LETTER: Reader on Port of Seattle airport expansion: ‘Its a locust; not a plane’
[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:
- New Port Commissioners are elected and situation is turned around.
- 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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