Officials blame FAA and helicopter schools for disturbing the public
Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 @ 23:52:39 EST
Topic: Lantana

Officials blame FAA and helicopter schools

January 17th Casandra Davis (standing) noise abatement officer, and Jerry Allen Deputy Director of the department face strong criticism from residents of five surrounding communities of the airport fed up with helicopter schools routinely violating County 'good neighbor' standards and insisting on training over people's homes and families. The meeting quickly heated up when the question came up as to why the DOA (Department of Airports) after ten years... hasn't managed to gain an ounce of compliance from helicopter schools to the County's 'good neighbor' guidelines.

CLICK HERE FOR 1:08 video of the meeting

Commentary - After ignoring a thousand fully and accurately documented reports of helicopters violating County 'good neighbor' standards, the DOA (Department of Airports Palm Beach County)stated that Palm Beach Helicopters [the Tenant training school responsible for a 4 to 1 majority of those complaints/reports] was not going to respond to any complaints filed by William Coakley but... would respond to any complaint filed by anyone else. No mention of why the DOA took eight months to tell Mr Coakley... while he filed hundreds of complaints in behalf of residents who were not equipped, trained, nor did they have the vantage point in order to fully document and meet DOA requirements for reporting a violation. Residents counted on Mr Coakley to help them.

So apparently while the DOA was encouraging the public to participate and report what they saw... the "content and accuracy" of those reports wasn't even considered...the only qualification required to process the report was "who" filed it and that policy was dictated by the helicopter school.

After the meeting, one resident said, "Since when does government allow the offending corporation to pick and choose which complaints about their activity will be counted and followed up upon and which ones won't? That's letting the fox guard the chickens."

When Ms Davis reported this at the meeting, the Board of Directors of the Lake Osborne Civic Association quickly responded to Ms Davis and Mr Allen stating that it should be made clear that Mr Coakley was their President and they fully supported him and that like it or not the DOA and the schools would have to deal with him.

Throughout the meeting, the DOA maintained its well established tradition of blaming the FAA and helicopter schools for everything. This loop observed many times by older residents, leads to forcing the public to negotiate with the helicopter school for relief that never comes for more than a few weeks. And thus the process begins all over again... with the same issues, the same suffering, and the same players.

The DOA simply green lights the violations by not insisting on compliance, keeping their actions secret despite Sunshine Law, helping the schools move the training to the next unsuspecting neighborhood when residents become irrate, refusing to incentivize compliance, refusing to implement any consequences for non compliance, and by not notifying the Commission that the Tenant is failing to cooperate and thereby causing harm to the communities in violation of the agreement (referred to by Jerry Allen in the video) the schools consumated with the County.

The prevailing attitude of the department is best reflected by a insensitive statement from its leader Mr Pelly. "It's an airport. Helicopter training is allowed. Helicopters make noise."

But Mr Pelly forgot to mention that there isn't supposed to be any helicopter training around the airport according to the agreement with the schools. That agreement was designed to protect the people and carries the County Seal on it. What about his obligation to protect the public by gaining compliance to these rules the Commission established to protect the public... rules that he's had ten years to secure compliance to his department continues to use the same old worn out excuses for failure.

Perhaps most annoying to residents is the callous attitude of expecting the public to just sit down and take the abuse as if it is accepted practice. And it's this insensivity and arrogance toward human suffering caused by allowing helicopters to daily assault the communities... that is most disturbing and offensive to the public who has to deal with Mr Pelly's less than stellar performance record and his strong advocacy for corporate over public interests.

For example, the presentation to the Commission that the Tenant training school are the good guys and its outsiders and "rogue pilots" creating the problem. Obviously, Mr Pelly doesn't know what's going on at his airport.

So rather than getting at solving the problem and seeking compliance which would give the people rest ...the violation of the rules is simply shuffled from one neighborhood to another with the DOA looking on and helping out. And the problem is allowed to perpetuate by carefully maintaining this status quo in which the weakest link in the food chain (the public) becomes like the battered wife who is told by the court, 'there's nothing we can do' so you'll have to go back and just accept the beatings.

Thus the problem mysteriously never gets solved and anyone trying to shift the balance of power back in favor of the public is labeled an extremist or whacko who should be ignored.

It's easy to see that the lawlessness created by government looking the other way and allowing its rules to be broken; coincidentally serves corporate interests which makes sense since it is the public who is usually easiest to bully around.

So this reversal of roles whereby the public is expected to do the DOA's job and is forced into negotiating what the County Commission already has entitled the public to receive... and forcing the public to try and reach for that carrot of relief from the helicopter schools ...that didn't pass with residents who admonished the DOA questioning the waste of taxpayer money to fund a department that can't find a way to do anything but blame others for its failure to protect the people.

Mr Allen stated that helicopter schools agreed to abide by the rules, but the DOA was powerless to get them to comply. Well, one thing is certain... their bosses, the County Commission did fully anticipate the DOA would carry out their obligations of office which includes protecting the public and carrying out the express will of the Commission as the County Seal does appear on these written standards and guidelines the County established to protect the public from helicopter training over their homes and families.

Maybe the only thing that needs to happen now is for the Commission to realize there is a solution ...but that it probably won't come from the DOA who is thus far intent only on maintaining the status quo and forcing the communities back into their cage of misery. Hopefully, the Commission will listen to the people. MORE TO COME INCLUDING AN ANNOTATED VERSION OF THE MEETING

This article comes from Lake Worth Media

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