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From: Community Meeting set for 11-21-13



First, let me say that I am neither for nor against the airport.

To me, that would be like being for or against Hwy. 278, it doesn't matter if I am for or against it, it is there.

Second, if the airport is there, which it is, and public funds were used to build it, then it behooves the county to try and make some income with it.

Exactly how that income is derived should meet whatever standards were stated when the airport was built.


There is the obvious clarity that we all appreciate about you ... and your humor Stradial :)


My recollection of the discussions back in 2005-06 regarding the airport was that the feasibility studies were such that a commercial passenger airport was a pipe dream at best and not what was intended for the facility. Still, if it was a possibility, the most major important great thing we could do by building our own general aviation airport is to get prior rights to aviation here because if that thing (passenger airline service) were to become a reality, at least we'd have a say. IF THE CITY OF ATLANTA (AND DELTA) DECIDED TO DO A COMMERCIAL PASSENGER AIRLINE TERMINAL IN PAULDING ON THE ATLANTA AIRPORT PROPERTY, WE'D BE SOL.


Well, we built the airport and Delta, which thought they had through the city of Atlanta, a right of first refusal on a commercial airfield here, basically decided to do all their activities in Clayton County at Hartsfield-Jackson. When Propeller INvestments came in and proposed action in Gwinnett, you can bet that Delta was behind and encouraging the opposition there ... largely because they don't want to lose their monopoly on air traffic in the market.


The point is the airport was not expected to become a commercial passenger facility of any design or description but it was not sold that way. It was sold as a way for local control over any such commercial air transportation facility in the unlikely event that it was going to happen.


In a very real sense, it has been successful in that role. No one can say that Delta and the city of Atlanta has any business tell us what we can do locally and we planned it that way.


Third, what does bother me is, as I stated once before, the way this has gone down.

Somewhere the people in charge, the county commissioners, the airport authority and/or others have dropped the ball in the way they either put this together or the way they have presented it to the people of Paulding County.

That seems obvious in the fact that there has been controversy and confusion among the commissioners, the public in general and news media.


I'm going to blame Brett Smith for this. I'm pretty sure that the contract that exists between silver comet field and silver comet partners gives him the sole authority to publicize the commercial passenger aspects of the deal. I don't expect the Airport Authority to have any control over the advertising, marketing or publicity of whatever venture lands at Silver Comet field. Even the decision to announce the new name of the field was controlled by him.


As far as the public engagement part, I suspect the drubbing that he got for his efforts in Gwinnett basically cured him from much in the way of seeing publicity as a good thing.


The AJC and most reporters anywhere and everywhere will go for the sensational and frankly two charter commercial flights a week does not a commercial passenger airport terminal make. This aspect has been hyped to sell papers and because, in fealty to Delta and city, home for the Atlanta promoting AJC and other metro media (they know commerce in the city is where their bread is buttered just as I know my bread is buttered by promoting businesses out here.)


So what we have is a press-shy company that has great contacts and a desire to avoid the headaches they got just over a year ago when they saw publicity blow up a deal they spend probably years trying to put together. I would be go so far as to say in aggregate - I'll exclude Pcom - the press is a liability for this effort because they over-emphasize the wrong stuff and really seek to sell papers and cover their corporate masters in the city.


Fourth, if Mr. Austin did try and stop last nights meeting from being held at that church, then to me, that is a major no no.

For an elected leader to try and influence a church to allow or not allow a community meeting to be held at their location is beyond over stepping your bounds and if true would cost that person my vote for any future elections.

It smacks of totalitarianism to me. Again, if true.


Well it is untrue.


That is what I found when I decided to reply in this topic. While David, and for that matter Tommie Graham, can come across to some folks as a bit aloof, that kind of high-handed royal-assed attitude really doesn't fit what I do know about either of them.


Anyway, I actually did call David and confronted him about this incident. I also called the preacher - he doesn't like to be called Reverend I found out - Rick Dunn - the guy whom you got the idea was intimidated ... or at least someone told you was.


I can say with a straight face I didn't intimidate him (I do have that affect on some folks) and he told me that I was more intimidating that either David or Tommie Graham; both of whom did call him.


What if found enlightening is that apparently he misunderstood the 'informational meeting' and was a bit ticked that David and Tommie were 'invited' to the meeting to sit quietly and get beat on. He came to that conclusion apparently Wednesday morning when he finally got the presentation that was planned and saw that it was more of a one-sided pep rally for airport opponents than a meeting that intends to reasonably and honestly explore the issue. He wondered if his church's board would have approved their donation of the room for the meeting had the seen the presentation on Monday as he had asked. Still, it was a bit late in the game Wednesday to do anything more than grin and bear it and let the meeting proceed.


In the visit that David made with Preacher Rick, he said that he understood the muzzle that the invite the chairman had received how David would feel like that he was being tossed into the lions den. The one-sidedness is what struck him and made him notably uncomfortable with the meeting his church was hosting.


It is not that I doubt the people who have posted that it is true, it is just that I do not personally know it to be a fact.


I find most of what they post as distortions and spin ... and I can tell they've learned their debate style from conservative talk radio quite well. I actually hate it that folks think this kind of bull cheese is valuable ... it is not . it is propaganda and propaganda techniques that unfortunately can be effective because they invoke the knee-jerk reactions that we all experience as we use shorthand cues to keep things simple. Basically they're doing their best to dupe us and in that context you can tell by the materials - some of the slick web sites - that this is being orchestrated from outside because frankly, Tundra ain't that slick.



To me it seems that the best way the county could handle this is to put out all the details of how this deal came about, what it is expected to cost the citizens of the county, what the citizens of the county can expect to receive for their monies and then people can make an informed decision on this topic.


Let me work on this aspect. I would think that the contractual agreement regarding the commercial passenger airport terminal is under the purview of the contracted agent (Silver Comet Partners, LLC) and public utterances regarding it (as opposed to the nuts and bolts of the airport facility - runway expansion, etc.) is limited to them through confidentiality agreements.


Oh, and Whitey, the contract with the Silver Comet Partners, llc can be referenced in the minutes and a complete copy need not be included in the minutes. Such contracts are public record. Maybe if you get a copy before I do, you can confirm provisions regarding the ability to talk about developments because the presence of such a section simply comes from who has said what in regard to what over the past roughly two months.


Finally, my reading of the 'deal' is that it is a great deal and the controversy surrounding it from Delta and those they control more directly to me is actually being used to effectively hype the event.


The Todd Pownall in the dark aspect - which I do feel is being overplayed by the man - and the obvious suggestions in this case of a corruption so deep as to be unAmerican, evil and self-serving is basically bull at this point. I've not seen one allegation of inside dealing in this regard. There may be some but there are no rocks - no substance - in the mud being slung.


I mean detail a real-estate deal where the property flips five times to hide that it was stolen for taxes and represents a financial gain of a million dollars for a principal. There are no such substantial scandals and all we get is BS mudslinging based on half-truths and no-truths.


The allegation that the commission tried to shut down the so-called town meeting be a prime example. It is not true.




Source: Community Meeting set for 11-21-13


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