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In my story today, I pointed out one of the many mistakes that airport authority President and CEO Thella Bowens spoke about during a recent San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. board meeting.

Back in November, we examined the major mistakes the airport authority made during its push to have voters approve a commercial airport at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Bowens covered some of the same ground, though mistakes were referred to as “challenges,” according to a memo of her speaking points, which voiceofsandiego.org obtained through the California Public Records Act.

Among those “challenges”:

  • “Difficulty in getting public to understand long-range air transportation issues and impact and the economic importance of aviation to the long term viability of the region.”
  • “Overly complex ballot language.”
  • “Public & media sometimes perceived efforts to adequately inform & educate as crossing the line into advocacy.”
  • “Lack of a ‘champion’ or major figure to help build public support.”
  • “General mistrust of governmental leadership in the San Diego region and the cross over that brought to the Airport Authority.”

Bowens also spoke about the authority’s lessons learned:

  • “Should have held more informed discussions with military earlier on in process.”
  • “Should have included critical stakeholder agencies as true partners.”
  • “Closer ties and stronger communications with elected officials were needed.”

So what’s next for the authority? Bowens suggested that the authority will continue to look outside of Lindbergh Field to address projected capacity issues. The next steps include:

  • “Assessment of other opportunities in San Diego County.”
  • “Heal and rebuild relationships (built where never existed.)”
  • “Engage in the effort to manage the legislative challenge to the agency’s existence.”
ROB DAVIS

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