Several readers have hammered me this morning for not noticing — and burying — an interesting bit of news that surfaced in the name-calling yesterday.

After saying he was above responding to City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s contention that the mayor was corrupt, the mayor’s spokesman Fred Sainz called Aguirre an “adolescent.”

But then he went on to list the mayor’s positions on the never-ending Sunroad fiasco, including this:

I will not be satisfied until the Sunroad building is reduced in height to 160 feet. The FAA has told us that they won’t be satisfied until that happens and I stand by them.

This, indeed, appears to be a significant shift for the mayor, who not too long ago was advocating a different solution. A couple of weeks ago, the mayor sent the FAA’s Karen McDonald a letter with a different stance with which he would have been satisfied.

I support your findings that the building must be reduced in size so that it is no longer a hazard to public safety. As Ms. McDonald is aware, my staff has put forward a proposal that will reduce the building height to 163 feet with the exception of the mechanical equipment enclosure room which would remain at 180 feet. The equipment enclosure room constitutes 16 percent of the overall roofline.

Either the FAA told Sanders to take his proposal and, well, you know, or Sanders is caving to Aguirre’s pressure.

There’s more: In his letter to the FAA, Sanders proposed altering the flight path for planes landing in certain weather conditions at Montgomery Field.

The proposal also includes working with the FAA to discontinue circling instrument approaches north of the field and allowing aircraft to circle to the south.

Again, in yesterday’s e-mail to me, the Mayor’s Office reported that his stance has shifted.

There will not be any alternative landing approaches at Montgomery Field. No one that broke the law should be accommodated. The status quo will remain in place until the building is reduced in size.

Read that again: No one who broke the law should be accommodated.

That’s the whole issue here. If the building were a huge safety hazard, the FAA, city attorney, mayor, governor, the local girl scouts … everyone would be clamoring to close Montgomery Field. But nobody, to my knowledge, has suggested closing Montgomery Field even on the days when weather might take planes over the new controversial office tower.

The big beef with this tower is that its developer brazenly decided to ignore FAA warnings and build to any height it desired. And the problem for us as a community is the idea that a company could set a precedent like that: Do whatever you need to do for your company’s interest and the community will work around it. It’d be as if someone built a home on a freeway off-ramp and the city decided not to tear down the home but to just redirect traffic.

Sanders had been leaning toward redirecting traffic.

And now he’s, apparently, changed his mind.

Sorry it took me a day to realize it.


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