...Airport Battles Loom In Florida, California, Too

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Miller isn't the only civic politician with an anti-airport platform. In Naples, Fla., city council candidate William Willkomm III says he'd like to see the city's airport, a popular bizjet destination, converted into a high-tech industrial park with on-site schools to turn out skilled workers for the businesses that set up there. In Concord, Calif., pilots are worried a secret deal to carve up their airport could be rubber-stamped at a Board of Supervisors' meeting Dec. 9. Meanwhile, commissioners in Collier County, Fla., appear to have backed off on a plan to close Everglades Airpark. The arguments go something like this: "I'm just coming up with a better use for the half-billion dollars of real estate that is paid for, owned by us," Willkomm told the Naples Daily News regarding his plans for the Florida airport.

And, although he says he has nothing against those who use the airport, he doesn't think they'll miss it much when it's gone because there are three others nearby. "It means they get in their limousines and have one more martini," he said. The Mount Diablo Pilots Association and Friends of Concord Airport are rallying in support of their California airport. And in the everglades, antagonists appeared to relent after AOPA reminded them they'd have to pay back the FAA grants they'd used for airport improvements and the city of Everglades threatened to take over operation of the airport if the county's proposal went any further.