Councilman Robert Henley's letter of Aug. 6, in a style that characterizes so much political discourse today, is long on allegations of "inaccuracies", "mischaracterization", "bias", "misrepresentations", etc., but is singularly lacking in specifics. If blowing smoke were the measure of a man, Henley's diatribe ranks right up there with the Marlboro Man. Let me respond to his key points, such as they are:
1. Recusing himself from voting on issues where he has said he has "a heck of a lot of money invested up there and three airplanes sitting in a hangar" is first and foremost an ethical issue. Most elected officials realize where they have ethical conflicts of interest long before they become legal issues.
2. Sam Streichman may have provided Henley with legal opinions concerning the two letters requesting that he recuse himself on the airport-industrial park sound issue, but the town attorney neglected to advise the two letter writers, CBPG and The Door Stop, of his opinions. We're pleased to know he did respond, and we will be seeking copies.
3. The ADOT presentation, at which Henley made clear his vested interest, concerned so-called "though the fence access," which allows the councilman and other residents to taxi their planes from the confines of the airport through the industrial park to their nearby homes and attached hangars. Both ADOT and the FAA continue to view "through the fence access" and the lax security at west end of Payson Municipal Airport as safety and security risks, more so since 9/11.
4. The CBPG survey (which Henley charges with unspecified "misrepresentations") asked pointed questions, to be sure. Far more important, however, were the number and quality of responses from Payson area residents, who took the time to cut the survey out of the Roundup, address envelopes, append 37-cent stamps, and on perhaps two-thirds of the surveys express their own thoughts very powerfully. The survey clearly touched raw nerves, not favorable to the position of Henley and his neighbors. Perhaps that's why CBPG is the target of Henley's sanctimonious smokescreen.
5. As for Henley's characterization of CBPG as a "biased lobby" with a "personal agenda" (more innuendoes without facts), many of us think that's a perfect description of him, and his role on the council -- the private pilots' lobbyist. Unfortunately, he was elected "at large" to represent the whole town, even on airport issues. As for CBPG itself, we suggest readers draw their own opinions by viewing our website, betterpayson.org. Then, if you'd like to know more about CBPG or join its efforts, let us know.
Don Crowley, Co-chair, Citizens for Better Payson Government