City Council Representative Candidates

Josh Sprague, Edina City Council Candidate
Keeya Steel, Edina City Council Candidate
Kevin Staunton, Edina City Council Candidate
Jennifer Janovy, Edina City Council Candidate
Bob Stewart, Edina City Council Candidate
Gary Hansen, Eagan City Council Candidate
Herbert W. Perry, Richfield City Council Candidate
 

Josh Sprague, Edina City Council Candidate (back to candidate list)

1. What will you do, if elected, to address and support our concerns and goals? Provide specific steps and actions.

JS: On a federal level, I travelled to Washington D.C. this spring in my capacity as Council Member to advocate for changes in the FAA re-authorization bill that would require environmental review before RNAV is implemented in the future, and that would look at the adequacy of federal noise measurements, in light of current research on impacts from aviation noise and pollution. I also have advocated, and will continue to advocate, at a state level for a more strategic use of our state airport system that more evenly shares flights among the regional airports. I will continue to encourage our residents to stay informed about aviation issues, to regularly report noise complaints, and to advocate for the state and federal changes outlined above.

2. Do you support the MAC’s and Met Council’s Long-Term Comprehensive Plan for airport growth?

JS: The long-term plan including 40% growth is not tenable without a better understanding of the health impacts of aviation noise and pollution, and an operational plan that reflects that understanding through more equitable, and less concentrated, distribution of traffic throughout the region. If we combine the MSP growth trajectory with RNAV implementation on departures, we are in effect condemning entire neighborhoods and forcing them to shoulder the burden for others. That’s not right.

3. What is your vision for the MSP Airport growth and statewide airport growth?

JS: The growth is untenable without state and federal changes that reflect the region’s historic equitable distribution of airport traffic, and that respond to environmental impacts caused by aviation noise and pollution. Sustainable growth will require a more complete use of our regional airport system, and, if pursued, a context-sensitive and environmentally-sensitive implementation of RNAV for departures. It will also require a through review of current operations and runway use guided by these same principles. Finally, the state should look at expansion of other transit modes like high-speed rail that could take some of the regional traffic currently using the airline system.

4. What are your specific ideas for reducing noise and air pollution from airplanes in and out of the MSP Airport?

JS:

  • Better utilization of the state airport system;
  • More equitable use of the current runway system;
  • Better fleet mix among the major airlines a MSP that reduce toxic emissions and noise; and
  • Development of additional transportation options like high-speed rail that offer
  • alternatives to airline travel.


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Keeya Steel, Edina City Council Candidate (back to candidate list)

1. What will you do, if elected, to address and support our concerns and goals? Provide specific steps and actions.

KS:  As an Edina City Council member, I will work with MSP FairSkies Coalition to better educate Edina residents about FAA and MAC proposals and actions, and provide advocacy opportunities. I believe the City’s most effective role is to provide clear and timely communications on aviation issues to residents and I believe we have room for improvement. For example, the City’s aviation noise webpage has not been update since June 2013 and while the page explains RNAV, it does not list advocacy steps that may be taken. Transparency is also one of my top priorities for the City Council, so I will also be a strong proponent of increasing the transparency of MAC and the FAA as well.

2. Do you support the MAC’s and Met Council’s Long-Term Comprehensive Plan for airport growth?

KS:  As a former legislative assistant at the State Capitol, I have experiencing working across various levels of government and agencies in order to find solutions for local residents. I will develop relationships with key stakeholders in order to better understand all aspects of airport noise and identify workable solutions. I also will advocate for better data collection to measure aviation noise impacts.

3. What is your vision for the MSP Airport growth and statewide airport growth?

KS:  I believe we must take a balanced approach to airport noise, or as MSP Fair Skies puts it “smart growth”. While the airport provides many benefits for our community, the consequences of growth are taking a toll of residents’ quality of life. I believe redistributing flights to regional airports is one of the more politically feasible solutions. I also believe there are opportunities to restrict certain types of flights or aircraft that may be the most disruptive to residents.

4. What are your specific ideas for reducing noise and air pollution from airplanes in and out of the MSP Airport?

KS: In sum, airport noise and pollution reduction will require collaborative leadership and good communication. I am committed to working with MSP FairSkies to identify solutions and to help Edina residents effectively advocate for these solutions.

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Kevin Staunton, Edina City Council Candidate (back to candidate list)

In response to your request for my “position on the aviation noise problem around MSP,” I want to say at the outset that my remarks come from the perspective of a newcomer to the aviation noise issue. I will not pretend from this perspective to provide any “expertise” on this issue and feel like it would be presumptuous of me to claim to have “new ideas” that can “solve” this difficult issue. I offer, instead, to be a collaborative partner who is always willing to learn something new in the search for solutions that work for all of our communities.

In that spirit, I offer the following comments:

  • I am in complete support of your efforts to educate our communities regarding this issue. Having watched your videos, I can say I am better informed for having reviewed them and expect that is true for others as well. The conversation about potential solutions will be a better one if it is informed by facts and your work to date provides stakeholders with facts that enhance the chance of finding solutions.
  • I believe having an airport near our communities provides a benefit to all of us and that the burdens associated with that benefit should be shared equitably.
  • We should base our efforts to address airport noise issues on solid data. Accordingly, I am in support of efforts to gather objective information about noise levels throughout our communities so that we can know how, if at all, noise levels are changing over time.
  • This issue is an extraordinarily technical one that is constantly evolving. Being effective advocates requires extraordinary expenditures of time over extended periods. In Edina, we have learned the consequences of failing to be constantly engaged. If elected, I would advocate for a standing city working group or commission of residents with particular expertise or interest in the issue to stay abreast of the developments and advise the council regarding steps that should be taken to improve conditions for all of our communities.
  • Our efforts in Edina will benefit from collaboration with our neighboring communities and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. I support efforts to nurture collaboration between our communities and the MAC in the search for solutions.
  • I believe there are short term and long term strategies that can be deployed to address this issue. We should pursue strategies on both fronts as we work to improve the quality of life for residents living near the airport.


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Jennifer Janovy, Edina City Council Candidate (back to candidate list)

Thank you to the MSP FairSkies Coalition for working on behalf of all of us to address the serious issue of aviation noise and pollution. As someone one who lives under an arrival flight path, I know how aviation noise impacts daily activities and sleep. As I write this, there is practically no break between when the sound of one airplane trails off and the sound of another airplane approaching begins.

Aviation noise impacts health, property values, and how we live. RNAV, if implemented as proposed, will concentrate this impact. An increase in the number of flights at night, aircraft flying at lower altitudes, and the noisier fleet that flies in and out MSP all add to the impact.

As a member of the Morningside Neighborhood Association steering committee, I have worked to keep the neighborhood informed about RNAV and aviation noise. In addition, I’m a member of the Edina Transportation Commission and I serve on the Transportation Advisory Board with a member of the MAC.

RNAV, aviation noise and pollution, and airport growth are complicated issues that require work at the federal, state, regional and municipal level.

I support Edina’s efforts to advocate for RNAV to be implemented (if implemented) on a case-by-case basis, for dispersed tracks if RNAV is implemented, for fuller environmental review, including health impacts of concentrated noise, and analysis of fuller use of the statewide airport system. I support Edina’s continued participation on the NOC.

Edina has several citizen advisory bodies, but none that include aviation noise and pollution in their scope. I would support forming such a citizen advisory body, either as a working group of an existing board or commission or as a stand alone ongoing task force.

Edina currently does not have permanent noise monitoring towers. Although our city’s efforts led to the installation of temporary noise monitoring towers for two weeks this year, this is not a sufficient period for gathering data. Without the towers to gather the data, we cannot demonstrate the noise impact of current flight patterns and will not have the basis for comparison data once/if RNAV is implemented. I would advocate for permanent noise towers.

Last, I will continue to support Edina’s efforts to work with representatives of other affected communities, advocacy groups, our regional appointed officials, and our state and federal elected officials to address issues related to RNAV and aviation noise and pollution.

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Bob Stewart, Edina City Council Candidate (back to candidate list)

1. What will you do, if elected, to address and support our concerns and goals? Provide specific steps and actions.

BS:  Edina has addressed the flight path issue with the FAA. We have questioned why the Twin Cities should have fewer, instead of more, flight plan options with the increased technological sophistication for aircraft navigation. Most major airports (e.g., Hartsfield in Atlanta) use systems that “fan out” the air traffic, so that the noise burden is shared by most all of the surrounding communities, so why can’t MSP airport?

The language of the FAA pronouncements on RNAV implementation concerns me. As if they were acquiescing to our community’s demands, the FAA announced in February that it would not, for now, implement RNAV here for departures. I am concerned, however, that the FAA is quietly implementing RNAV, or key portions of it, for arrivals.

The FAA has installed some remote monitoring towers in Edina, but their threshold for measurement appears absurdly high.

We must continue to monitor and assess the FAA and the MAC policies regarding the issue of takeoffs and landings at MSP. I would like to continue the work that Edina City Council member Joni Bennett has started on this issue, advocating for fair noise distribution.

The city council needs to continue to confer with neighboring communities and the members of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Lisa Peilen represents our area on the MAC. I’d like to work with Lisa through the process and provide her the support that will be needed to continue to pursue a fair solution.

We also need to continue to ask for assistance from our area’s representatives in Washington, D.C. The FAA is, after all, a part of the Federal government and may be more responsive when Senators and Congresspersons are holding them to account.

2. How can we count on you to help find workable solutions? What new ideas can you offer?

BS:  The burden of air traffic noise should be shared by all affected communities. Air traffic noise should not be concentrated over just one or two communities. There is no evidence that the proposed air traffic system would improve air safety, therefore alternatives to the RNAV proposal should be investigated.

As a community, Edina and its neighbors should demand accountability from the quasi-public employees who want to implement the RNAV system that would concentrate flight paths over our neighborhoods. We should work cooperatively with neighboring communities and the Metropolitan Airports Commission to find a more balanced solution to the perpetual issue of air traffic noise.

3. Do you support the MAC’s and Met Council’s Long-Term Comprehensive Plan for airport growth? What is your vision for the MSP Airport growth and statewide airport growth?

BS: The latest updates of the Long-Term Comprehensive Plan project significant growth in use of the MSP airport. However, the plan offers very little that mitigates some of the problems associated with airports: congestion, noise and pollution. I would like to encourage consideration of more use of some regional airports, particularly for cargo and military flights.

4. What are your specific ideas for reducing noise and air pollution from airplanes in and out of the MSP Airport?

BS: Delta Airlines has changed the type of aircraft that it sends into MSP. (See Star Tribune article of May 1, 2012, below.) Anecdotally, I’ve been told that Delta now sends its old equipment into MSP and flies newer aircraft into Salt Lake City in part because Salt Lake City has adopted noise ordinances and policies that are more restrictive than those in the Twin Cities. If that is the case, we should not be content with this situation. I would like to see the noise requirements in the Twin Cities be equal to those of the most restrictive cities in this country.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on short end of Delta jet swap
• Article by: PAT DOYLE, Star Tribune
• Updated: May 1, 2012 – 11:58 PM
The airline has replaced the roomy, comfortable Airbuses from the former Northwest Airlines with older, lower-end planes.
Frequent fliers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport notice it: more cramped planes on some domestic routes, less entertainment on some flights to Europe.
The complaints deal largely with a decision by Delta Air Lines to replace Airbuses that Northwest Airlines flew at MSP with Boeing or McDonnell Douglas jets, many of them older.
“I’m on MDs all the time now,” said Dan Boivin, chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the government agency that oversees Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. “I don’t like them as much. I miss Airbuses.”
Many of those Airbuses now fly out of Delta’s home base in Atlanta and from Salt Lake City International Airport.
Some frequent fliers worry what a downgrade could mean for the Twin Cities.
“If we have the lower end of the planes … it feels like you’re a little bit more in the minor leagues,” said airport commissioner Rick King.
Delta defends the switch, citing Minnesota’s central location.
“We always work to deploy the most efficient aircraft to each route, which is critical to the success of our hub at MSP,” said Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter.
As for comfort, he said Delta “has begun a nose-to-tail cabin refurbishment” of its Boeing 767 aircraft flown from MSP to Europe. It will include “in-seat video in every seat” like Airbuses that fly overseas, and “larger and modern overhead bins.”
International departures on Boeings from MSP to Europe and Japan tripled from 2008 to last year, according to OAG, a British aviation analysis firm that compiled trends for the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, international flights on Airbus 330s from MSP were cut in half.
During the same time, Delta departures from MSP to U.S. cities on two popular types of smaller Airbuses — the A319 and the A320 — also dropped by half. Domestic departures from MSP on two models of McDonnell Douglas jets — MD-88 and MD-90 — increased dramatically. Overall, Banstetter noted, there are still more Airbuses than McDonnell Douglas planes at MSP
Age and noise
Delta is one of the world’s largest airlines and took over Northwest’s role as the dominant carrier at MSP, where it flew about 80 percent of nearly 200,000 departures in 2011.
The MD-88s have been dubbed “Mad Dogs” in some aviation circles — not always affectionately.
One consumer website, Seatguru.com, complained about noise and legroom near the rear of the cabin.
“Due to rear-mounted engines, the aircraft is noisiest towards the back and seats behind the rear exits should be avoided,” the website advised travelers.
Airbuses, whose engines are mounted under the wings, were spared a similar critique.
Data released by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2010 and more recently by the Metropolitan Airports Commission confirm that the MD-88 is generally louder on takeoff than the A319 or A320.
Many older planes tend to be louder, and Delta’s fleet of MD-88s averages 21.5 years compared to 9.9 years for its A319 fleet and 16.8 years for its A320s.
In recent months, Delta has decreased MD-88 flights and increased those of the newer MD-90s, buying some secondhand from Japan Airlines. Delta’s MD-90s have an average age of 15.1 years and quieter engines similar to those on the two models of Airbuses.
Tight quarters
Despite the improvements, the MD-90 also has attracted critics since its rapid expansion at MSP. Twin Cities airline buff Marc Friedman wrote in his Examiner.com blog that tight seating on one MD-90 flight “made it impossible for me to open my laptop computer when the passenger seated in front of me reclined his seat. … The passenger seated next to me … had given up trying to use his laptop.”
“Please, Delta Air Lines. Give us back our Airbus A319 and A320 flights.”
King, who is a frequent flier, said the Airbuses are “infinitely more comfortable” than the McDonnell Douglas planes.
For one thing, some of the seats on Delta’s domestic Airbuses have an extra inch of legroom than seats on its MD-90s.
Passengers also point out that one side of the overhead compartments of the McDonnell Douglas is shallower than those on Airbuses, requiring bags to be stored horizontally and filling up more quickly.
“People come on the plane with their bag and it’s filled,” King said. The luggage then needs to be checked at the gate.
Delta: Move makes sense
Delta says shifting McDonnell Douglas planes to MSP makes sense because its location in the center of the nation makes it more suitable for the shorter range of the aircraft.
“From MSP, the MD-88s and 90s can reach almost the entire U.S. and Canada, while the greater range of the Airbus aircraft allow them to fly from Salt Lake City to the East Coast,” said Delta spokesman Banstetter.
He said Delta has nearly phased out the DC9, a domestic workhorse that is even older and louder than the MD-88. That trend began under Northwest and helped shrink the acres of excessive noise in neighborhoods around MSP.
Boivin said he will meet with Delta this month and ask for more details on its fleet plans as well as press for more nonstop international flights.
“Every indication we have had from Delta leaders is that the airline remains fully committed to its MSP hub, and nothing they are doing here suggests otherwise,” said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. He said domestic Airbus flights have grown in recent months, along with a lesser increase in McDonnell Douglas flights.
For long distances, the differences between the Airbus 330s and Boeing 767s can be subtle but significant. “For the average person, they’re not as comfortable,” Timothy Kehoe, an economics professor at the University of Minnesota, said about the 767s.
Delta’s coach seats on 767s from MSP to Amsterdam have lacked in-seat personal entertainment, unlike Airbus flights. It can make a difference on an eight-hour flight.
“It makes the trip go so much faster,” Boivin said.
Delta’s Airbus 330s are less than seven years old on average, while its models of 767s range from 11 to 21 years old.
King, chief operating officer for technology at Thomson Reuters who often flies overseas, worries that future passengers might trade a nonstop from MSP to Europe for a one-stop flight with a similar fare that is more comfortable.
“That doesn’t load up your planes for the direct international flights and support the fact that you want to keep the direct international flights going,” he said.
Delta has direct flights from MSP to London on another version of 767 that offers personal TVs in coach, as do its Boeing 777 flights to Tokyo and Airbuses to Paris. The airline said it is moving ahead on refurbishing all of its 767s.
“The entire fleet will be completed by the end of 2013, and customers are already beginning to see these ‘like new’ aircraft as they are deployed,” Banstetter said.
Pat Doyle • 612-673-4504
© 2012 StarTribune. All rights reserved.


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Gary Hansen, Eagan City Council Candidate (back to candidate list)

1. What will you do, if elected, to address and support our concerns and goals? Provide specific steps and actions.

GH:  Eagan has a knowledgeable and engaged Airport Relations Advisory Commission whose work plan reflects the MSP FairSkies Coalition’s concerns and goals. I will continue to coordinate with the commission and rely on its counsel in monitoring MAC technical reports, including corridor compliance, fleet mix, and runway usage; receiving feedback from the public on airport issues; and reviewing and providing feedback on NOC initiatives and studies to help ensure appropriate management of airport noise.

2. Do you support the MAC’s and Met Council’s Long-Term Comprehensive Plan for airport growth?

GH:  As a Transportation Advisory Board member, I participate in the region’s transportation planning process, providing review and feedback on the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Policy Plan, including the aviation system plan. My efforts in this capacity will focus on MSP’s managed growth while protecting the interests of neighboring communities that are significantly impacted by airport noise, traffic, and other expansion-related issues.

I support the goal of providing MSP-impacted communities greater representation on the MAC to improve communication between the commissioners and the cities they represent. Cities must be viewed as partners with the MAC in resolving differences that arise out of airport expansion projects. Regular contact between the MAC and cities throughout the project proposal process will enhance communication and problem solving.

3. What is your vision for the MSP Airport growth and statewide airport growth?

GH:  MSP plays a vital role in the regional economy. The airport is committed to its current location, so growth commensurate with the region’s needs must be accommodated. This growth, though, must be balanced with neighboring communities’ needs. To the extent possible, flight operations and related activities should be at least regionally disbursed to minimize the concentration of air and ground traffic and noise at MSP.

4. What are your specific ideas for reducing noise and air pollution from airplanes in and out of the MSP Airport?

GH: Responsible noise and air quality policies are essential. The NOC must be diligent in working to minimize the impacts of MAC-operated facilities on neighboring communities. In addition, the MAC should determine the design of noise reduction and air quality programs only after a thorough public input process that considers the priorities and concerns of impacted cities and their residents.

Additional study should be conducted to enable better understanding of the impact on neighboring communities of using RNAV for arrival landings. To the extent possible, take-off routes should be directed over the river valley and commercial/industrial areas to reduce noise exposure over residential neighborhoods.

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Herbert W. Perry, Richfield City Council Candidate (back to candidate list)

When I am elected, I would urge Councilman Tom Fitzhenry to keep me informed of the concerns that you have listed. As you know Richfield does support RNAV which I understand that Fair Skies has blocked its implementation. Mr. Fitzhenry is a pilot along with many other things, therefore as liaison from Richfield, he attends any and all MSP Airport related meetings his input and knowledge is most helpful to our great community. As your concerns are presented I feel that with Mr. Fitzhenry’s knowledgeable input will help me make the proper decisions. Working together, we will Richfield an even better place to live, work and play.

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