City Council, yet no one shows up and speaks out. Please continue to do the good work, please write, call & continue to file complaints, but please make an attempt to show up in person. The cities that are seeing some results with their own local officials pack their city halls to standing room only, weekly. We need to support our elected in this battle, we are demanding they go up against huge agencies, with rows of empty seats…at every meeting.

– Sheila Brush
Quiet Skies Puget Sound

* From the Port of Seattle: The Concourse D Hardstand Holdroom will be a dedicated space connected to the terminal where passengers will take a bus to or from an airplane located on the airfield (i.e. hardstand operation) versus entering or exiting a plane through a loading bridge or walkway connected to the terminal. This facility is intended to accommodate current passenger levels, lessen the current high utilization of existing airplane gates, and maintain a high level of service for passengers.

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our engaged Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil, cite any sources, and, pending our review, we’ll consider publishing it.]


4 Responses to “LETTER: City Manager Matthias and Mayor Pina took lead on airport issues”
  1. Michelle says:

    the only reason pina is doing anything on the issue is because there are people running against him. before harmon and martinelli got in the race he did nothing.

  2. JC Harris says:

    I want to acknowledge Sheila’s hard work and passion and commitment. And I do hope the video is on-line because everyone who was not there -should- watch the first hour of the council’s last meeting.

    However, I cannot agree that the results of that meeting were anything to celebrate. Because, after almost an hour of fine words, what they actually -did- I can summarise as:
    1. Sending off a letter scolding the Port for very poor communication skills.
    2. Promising to ‘save their energy’ for the -big- fight in 2018 with the SAMP.
    3. Pleas from various council members that we all ‘come together as a community’.

    I found #3 particularly galling. The Mayor complained they were having trouble getting people on their ‘Ad Hoc’ committee. Well the reason is simple: the public (rightly) does not trust the council’s sincerity. After more than a decade of -not- fighting the incredible increases in noise and pollution (and in fact promoting the Port’s growth as a -good- thing for Des Moines!), it is unreasonable to expect residents to suddenly join the “Let’s all work together” atmosphere Sheila is working so tirelessly to build.

    Our city council tends to act like misunderstood victims–abused by the Port and then yelled at by residents who just don’t ‘get’ how powerless the poor city is… how hard they try–a thankless job! That is simply and factually inaccurate.

    Since the opening of the 3rd Runway the council stopped being a strong advocate for residents against the relentless expansion of the airport. And in fact, if they -had- taken this issue seriously over the years we would very likely -not- be seeing planes overhead at a rate of almost one per minute. They simply ignored the issue and scoffed at complaints until there was enough public outcry to force them to pay more attention. But now, literally tens of millions of dollars of damage have been done to the value of our homes and businesses. Far worse, of course, is the ongoing damage to our health and that of our children. (If you want some depressing reading, start investigating the cancer risks and shorter lifespan that we now have to look forward to because of Sea-Tac Airport.)

    If the council -has- finally begun to take seriously the severe danger the airport poses for DM, their first step, before going -any- further, should be to publicly acknowledge past mistakes–in effect send residents a strong signal that there -has- been a sincere change in attitude. No politician likes to admit they were wrong but that single step would go a long way toward building the trust with residents. And we need to trust our council if they are to effectively advocate on our behalf against the Port’s dangerous plans for continued growth. Without that sort of public acknowledgement, no informed resident should take seriously -anything- the council says about the airport.

    In all honesty, I believe nearly all of us are -really- nice, polite people who do -not- want conflict. I certainly do not. And many of us are -so- exhausted from this issue that whenever -anyone-, at -any- level of authority, shows even a -crumb- of concern we tend to give them waaaaay too much credit and trust. We’re desperate. We -want- so much to believe.

    What I’m trying to say is that I applaud QSPS’s efforts in building public awareness on the noise and pollution caused by too many flights for too many years. It’s a bold move extending an olive branch to the council. But it seems very one-sided to me. It’s a get out of jail free card for a council that has consistently talked one way but then acted another.

    So my fear is that her speech gave the public the -very- false impression that the council really is in their corner on the issues of noise and flight pollution. They most definitely are -not-. I sincerely hope they get there–and soon, but if and when they do, it will not be because of unearned praise. Rather, it will happen because concerned citizens continue to aggressively speak out and forced them to do the right thing–reduce the number of flights to pre-2010 levels. They will not get their on their own, regardless of the number of fine words.

  3. Pat Nardo says:

    Someone needs to highly commend Sheila Brush for her relentless stand and unselfish dedication to this worthy cause of reason and potential compromise between the port and our precious City of Des Moines. Our leadership of Michael Matthias is valiantly trying to stem the flow and redirect flight plans, noise and polluting. We need to, as citizens, good citizens , to pay attention to : flight patterns, alttitude of approach, level of deceleration as well as angle of approach, time of day , frequency and size of aircraft. I believe that if we can only work with our City Manager and or truly dedicated Mayor, there is a solution on our horizon, Sadly though, we won’t get to this horizon with bitching and belly aching. Please excuse old soldier jargon. God bless you Michael and Matt for all your arduous labor for us.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!