Historical Map of Corruption PBCo
Date: Saturday, January 01, 2011 @ 13:30:46 EST
Topic: Editorials


The Pathology of Corruption

What could be more odious to the public than being forced to cover the cost of bailing out Wall Street Bankers who bankrupted the whole country? Or what about the greatest environmental disaster in the world with government regulators in bed with the oil companies?

We’ve come to accept that thievery and corruption have no limits as to the scale and depravity on which corruption can operate right under our noses. And you have to ask, why did it take ten years for anything to happen after someone first blew the whistle? Where was the media? Where were the watch dog agencies that were supposed to protect the public? Where was the prosecution of legal remedy? So you might think this is only endemic to the Federal government? Think again.

What about a local governing board that establishes ground rules to protect the public from a known threat and its own agency of government that was supposed to secure these critical protections for the public …countermands the governing board and promotes the financial interests of a corporation against the people ...and ten years of public suffering result? That’s not too small is it? Especially when you multiply ten years times a thousand households affected.

And let’s not forget the big ticket item that bears the heaviest cost to the public… the apathy generated by these events that depletes public faith in our system of government as communities are forced to accept the abuse they were supposed to be protected from.

And so, here’s what we have:



Fifteen years ago, we have the County licensing a non compatible, highly destructive, and inappropriate use of Lantana airport while acknowledging that the airport was unsuited for helicopter training schools. It is argued that the County had to allow this because of Federal Grant requirements… but the Federal Grant Assurance Agreement does not support that conclusion.

The County Commission issues rules and guidelines for helicopter training schools designed to protect the public from helicopters training over their homes and families but these protections are only in effect IF the Tenant training schools are willing to cooperate with the voluntary good neighbor rules.

Curiously enough, the County has no back up or contingency plan to provide protection to the public in the event the schools decide not to comply. So, what appears to be a great experiment in trusting a corporation to care for and protect the public… gets under way.

Within a short time, helicopters are training all over the place exactly where the County asked them not to train and when the public complains… the County DOA (Department of Airports) steps in and blames the FAA, throws up their hands and says, ‘there’s nothing we can do’ and does nothing to seek compliance from helicopter schools ...effectively forcing the public to accept the daily abuse of their rights, their sense of security, their concentration, their quality of life, and their wellbeing.

The assault on the public quality of life continues for ten years as lives are turned upside down with the Tenant training schools insisting on training where they’re not supposed to… right smack over people’s homes and families where the County pleaded with them not to.

Of course, other schools, operators and pilots simply follow the example set by the Tenant training school as they could see the Tenant was given the green light by the DOA to train over the communities and experienced no consequences for their defiance of the rules.

The Commission’s efforts to protect the public became little more than a passing joke and quickly vanished from consideration which in turn was the product of the DOA permitting and regulating the very activity the rules attempted to prevent.

The Tenant continues dictating policy to his Landlord the County as to where he will train and the County Commission is duped into believing they have no right to interfere. Apparently, Commissioners did not check the Federal Grant Assurance Agreement to see that they do have rights they can exercise. Nobody dares think outside the box since DOA staff is adamant and hence the public is left exposed to the abuse.

During the past ten years, the public never learns about the County’s good neighbor guidelines that helicopters are not supposed to be training over their homes and families. Although this information is withheld from the public, it is distributed occasionally to pilots who can easily see that these guidelines are not to be taken seriously, everyone ignores them, and there are no consequences for ignoring them. Non Compliance is universal and public suffering increases with the huge annual increases in unregulated helicopter activity over the communities. Mayhem ensues.

Not knowing their rights and entitled protection and after years of pleading for relief unsuccessfully, the public resolves to suffer quietly as they have been continually told ‘there’s nothing you can do.’ DOA complaint lines are left inoperative for months at a time causing a drop in complaints, and residents learn that nothing is done about the complaints anyway.

So complaints dwindle to a minimum and the DOA claims success as the airport appears to be at peace with its neighbors having only a few complaints. And with only a few complaints, plans to expand helicopter operations can then proceed and hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent in planning for the expansion and it becomes part of the master plan.

Not a nickel is ever spent studying the impact on the public and unrest continues as $120,000 is spent on studying helicopters by a consulting firm handpicked by the DOA that facilitates, designs, and advocates for airport expansion. Inadvertently, the study (page 21) includes a stack of radar traces which shows the helicopters in complete and total non compliance, proving the plight of the people is still a reality... but no one pays attention.

So for ten years the public suffers, never knowing the helicopters were not supposed to be training over their homes and families. And why would they anticipate any relief after being constantly reminded by the DOA ‘there’s nothing you can do.’ Like the WWII concentration camps, cooperation from inmates was facilitated with statements on the gates that said… ‘in here, is the end of hope.’

Then last March 2010, a resident pilot published the County guidelines showing for the first time, the good neighbor standards the County Commission established in behalf of the public, standards it had expected of the Tenant training school. The County had even used the word PLEASE and had pleaded with its Tenant training school to comply with the rules. The DOA refuses to post this document on their website… the first strong indication that something is wrong in the leadership of that department.

With the DOA blocking, stifling, and preventing any flow of information that would help the public move forward with a solution… it then takes expensive equipment, Commercial pilot experience, a Petition signing campaign netting 230 signatures; and nine months of full time effort, a thousand fully documented reports, speaking to the County Commission, filing a Freedom of Information case with the State Attorney’s office, to apply enough pressure to get one little key piece of information to leak out of DOA secrecy.

But this little piece of information revealed all the duplicity, deception, and corruption of purpose that has served the financial interests of the helicopter training school(s) so well. And it shows how the DOA set itself upon the people to force them to accept the abuse the Commission tried to prevent …never advising the public that the Commission had provided protection, never advising them that the DOA itself was responsible for permitting and regulating the very activity the public was complaining about.

And it showed the DOA was encouraging the public to take the time to file complaints while the DOA used that information to perpetuate public suffering by helping the Tenant target which neighborhoods he would then train over and which ones he would grant relief to.

And the public, believing they were participating in a legitimate corrective process by filing complaints, were never made aware that their complaints were only serving to extend their suffering and were being used to aid the Tenant training school in extending and continuing his training over the communities. No long term correction was being sought. Thus the DOA induced the public to participate in a fraudulent process in which complaints were being received by the very government agency causing the complaints. Thus the people were participating in a process which only aided in furthering their suffering.

The DOA has yet to produce a single scrap of documentation showing it ever made an effort to gain compliance to the County’s rules from helicopter operators which is what the Commission expected.

Next installment soon







This article comes from Lake Worth Media
http://www.lakeworthmedia.com

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