Vance Brand Airport no place for threatening behavior

Speech made to the Longmont City Council August 13, 2002 by Chris Rodriguez

First off I’d like to thank the Mayor, the City Council, and the City staff who have returned my calls about the situation out at the airport. I also want to commend them on doing the right thing and stopping the movement of the airport beacon. It is a step, hopefully the first of many, in the right direction.

For those that don’t know me, my name Chris Rodriguez. I base my plane out at Vance Brand Airport. Recently I was the target for threats and insults by an angry neighbor to the north of the airport.

This is a story of “the good of the one over the good of the many”, and Customer Service gone awry. The one is Mr. Zweck, a non-Longmont resident, and outspoken opponent of pilots and the airport. The many are the users of Vance Brand Airport, some of which have leases that state the City agree that the Lessee may quietly have and hold and enjoy the leased premises. How and why does a non-resident rate higher in the City’s eyes than paying leaseholders, and users who pay airport use and sales tax as well as gas tax?

Whether the City agrees with the following position or not, it is the opinion of many that the City has gone too far in its appeasement of Mr. Zweck. Yet the question keeps coming up, how much farther will they go? By the increasingly violent tone of his statements, it seems that he has had his way for so long with the City that he believes he is above the law and can say anything, and the City will do anything he wants.

Who else do you know that can menace, trespass, harass, and threaten yet not be charged with anything, only a written warning? Is this lenience shown evenly? If my son walked into his school and told some students and teachers they “should be shot”, how much lenience would be shown then? Luckily he’s only 8 and has no police record, so it shouldn’t be taken as seriously as someone who has a long history of threats and insults, and according to at least one person in the City has admitted he may need “psychiatric help.”

Why does the Police department black out his name on the police report, yet print all the victims names, phone numbers, and addresses?

Who approves the spending of our money on Mr. Zweck? Does the City Manager and Director of Community Development answer to anyone on the spending of these funds?

How much has been spent on Mr. Zweck? The blacked out lights, the lights taken down, the moving of the airport beacon, the binoculars, the camcorder? What else is there?

What does Mr. Zweck hold over the City to make them go to these lengths for him?
I heard that Mr. Zweck called Mr. Pedrow at 11pm and had him come out to his farm at that late hour to watch a helicopter fly by. This sure doesn’t sound normal.

What is it going to take for the City to once and for all end this charade?

Public embarrassment? Press coverage beyond Longmont? Votes or positions lost? What? Is this non-Longmont resident really worth it?

I, among others, demand the following: 1) a full financial audit of any activities involving the City and Mr. Zweck, 2) all lights at the airport and public works building turned back on or reinstalled, 3) the return of any equipment given or loaned to Mr. Zweck, 4) the deletion of the Noise Abatement Procedure from the Airport Master Plan and a reopening of discussions on it from the ground up considering the greater good and not just the whims of a few residents, 5) an end to any future activity like the above, and 6) a written apology to the users and business’s on the airport, and the people of Longmont, for the gross mishandling of this situation to be run in the Daily Times-Call.

Just looking for some accountability here. It’s one thing to not know right from wrong, it’s another all together to know, yet pick the wrong road to go down, over and over again. There needs to be a paradigm shift, a break from the company line. Which elected or appointed official will do the right thing? Talk is cheap, no one needs to hear anymore slick political posturing, we’re not that stupid. Your actions will convey your true colors.
We’re all watching and waiting. Thank you.

About Chris Rodriguez

Chris is the editor/publisher of LightningRod Blog - as well as founder/editor of Wrongmont, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, Longmont Politics, the LightningRod Radio Network, as well as being the original Longmont Examiner. Chris is a writer and talker - whether it be blogs, podcasts, music, or public speaking. When he's not heard on Air Traffic radio, he can be heard on his podcasts or seen in the local paper causing trouble.
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