LETTER: Reader on Port of Seattle airport expansion: ‘Its a locust; not a plane’

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Inaction by the Port of Seattle continues to damage Burien. Their latest fiasco is a massive expansion plan gone awry, sending planes roaring overhead in Burien.

We can turn this situation around by doing absolutely nothing.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
Abusive neighbors are best dealt with through effective boundaries. Insisting overflights stop before anymore Inter-local agreements are signed will motivate them. Returning to their previous North South flight patterns should be a first step in a comprehensive settlement with the Port.

Port expansion plans require Inter-local Agreements to tie into our infrastructure for more natural gas, water, electricity, sewers, etc. They need us; we don’t need them.

The Port continues to entice the City with promises of sending us business. Economic Justice is a myth. They have no Statutory Authority to force any business to move into Burien. Their encouragement doesn’t hold much water either. Proof of this can be seen in the high rise hotels dominating Burien’s skyline.

The Bondman Cometh
Bondholders rely on the Port’s Prospectus to evaluate risk vs. reward: they don’t like surprises. Bondholders are risk averse. They accept low returns in exchange for predictability and security. The Port took on more business than it could handle. That is a mismanagement issue.

Only the Port, Airlines and the FAA can fix this problem of overflights. To date, nothing but excuses have occurred. Without our support, Port expansion will stall. As their projects fall behind schedule, risk will rise. Rising risks will inflate rates and have political consequences for the Port Commissioners.

The Port is a financial house of cards. It is only maintained through our willingness to accept their absurd demands. Declining to submit to their whims forces the Port to face the ire of the Bondholder. As funding dries up the airplanes flying over Burien will go elsewhere.

The Prospectus vs Reality
Currently, the tarmac and airspace around Sea-Tac looks like a scene out of “It’s a Mad Mad World.” Everyone is pushing and shoving and going nowhere fast. This is something I would expect of an adolescent; not operators of multimillion dollar aircraft, nor the operators of this airfield.

We can help the Port become responsible by handling ourselves responsibly. If they continue to blame others for their mismanagement, we should expect them to answer questions relating to their expansion plans:

  • Why did they expand faster than their Master Plan projections?
  • Did the FAA advise them prior to overflights that the Port was at capacity for normal North South aircraft landings and departures?
  • Are they financially stable? Specifically, can they meet their debt service if they return to the previous North South landing and takeoff pattern?

If the Port continues to act irresponsibly on overflights, two possible scenarios are:

  1. New Port Commissioners are elected and situation is turned around.
  2. Bondholders pull the plug, pushing the Port into involuntary Chapter 9 reorganization.

Raising legitimate questions about the discrepancy between the Prospectus and reality brings the Bondholders into the picture.. The Port has a large debt service. Detailing Port misrepresentation raises the risk of non-payment to an actionable level from the Bondholders

I believe it’s time for resolution. I propose Burien contact the SEC to downgrade the Port’s Bond Rating to Junk status if misrepresentation, mismanagement and overflights continue.

– Dick West

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11 Responses to “LETTER: Reader on Port of Seattle airport expansion: ‘Its a locust; not a plane’”
  1. Tme to move on says:

    All well stated Mr. West. Sadly all that can be said about the ‘adolescent behavior’ of the port can also be said about our town council. If we have to rely on them to represent us, we are doomed.

  2. Question Authority says:

    The striking problem with this scenario is the Port has virtually no property within the Burien City limits. Their infrastructure needs primarily fall on the Cities of SeaTac and Normandy Park and therefore why would they concern themselves with Burien. In addition the Port has many different lines of business away from SeaTac and revenue from those to carry costs above and beyond. They owe Burien nothing and trying to get commercial business to buy in under the flight path is going to be a hard sell given the lack of existing infrastructure of a size unable to meet those needs so dream on that Burien has much sway over SeaTac.

    • Time to move on says:

      QA, so are you in essence saying that the council should not be taking pictures with their shiny new shovels at the ground breaking of the new cold storage plant? Or, putting in the ground water treatment facility, or receiving Fed Grants for the proposed light industrial park and improved intersections to accommodate port traffic to and from the cold storage plant? That none of that is happening within Burien city limits? Burien will not receive any tax revenue from the cold storage plant? Hmm this is worse than I thought!!

  3. no says:

    Yes. Let’s force a public agency and a large economic development agency with a 15bn footprint into bankruptcy. That will have zero impacts on the Burien economy. Maybe all those ground level employees at the airport can take a cut in pay, including security. Mr. West, you are wasting your talent here–you should try brain surgery.

  4. Elizabeth Donovan says:

    Alaska Airline could be contacted. They will not want bad publicity. The planes go over my home on 22 Ave SW. You cannot have a phone conversation on your patio. They are not only noisy , but turning abruptly at a low altitude could be deadly if a plane has a serious problem. The North and South areas were maid safer by removing homes with this 3 rd runway they only have homes, schools and people to destroy in case of a major incident.
    I will gladly invite Alaska leaders to,come sit on my deck. They can bring their cell phones on a nice day and listen and look at their flights over my house . I’ll serve coffee while they wait for the flights. They can drive around Seahurst and Burien to see how it’s dangerous for our community.

    • anonymous says:

      I agree with tour opinion. I am under their shadow. I can see every detail of the planes on both sides from my yard on 4th avenue, I am quite irritated with the increase, at times the planes are louder than my radio turned al the way up. I loved to watch the planes from the runway, but now I am starting to hate these planes.

  5. Out here on the edge... says:

    Maybe some tweets to Russell Wilson about not being able to stay awake to watch the games after so much lost sleep caused by Alaska’s new noisy flight path would get the ‘Alaska Football Captain’ and thus Alaska’s attention. 🙂

  6. seatac says:

    the airport is set to chop down nearly 3,000 trees in the next few months.
    some of these trees are in Burien.
    will everyone just sit down and let it happen?


    • anonymous says:

      I hate the thought of just letting it happen, some of those trees were memorials, family, considered endangered, or even protected.

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