By Gary Haakenson
On the night of Jan. 4, I attended the first of three scheduled public hearings on the findings by a consultant concerning the impacts of additional commercial flights at Paine Field.
The consultant found “no” impacts to the additional flights proposed by Allegiant Air and Horizon Air. The packed house at Meadowdale High School begged to differ.
There were, of course, speakers in favor of the plan to add service and in favor of the consultant’s findings. For the most part they were aligned in some fashion with the Snohomish County Economic Development Council, including its director. Also speaking in favor was a representative of the Spokane airport, who seemed to be defending the Paine Field Airport director more than the proposal itself.
I was also surprised by an Edmonds resident who supports commercial service and claimed at the hearing that the Edmonds City Council was “railroaded” into signing a resolution of opposition to commercial service some years ago. That’s an insult to the council to start with; they not only considered public comment when they created the resolution, but they also have reaffirmed the resolution each January since its original passage, and they once again reaffirmed it at their Jan. 5 meeting. And all other South County city councils approved the same resolution on behalf of their cities. I guess that “railroad” must have made stops in Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and Woodway, as well as Edmonds.
An additional public hearing was held the following night in Everett and one more had been scheduled Jan. 21 at the Lynnwood Convention Center. Noticeably absent was a public hearing in Mukilteo. Yes, at last check, Paine Field is located in, around and next to the city of Mukilteo. No city is more impacted by flight paths than Mukilteo. It is unfathomable to me how a “fair and transparent” public process can be had without a public hearing held in that city. Subsequently, I asked the county executive and County Council to add an additional hearing in that city.
In the midst of writing this column, I received an e-mail from the county saying that they agree with me and they have changed the Jan. 21 hearing to Kamiak High School in Mukilteo. Kudos to the county for making that decision.
If you have feelings about commercial service, pro or con, now is the time to be heard! Take advantage of the Jan. 21 hearing at Kamiak.
There is some “railroading” going on all right, and it will affect all of us who live around Paine Field. Let your voice be heard!
Gary Haakenson is mayor of Edmonds.