Mayoral Candidates

Mark Andrew
Jackie Cherryhomes
Dan Cohen
Bob Fine
Betsy Hodges – Elected !
Don Samuels
Cam Winton
Stephanie Woodruff – No response from candidate

 

Mark Andrew (back to candidate list)

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP?

MA: Full implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s PBN/RNAV proposal will create noise exposure across the region where they haven’t been previously, and more negatively impact some Minneapolis residents and in a more concentrated way. That disturbs me. I am also disturbed by the push for PBN route changes as a capacity increasing measure compared to better alternatives. It is not wise or fair for the federal government to automate flights without proof of safety or fully understanding the negative impacts on economic growth, public health and the environment.

2. What have you done in the past to support our plan to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future?

MA: During the course of this campaign, I have been keeping abreast of the issue and monitoring the progress. I was ready to speak on it and my opposition to the proposal as far as the northern pathways that fly over South Minneapolis at the HPDL Forum at the Parkway Theater and was surprised and disappointed that it didn’t come up. If I am elected mayor in November, I plan to use the power of that role to work in favor of three specific actions: 1) partial implementation of RNAV to limit negative impacts to Minneapolis residents; 2) work with Congressman Ellison and the State Legislative delegation to continue to lobby Congress and the FAA to require an environmental review of the proposal before advancing anymore implementation of the plan, and 3) be an advocate and a partner with Minneapolis City Council members and community groups on behalf of livable neighborhoods.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office to with regard to PBN/RNAV?

MA: If I am elected mayor, within the first 90 days, I will do three things in regard to PBN/RNAV: 1) meet with Congressman Ellison to explore additional ways to keep the pressure on the FAA in regards to accepting the proposal to partially implement RNAV and require an environmental review before moving ahead; 2) convene the City’s Airport Working Group along with the new Ward 12 and Ward 13 City Council members to rebuild the city’s team of elected leaders on this issue; and 3) hold a community listening session on the issue in partnership with the Councilmembers from the affected wards. Additionally, in the early days of my administration, I will meet with the Mayoral representative on Metropolitan Airports Commission and the Chair of the MAC.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

MA:The current airport expansion plan does not sustain the economic growth needed for the Twin Cities metro to remain competitive without overburdening neighborhoods near MSP: more automation of hub operations is an unlikely remedy.

As a region and as a State, we need to seriously consider regional and statewide solutions to assure future air services, passenger and freight, are what we need and can afford to build –and to live with and under.


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Jackie Cherryhomes (back to candidate list)

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP?

JC: Implementation of RNAV is, in the end, a decision of the FAA. They have wisely chosen to take a step back from implementation at this time. Their decision to only implement RNAV to the south and east of the airport over the industrial corridor is appropriate. There should be no other implementation over Minneapolis. I will work to insure that RNAV is not implemented over the neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

2. What have you done in the past to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future.

JC: As a Northside resident, I have not been involved in the RNAV issue. However, when doorknocking in south Minneapolis, I have become acutely aware of the issue and the impact it has on the neighborhoods. I will support the cause in the future by working with our partners at other levels of government and the neighborhoods of south Minneapolis. As Mayor, I will be fully engaged in the issue, as I believe it is the most pressing liveability issue for the residents of south Minneapolis.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office with regard to PBN/RNAV?

JC: In my first 90 days, I will meet with the Mayoral representative to the MAC, congressional and state leadership as well as with the Chair of the MAC and the local head of the FAA to be clear that a change in leadership in the Mayor’s office, does not mean a change of position. I will meet with neighborhood representatives and representatives of Fair Skies to develop a strategy to protect the neighborhoods and get input on the Mayoral appointment to the MAC.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

JC: I am aware that discussions about this issue are ongoing at the MAC. I believe it is premature to study locations for an additional airport. I believe that any growth must be carefully scrutinized for its impact on the neighborhoods. I believe that there must be enhanced environmental review, an EIS, on any study of long term growth.


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Dan Cohen (back to candidate list)

Dear Steve and your fellow board members,

Thank you for your questionnaire. I am glad this issue has finally come to into play in the Mayoral campaign.  I cannot overestimate its significance and the need to give immediate it attention.  I have tried to do some research on the subject and here’s what I thought might be useful in responding to your concerns. In June, as reported by the Patch Newsletter, the ” Edina City Council Considers Airplane Noise Options, Litigation Not Ruled Out” The City Council heard a presentation from a Denver lawyer, Peter Kirsch, who specialized in airport law.  The issue was the concerns being raised by NextGen, the FAA’s “plan to modernize the airspace system.”  Kirsch suggested the following options:

  • determining probable impacts of NextGen
  • collaborating MAC, the FAA and carriers
  • demanding an environmental review
  • and considering litigation.

According to this report Edina has already succeeded in delaying NextGen. There also appears to be a petition circulating asking Edina to create a $250,000 flight path litigation fund.  Obviously, this is not a comprehensive answer to the questions you have raised, but I want to establish that the tone of my responses are in keeping with the suggestions made by lawyer Kirsch.

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP?

DC: Your letter states that the proposed flight paths “will place major ,heavily-concentrated departure and arrival tracks over the lower half of Minneapolis….The impact of this change will be profound:” As a result, I am highly inclined to be opposed to the FAA proposal.

2. What have you done in the past to support our plan to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future?

DC: This is a matter of first impression for me, but were I were to be elected Mayor, I would act in accordance with the concerns expressed in this letter by the MSP Fair Skies Coalition.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office to with regard to PBN/RNAV?

DC: The first step, is demand a halt in any furtherance of the plan. The next steps will be to pursue options similar to those expressed by Lawyer Kirsch.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

DC: A mayor international airport in the midst of a major international metropolitan area, cognizant, responsive and respectful of the needs of both.

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Bob Fine (back to candidate list)

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP?

BF: I’m opposed to PBN/RNAV at the MSP airport.

2. What have you done in the past to support our plan to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future?

BF: As an elected Park Board commissioner, I have not been in the position to act on my opposition to the PBN/RNAV tracks. As mayor, I will make sure that this issue is a priority for the commissioner I appoint to the MAC and I will be a leader in championing smart and efficient growth that doesn’t include the proposed PBN/RNAV plan.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office to with regard to PBN/RNAV?

BF: Besides appointing an educated and qualified commissioner to the MAC, I will advocate for the MAC to consider the research completed about the impacts of the proposed PBN/RNAV plan.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

BF: It’s expected that with increased development, population will grow in Minneapolis, which could ultimately result in higher demand at the MSP airport. My long-term vision for MSP is to carefully consider all options before making smart decisions about how to expand the MSP airport in a way that makes sense, so as to limit the number of flights over residential areas.

As a Park Board Commissioner, I’ve collaborated with the Metropolitan Airports Commission in the past, putting the best interests of the city residents first. When I was in the process of developing the Neiman Athletic Complex next to the airport, I was competing with MAC for land that the Park Board ultimately bought. The Park Board actually owns a majority of land under the airport but control was given to MAC to manage it as long as the airport exists under state law. MAC proposed purchasing eight acres of that property and I negotiated a land swap deal, resulting in the Park Board receiving a 40-acre site immediately north of Highway 62 between Cedar and Bloomington Avenues. With that land, we created a 40-acre park filled with open fields, wetlands, and hilly wooded areas.


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Betsy Hodges (back to candidate list)

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP? 

BH: I oppose the proposed PBN/RNAV tracks over Minneapolis. The roll out of the FAA’s RNAV tracks at MSP was a failure. The Noise Oversight Committee provided FAA with a blueprint of expectations for RNAV at MSP and FAA failed to comply with 4 of the 5 criteria, including the most important one, to place the tracks over compatible land uses. The FAA proposal to move flights out of the Crosstown 62 corridor and place them over residential homes was a travesty. RNAV should not be implemented unless the FAA develops a plan that places flights over compatible land uses, and as a last resort, widely and evenly distribute flight tracks and reduce flight frequency over residential areas.

2. What have you done in the past to support our plan to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future?

BH: I worked with the Mayor, my City Council colleagues and residents from Minneapolis and Edina to block the proposed RNAV departure procedures. In a letter I signed to MAC Chair Dan Boivin, City Elected Officials asked him to oppose the RNAV tracks over Minneapolis and to request the entire RNAV program at MSP be subject to further community review. Because of these objections, the MAC told the FAA that they should not implement the RNAV tracks over Minneapolis, and only contemplate implementing RNAV tracks on the runways that don’t impact Minneapolis.

I will continue to fight implementation of RNAV over Minneapolis at MSP until the FAA demonstrates how it will be a benefit to the residents of Minneapolis. Any potential plans by the FAA to develop new RNAV departure procedures should require an engagement of residents in the affected communities very early in the process. Any tracks FAA develops need to include input from residents all along the way and be shown to be beneficial to residents. The tracks should be over compatible land uses as much as possible, and if they are over residential areas, the noise needs to be spread widely and evenly.

Additionally, in the last Federal Aviation Reauthorization bill, there was troubling language indicating that RNAV procedures should not be subjected to the same environmental review as other changes in Federal procedures. If this were to be the case, there would be very little reason for the FAA to notify anyone, other than the airlines, before implementing or changing RNAV tracks. I am not comfortable with Delta Airlines being the City’s only avenue of advocacy regarding airport operations, so I have been working with an a national advocacy group called NOISE to make sure that as the rules for the new law are created, PBN/RNAV procedures will still be required to follow environmental laws.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office with regard to PBN/RNAV?

BH: My appointment to the Metropolitan Airport Commission will be knowledgeable of airport issues and will start on day one as a strong advocate for the residents of Minneapolis on the MAC.

I will create a staff position within the City tasked with tracking PBN/RNAV and other issues surrounding the airport and keeping the pressure on the FAA and MAC to be better neighbors,

The staff position and MAC appointee will work together to help both the MAC and FAA remember that any plans they may have, including PBN or RNAV, need to be beneficial to the residents of Minneapolis.

I will continue to work with the City’s Airport Working group of elected officials, City staff and MAC Commissioners who represent Minneapolis and continue to coordinate efforts surrounding airport issues.

I will follow up with Congressman Ellison regarding the status of the issues raised at the community meeting I participated in last August, and make sure he has all the support he needs as he continues to convey our message to the FAA.

I will continue to work with Senators Franken and Klobuchar, and Congressman Ellison, Paulson, Walz, and Nolan and ask them to help spread our message to the FAA. Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Nolan are especially important allies as they serves on the Committees in the Senate and the House that oversee the FAA.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

BH: MSP is a landlocked airport that has no room for further expansion. The State of Minnesota needs to have a statewide aviation strategy and put the control of all of the airports capable of providing commercial flights under the control of a single governmental entity. The airports in St. Cloud, Duluth and Rochester are underutilized. Therefore, when there is a need for more flights out of Minnesota, the decision will be made based on what is best for Minnesota, not what is most profitable for MSP.


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Don Samuels (back to candidate list)

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP? 

DS: The implication of RNAV would mean South Minneapolis residents being subject to even more airplane noise than the current level, which is significant. I was at a friend’s house in Tangletown and we had to pause during our conversation because the noise was so loud. The airplane noise is really a quality of life issue that cannot be allowed to get worse. Local leadership must make this clear.

I cannot support the full implementation of RNAV. No way, no how. The only RNAV plan I could possibly support would be one that allows for partial implementation of the system. It’s my understanding that the FAA is currently considering whether this is possible. After further analysis, if the FAA notifies the MAC and residents that partial implementation of RNAV is possible, I would request that airplanes departing from the two runways that would cause the most noise (30R and 30L) not be required to adhere to the RNAV routes. By doing that, we would allow this newer and more efficient flight system to be implemented, but not on the backs of those who already suffer the most noise problems. If the FAA notifies the MAC that partial implementation is not possible, I will not support the complete implementation of RNAV. We cannot allow this problem to get worse.

2. What have you done in the past to support our plan to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future?

DS: As a City Council Member, I was part of the lawsuit that helped ensure sound mitigation benefits for homeowners and families in South and Southwest Minneapolis. I was a strong partner with the south Minneapolis community on that lawsuit and will continue to be a strong partner for the South and Southwest community on this issue.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office with regard to PBN/RNAV?

DS: We must have a sense of urgency on this issue. We must be prepared for when the FAA findings of partial implementation come back because this new system is meant to be in place for arrivals by July of 2014. During my first months in office, I will develop a contingency plan for response, in partnership with the community advocates and pertinent Council Members, to prepare for the event in which the FAA concludes that RNAV cannot be partially implemented. Possible components of the plan, in the event that RNAV cannot be partially implemented and the FAA and MAC move forward with full implementation, may include legal action, advocacy for some state legislative changes and pushing for an FAA environmental review of the impact RNAV, or increased airplane noise in general, would have on our people; especially the impact on our children. Lastly, I have a strong relationship with Congressman Keith Ellison going back nearly two decades as Northside neighbors. I’ll work closely with him to align our contingency plan with actions from the Federal government.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

DS: I think this is the critical question facing our region from an aviation standpoint. RNAV, potentially, presents significant problems for the people of Minneapolis. There’s no doubt about that. But, those problems pale in comparison to the anticipated 20% growth that MSP expects by 2025. If that growth is not managed properly, we will be back in the same spot talking about increased airplane noise for our residents. We need a plan to positively manage the growth.

First, I believe that we must think about airports and aviation from a regional and, in some cases, statewide framework. This means thinking about connecting Rochester and St. Cloud with mass transit that could alleviate the need for so many planes to fly directly into MSP. For example, our state needs better utilization of NorthStar by connecting St. Cloud’s regional airport to MSP via train. This is part of what will help manage this growth in a sustainable way.

Second, we must continue to push for increased use of, runway 17, a runway that was created to divert flight paths over the Minnesota river. Increased use of this runway will help enable growth without contributing to airplane noise is key to any noise reduction strategy.


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Cam Winton (back to candidate list)

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP? 

CW: My wife & I raise our two young children at home in the Fulton neighborhood of Southwest Minneapolis, so the implementation of PBN/RNAV isn’t some abstract issue for me. As mayor, I’ll use the mayor’s megaphone and my experience as a litigator to ensure that the City protects our families’ health, our homes, and our neighborhoods against unreasonable aviation noise. In response to a perceived problem that doesn’t even exist (i.e., flight delays – even though there’s not a flight delay problem at MSP), the FAA has tried to jam though a poorly-conceived plan. As mayor, I’ll take all possible steps to expand use of the currently-under-utilized Runway 17 and prevent the FAA from reducing the existing approx. 35 flight tracks to the proposed (unnecessarily-concentrated) 7 flight tracks.

2. What have you done in the past to support our plan to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future?

CW: As a mayoral candidate, I have a media megaphone — and I’ve used it to draw attention to the issue and encourage neighbors and politicians to join the fight. Specifically, I held a news conference on the sole topic of RNAV, at which I stood under a proposed new flight track with a vacuum cleaner to illustrate the level of noise that residents would suffer. My RNAV news conference received coverage in the Star Tribune, Southwest Journal, and MinnPost:

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/223026761.html
http://www.southwestjournal.com/news/2013-city-election/cam-winton-critical-of-proposed-airplane-super-highways
http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2013/09/mayoral-candidate-winton-s-criticism-andrew-drowns-out-airport-noise-issue

I then promoted those news stories even further via my campaign’s Facebook page, via which tens of thousands of Minneapolitans saw the coverage of the issue. (My campaign’s Facebook page has more “likes” than the page of any of my opponents, i.e., approx. 3,500. The number of people who see each post is much larger than just the number of “likers.”)

Also, I raised the issue in the debate held at the Parkway theater.

As mayor, I’d have an even bigger megaphone, and I’d use it to continue holding the FAA to account while continuing to build coalitions with all stakeholders to multiply our impact.

Furthermore, I think the idea of noise-level-based landing fees is worthy of further inquiry and likely worthy of implementation.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office with regard to PBN/RNAV?

CW: I will convene all stakeholders (federal-level elected officials, FAA representatives, elected officials from all impacted jurisdictions) to insist that 1) the FAA provide clear, truthful information on its current plans for RNAV implementation at MSP; 2) the FAA make available for ongoing dialogue its decision-making official regarding RNAV at MSP; 3) that official explain what steps MSP air-traffic control is taking to expand use of Runway 17; 4) that official explain why RNAV requires use of tracks beyond a reasonable number along the lines of, say, 10 tracks; and 5) the FAA and MAC perform a full environmental assessment of any planned RNAV implementation. Furthermore, I would lead an expedited review of all legal & political remedies that may exist. I recognize that the City has waived many legal rights under the existing MAC settlement, but it’s worth turning over every stone to see what legal remedies might still remain. Regarding political remedies, although I have not held elected office previously, I have volunteered extensively on political endeavors over the years, and I’d draw upon the relationships I have on both sides of the aisle both here in Minnesota and in Washington, D.C. (where I went to law school and have friends on Capitol Hill & in the Obama Administration) to do everything possible to exert political pressure on the FAA so that it treats our community fairly.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

CW: We need to look at all possible ways to expand use of regional airports (especially for freight shipments) so that our region doesn’t have to rely as heavily on MSP. Although solutions like high-speed rail sound appealing in the abstract, we have to be realistic that cost pressures likely will thwart creation of any such long-distance high-speed rail, so we’ll need to work within the reality that air traffic of one kind or another will be increasing. By likely implementing noise-level-based landing fees, keeping the number of flight tracks at a reasonably low level, expanding use of the under-utilized Runway 17, using a comprehensible method of calculating noise impact and corresponding mitigation payments, and expanding use of regional airports, we can ensure that Southwest Minneapolis — which again, is my neighborhood — remains an amazing place to live.

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