Thursday, July 5, 2012

Congress bungles noise restrictions

This Editorial was in the AZ Republic (AKA-The Repugnant) today.

As with the most of the Lame Stream Media, their bias is on full display. 

The ISSUE here (Not mentioned by the Sierra Club, tree-hugging sympaticos) is JOBS. There is an industry of aircraft (Both fixed wing and helicopters) 
that transport tourists and visitors over the Canyon and Lake Mead. Had the tree-huggers got their way, those flights would have been banned. 
Luckily, I got to hear Dr Gosar (Their Arch-enemy here) speak last Saturday. By defeating these noise restrictions by a bureaucratic arm of the government,
FIVE HUNDRED yearly jobs were saved. 


It's a bipartisan flop that elevates narrow desires above majestic goals.
How majestic? Think Grand Canyon.
Think silence as profound as the scenery. Think legacy to the future. Not just Arizona's. Not just America's
When you're talking about stewardship of one of the world's natural wonders, you're talking on a global scale. Arizona's pride. Nation's treasure. World-class tourism attraction.
Too bad Congress got sucked into thinking on a much smaller scale.
Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Harry Reid made a bipartisan blunder in shortcutting a Park Service process to restore natural quiet to the Grand Canyon. They backed legislation -- inserted into the huge transportation bill -- that supersedes the Park Service's yet-to-be-released noise regulations. The measure was pushed in the House by GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, who referred to congressional interference as an effort to stop the "Obama administration's misguided regulations."
Wrong. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that recognized the value of limiting air tours for the sake of safety and restoring quiet to the Canyon. McCain sponsored the 1987 bill that called for "substantial restoration" of natural quiet.
The Park Service was acting on values first articulated in that law, and new regulations for the air-tour industry were nearly complete.
This was the conclusion of a long process. Nearly 30,000 comments from individuals and groups were reviewed and considered. The plan allowed up to 65,000 air tours a year. It also included incentives for transitioning to quieter air technology.
It was a balance between the desires of the air-tour industry and the nation's interest in restoring natural quiet to the Canyon. The draft released in February allowed no audible aircraft in 67 percent of the park from 75 to 100 percent of each day.
The law backed by McCain and Reid sets a goal of no aircraft noise in 50 percent of the park at least 75 percent of each day. That is the status quo. Under the law, commercial air-tour operators are required to fully convert to quiet technology within 15 years. Incentives to achieve that switchover include permission to run more flights.
Grand Canyon air tours are a $120 million-a-year industry with ties to Arizona and Nevada (some are part of Las Vegas package deals that bring nothing but noise and pollution into our state). Commercial interests deserve fair consideration, and jobs are important. But when it comes to an industry that exists solely because it can offer flights over a premier national park, the best interests of the public resource should trump private profit.
Congress should have let the experts at the Park Service do their job. By putting their bipartisan thumbs on the scale in favor of the air-tour operators, members of Congress showed little respect for the Canyon or the process set up to protect it.


Our goals for achieving natural quiet in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon Trust will continue to work on natural quiet issues to ensure that...
  • The negative impacts to natural quiet from low-level air tours and other aircraft are  minimized by the adoption of new regulations that “substantially restore natural quiet” to Grand Canyon National Park, as required by the Grand Canyon Overflights Act.
  • The NPS selects a preferred alternative that substantially restores natural quiet to the Grand Canyon.
  • The FAA adopts regulations to implement that alternative.
  • The NPS continues to monitor aircraft noise over the Grand Canyon.

We’ve already accomplished much.

The Trust has participated with the National Parks and Conservation AssociationSierra Club, and other “quiet canyon” advocates in reviewing and commenting on proposed plans and new regulations to restore “natural quiet” to the Grand Canyon. Our major accomplishments have included:
  • Helping pass the 1987 National Parks Overflights Act.
  • Initiating a series of legal actions to enforce the law.
  • Blocking attempts by legislators funded by the air-tour-industry to amend the 1987 Act and to remove NPS authority to regulate noise from air tours. 

National Park Overflights (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) 


In an attempt to address the controversy surrounding overflight regulations, the Secretaries of Transportation and Interior appointed a National Park Overflights Working Group (NPOWG) comprised of representatives of the aviation industry, air tour industry, environmental groups, and Native Americans. The NPOWG was charged with recommending a compromise park overflights rule. The group included AOPA's Senior Vice President for Government and Technical Affairs as the representative for general aviation.
The NPOWG successfully forged a compromise that formed a solid foundation for the FAA to develop an overflight rule, which addresses the needs of aviators, tour operators, and tourists who enjoy the national parks from the air and the ground. A proposal based on the work of the NPOWG was subsequently incorporated into the FAA's FY 2000 reauthorization legislation, AIR-21. On April 27, 2001, the FAA in collaboration with the National Park Service, released its NPRM on National Parks Air Tour Management[requires Adobe Reader].
The NPRM proposes to codify the National Parks Air Tour Management Act and it mirrors the NPOWG recommendations with one exception. It includes a proposal for a 5,000-foot-agl triggering altitude to complete the definition of a "commercial air tour operation." This proposed triggering altitude conflicts with the 3,000-foot triggering altitude reached in the NPOWG. In the NPOWG AOPA advocated for a 2,000-foot triggering altitude to complete the definition. Our advocacy efforts were done in consideration of current guidelines that call for GA aircraft to overfly environmentally sensitive areas at 2,000 feet or more. After additional discussion within the working group, the Association compromised with an altitude of 3,000 feet. This altitude is in concert with VFR cruising altitudes as established by the Code of Federal Aviation Regulations 91.159, VFR cruising altitude or flight level.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Club for Greed

I think everyone that sees any television here in Arizona -at all- has been bombarded with the ad that states "WILL CARDON IS AN IMPOSTER-he says he is a Conservative, but he advocated raising gas taxes" 

For a long time, there was no identity about WHO made the ad, or what --if any-- source material was used. 

I finally found that the Club for Growth (AKA Club for Greed) was behind it.  These people support the Bush family. They push for " Cheap Labor", that is, Illegal Aliens that can't complain when they get paid less than minimum wage. 

SB1070 Update: Tea Party split on immigration

by David Safier
Tom Tancredo admits, the tea party is split on immigration and SB1070. The more pro-immigration, libertarian wing of the TP-ers want to shut the hell up about immigration, since they know it's a wedge issue in the TP ranks. The Tancredo wing wants to shout their anti-immigrant rhetoric from the rooftops. 
Tancredo is not pleased with Dick Armey.
. . . the national Tea Party Patriots, which is affiliated with Richard Armey's Washington, D.C.-based Freedom Works organization, has been vocal and systematic in excluding immigration-related concerns from its "Contract from America." Touted as a grass-roots poll of tea-party members, the poll from its inception has barred any attempt to add immigration concerns to the poll's menu of issues.
Tancredo is also not fond of the libertarian strain of the right wing, and he names names:
[A] group of tea-party leaders who have fought the inclusion of immigration in the tea-party agenda are open-borders libertarians who support amnesty. They are folks found at Freedom Works, the Club for Growth and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.
And he issues a warning.
Local tea-party activists from California to Florida and from Idaho to Massachusetts now see the immigration issue the same way 71 percent of Arizona citizens see it – as a matter of national security, public safety and fiscal necessity. They want their legislators to enact Arizona-style laws in their own states, and they join 88 percent of Americans in saying they want more border security.
Self-proclaimed tea-party leaders in Washington, D.C., who want to deny or obstruct this new tea-party consensus do so at their peril.
I hope Democrats are aware of this split in the right wing ranks over immigration. Tancredo could have included Arizona's own Goldwater Institute in the list of conservative groups whose libertarian tendencies have kept them tight-lipped about somewhat pro-immigration stance, for fear of alienating other right wingers. (In the case of G.I., of course, the greatest fear is alienating their donor base and jeopardizing their cushy 6 figure salaries.)

Hawkins Calls Club For Growth “Special Interest Group”; “Sinister”

APRIL 30, 2010 16:04 PM

    Press Release from Lee Hawkins responding to the Club For Growth ad being discussed here.
    Prepare for Jason Pye’s head to explode in 3…2…1…
    Sen. Lee Hawkins Condemns
    Special Interest Group working with Graves
    Outside groups attempting to falsely influence Georgia voters
    (Gainesville)—A Washington special interest has launched an expensive, false television advertising campaign to assist their endorsed candidate, Tom Graves, and damage State Sen. Lee Hawkins’ bid for Congress.
    The television ad from “Club for Growth” claims Hawkins opposes the repeal of President Obama’s recently passed national healthcare reform package.
    The false advertising fails to mention that Hawkins is campaigning daily on repealing Obamacare, as well as Hawkins airing TV commercials calling for repealing Obamacare.
    Dr. Hawkins is a dentist and former President of the Georgia Dental Association. As a professional health care practitioner, Dr. Hawkins has led effort in Georgia to stop Obamacare.
    Graves has no experience in health care whatsoever.
    “There is something much more sinister here,” said Dr. Hawkins. “This is a Washington special group which supports opening our borders for illegal immigration. Graves Washington buddies oppose immigration reform and want you to elect a weak career politician they can control like Tom Graves.”
    “Georgia voters won’t be fooled by D.C. special interest groups trying to force their candidate onto north Georgia voters.”
    “It’s just a falsehood from a big D.C. establishment special interest group,” said Dr. Hawkins.”
    Full disclosure, I have endorsed and written a check to Tom Graves. I also have acknowledged that I believe this is a two man race between Graves and Hawkins, with Stephens and Tarvin playing spoilers.
    That said, I have to question the “unique” strategy that the Hawkins campaign is running. While they have a distinct geographic advantage in this district, they continue to do things that seem to generate negative media. Calling the JOBS bill authored by Graves a sham when it received overwhelming Republican support in both the house and the Senate was interesting. Calling the uber-conservative Club For Growth a sinister Washington special interest group is another.
    Team Hawkins doesn’t appear to be playing to their strenght here, and also seems to be giving his enemies ammunition and new targets on his back.
    Wed Feb. 16, 2011 

    Jeff Flake's Immigration Problem

    The Arizona Republican has been a leading moderate voice on immigration, drawing fire from his party's right flank. Will he survive a Senate primary?

    Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) hadn't even announced his bid for retiring Sen. Jon Kyl's Senate seat when the first press releases attacking his unusually moderate views on immigration hit the newswires. Just after 1 a.m. on Monday—more than 12 hours before Flake officially launched his campaign—anti-immigration group Numbers USA blasted out a statementdenouncing the congressman as "the Top Republican Amnesty Pusher in U.S. House." Networking hub quickly posted the attack on its site.
    Facing similar slams on immigration, Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have flip-flopped and swerved to the right on the issue. But in an interview with Mother Jones Tuesday, Flake held fast to his previous views on immigration and suggested that he'll campaign as a social moderate—regardless of any blowback from the right.

    In 2006 and 2007, Flake co-authored theSTRIVE Act, an immigration reform bill that included a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants. When asked on Tuesday by Mother Jones whether he'd still support a pathway to legalization, Flake soft-pedaled his response but defended his previous views on immigration. "I've always felt that, like I said, nearly half of those who are here illegally didn't sneak across the border. They came legally and have overstayed. So border security is the number one item, but you've got to do other things as well," Flake said in an interview just off the House floor.
    When pressed to clarify whether such measures would include a pathway for legalization, Flake agreed that "some mechanism" was necessary. "We've dealt with it before with a provision that required [undocumented immigrants] to go home and register," Flake said, appearing to refer to a provision in the STRIVE Act that would give qualified undocumented workers a six-year work visa—but also required them to "touch back" and return to their home countries before being able to become legal residents. The congressman emphasized, however, that "nothing else is going to move" until Congress does more to strengthen border security.
    Nevertheless, Flake's outspoken views put him at odds with national Republicans, many of whom have swung hard right on the issue since the failure of former president George W. Bush's immigration overhaul. Moreover, Flake's remarks draw a sharp contrast with fellow Arizonan McCain.
    Like Flake, McCain stepped forward during the Bush years to become one of the biggest champions of immigration reform, including a pathway to legalization. But challenged from the right in 2010 by ex-congressman J.D. Hayworth, McCain rapidlyretreated from his previous positions on immigration. He adopted a hard line on that issue—along with a host of others—during his Senate primary.
    Immigration hawks have already picked up on the contrast. "McCain abandoned his amnesty leadership and then distanced himself more from it in order to win re-election to the Senate in 2010," writes Numbers USA president Roy Beck. "But Rep. Flake has not recanted any of his boosterism for amnesties." And like McCain, Flake could face a primary challenge on the right. Hayworth has said he won't run in the race to replace Kyl, but the notorious Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, has been making noise about a possible campaign.
    Flake is beloved by some on the right for his fierce fiscal conservatism and opposition to earmarks: He's earned a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union and FreedomWorks, a national tea party ally, has alreadyendorsed him for Senate. But in Arizona, immigration hardliners have long set their sights on the congressman.
    Flake's 2010 primary opponent, Jeff Smith, hammered the congressman for calling Arizona's sweeping state-level immigration crackdown "imprudent." Flake crushed Smith in that primary, 64-35. But a statewide primary could leave him more vulnerable: 88 percent of registered Republican voters supported the state's harsh immigration law in a poll last year. Gov. Jan Brewer has kept the issue on the front burner, recently filing a countersuit against the federal government for its alleged failure to enforce immigration laws. (Flake declined to take a position on Brewer's suit, saying that he "hadn't had time to look at it." He also declined to comment on Arpaio's hard-charging immigration crackdowns.)
    While dodging some contentious questions, Flake seems confident on the whole that his views on immigration and other social issues are in line with Arizona voters. His support for Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act—which would protect LGBT workers—has brought on the wrath of social conservatives like the Concerned Women for America. When asked whether he still stood by such positions—and how he'd respond to such blowback—Flake simply stated: "As you might be able to tell, Arizona voters have a bit of a libertarian streak, an independent streak. I think they appreciate a politician who isn't lockstep in any one way."

    Suzy Khimm was a reporter in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones from March 2010 until June 2011. For more of her stories, click here. Follow her on Twitter here.