This is an open letter to our elected officials.
A very disturbing situation has come to my attention and has prompted me to reveal the circumstances before anything tragic may occur. It has to do with the activities of the Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters and their proximity to the Schellville airport (“Leland Fishes for Modified Use Permit,” May 15). First, let me state that I am an avid fisherman and also a successful participant in the entrepreneurial pursuit of wine production for the last 36 years. I applaud individuals that engage in their passions and successfully create an enterprise that will support them. However, not in a rogue manner and, certainly, not when it could potentially endanger others.
After searching the history of the aforementioned Fishing Outfitters, I discovered that the original application to the Permit and Resource Management Department filed by them in 2004 was denied. Yet, the proprietors went ahead with their plans. To date, they have built a fishing “pond” directly in the line of the landing strip for the airport. They continued to stock the pond with fish, after stating that they would never put fish in the pond. Remember, no permit was granted for the activities.
Do you know what fish attract? Birds. Do you know what causes most airplane accidents in this country? Birds. Just ask “Sully” Sullenberger, currently of Air Safety and Reliability Consulting. Oh, an also the United States hero and retired commercial pilot.
It amazes me that the City and County allow such blatant disregard for the law and safety for human life. Just for a moment, imagine a pilot landing a plane at the Schellville airport and fatally crashing because of a spooked flock of birds? Imagine the survivors look for closure in the courtrooms. Who do you think would be held responsible besides the ownership of the Outfitters? The County. Because it would be discovered in the investigation that the City and County allowed the activities to endure after declining permission. Could be costly, yet it is avoidable with the right actions now. Do your duty and uphold your decisions from 2004.
I know that this may be talking into a teapot, so I have decided to also take this campaign to Facebook and educate other citizens to the situation and build a larger social media exposure. I have full confidence our elected officials will do the right thing.
Jeff McBride Sebastopol