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A reader named Richard sent me an e-mail asking why the language of the Airport Ballot Measure was crafted to allow the Airport Authority to continue to participate in local politics. Correctly pointing out that it’s an unelected body.
Well, let’s face it. The airport issue is a political issue, period. You can’t escape that. If it was just a technical or financial problem, then I believe it would’ve been solved decades ago. But it’s not. With this issue, logic is often thrown out the window.
Almost all airport authorities in major cities around the country have an appointed, or unelected board. The purpose is twofold. First, it allows important business decisions on planning, expanding and running an airport to be made on objective reasoning while minimizing the political pressures. Why? Because these infrastructure projects are so economically important to a region. Second, an appointed board insulates elected officials from any voter backlash against an unpopular decision, such as an airport expansion into a residential neighborhood.
Very few politicians want to step into a buzzsaw, it’s detrimental to their political health.