Dallas Executive's Neighbors Say City Hall Broke Federal Rules in Airport-Expansion Push

Categories: City Hall

DallasExecutivePlaneCrash.jpg
Neighbors of Dallas Executive Airport
An artist's rendering of Raymond Crawford's nightmares.
If there was one thing Dallas City Hall would have been wise to take away from the fracking debate, it's that you shouldn't mess with Raymond Crawford. He's the slight, balding, professional needlepointing David to your Goliath.

City Hall, however, isn't so good with lessons, which is why Crawford has another stone in his sling.

The issue this time around is Dallas Executive Airport, the small, city-owned airfield in the Red Bird area of Southwest Dallas. For the past three years, the city has been drawing up a new master plan for the airport and is set to begin a runway renovation and expansion.

See also: Dallas Executive Airport's Neighbors Say The City's Been Tight-Lipped About Renovation Plans

Crawford, who lives a few blocks away, first became aware of the project when The Dallas Morning News reported on the runway expansion in February. He grew concerned, then angry, that neighbors hadn't been consulted and began doing what he does best: obsessively researching the issue and pelting city aviation officials and City Council members with questions.

He finagled an April 3 public meeting with Dallas aviation director Mark Duebner but left unsatisfied by the city's apparent doublespeak.

Councilman Tennell Atkins has repeatedly described the runway expansion, to 7,000 feet, as a game changer that will accommodate larger, heavier corporate jets and compete for business with other regional airports like Addison's. And according to a draft of the airport master plan, the goal is to upgrade the airport from an ARC D-II airport, which accommodates mid-sized aircraft like the Gulfstream IV, to an ARC D-III airport, which can accommodate Boeing 737s.

Contrast that with Duebner's assurances to neighbors that the primary purpose of the runway reconstruction and extension is to serve the jets that already use the runway, some of which are ARC D-III.

"This project, by in large, has been a reconstruction of the runway, and so we didn't really feel like there was any controversy," Duebner told WFAA's Brett Shipp last night. Public hearings on the runway expansion, set to begin this summer, come later.

Crawford and his allies, though, searched out FAA rules mandating that airports mulling significant improvements like a runway expansion have extensive public outreach efforts. He details the requirements in a letter he sent to Duebner yesterday (embedded below), but they essentially say the public should be involved in the beginning of the process. The draft of the master plan says as much.

"To ensure the Master Plan reflects the concerns of the public, the local communities, airport tenants, airport users, and businesses throughout the region, the Master Plan process will include an active public outreach program to solicit comments and suggestions which will then be included in the final Master Plan."

There was one public meeting, on July 19, 2012, but it took place more than a year after a Planning Advisory Committee comprised of DEA tenants and City Hall insiders began meeting and wasn't announced publicly -- at least not publicly enough for neighbors to know the meeting was taking place.

If City Hall isn't trying to be secretive and the lack of public involvement was an oversight by bureaucrats who honestly thought neighbors wouldn't care, Crawford wonders why the draft master plan has its own website -- dallasexec.airportstudy.com -- that's cloaked so as to be invisible to Google searches. Neighbors only learned of it when Duebner gave them the URL at the April 3 meeting.

See also: Raymond Crawford, Actual Citizen, Fought the City on Fracking -- and Won

Try it. Type in "Dallas Executive master plan" and you'll be directed to the one developed in 1997 for when it was still called Redbird Airport.

DEA neighbors are calling for a halt to the runway-expansion plans until the city has a legitimate public hearing process.

"It's my opinion that they want to extend the runway and make it available for the big businesses to come in, and they want to spur development," Crawford says. "We aren't against development, but we are against development if the public isn't invited to be part of it from the beginning."

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

Letter to Mark Duebner City Aviation by NDEA1


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50 comments
Annonnymous
Annonnymous

Mark Duebner is callous and arrogant. He treats the public almost as badly as he treats his employees. His behavior has been horrible from the start of his career but, just like all other Mary Suhm buddies, he is given a free pass with plenty of promotions for himself and his relatives (by marriage). Jennifer Gates needs to wake up because he's got her fooled regarding Love Field.

Now there is Executive Airport. The public cannot believe anything coming out of the mouth of Suhm's partner in crime on the Trinity East agreement. They protect each other and for those of you who think Suhm is gone, you're sadly mistaken. She's still wearing her crown and is followed by her small cult of adoring fans/friends at city hall. Busy second guessing everything A.C. does.

Executive Airport neighbors must question Duebner's ethics given his history and not just because of Trinity East. There's far more but the worst MUST be dating/marrying his employee when he was Purchasing Director. It resulted in nice, big promotions with more money for both of them during a "budget crisis." So what did his girlfriend do with her promotion? Ask Councilman Ron Natinsky who was her boss. That Duebners carry themselves with a HUGE sense of entitlement while all other city employees work.

So much for the "big changes" in executive staff that A.C. and the City Council promised when they hired him. Add to that the "reform" to the council's agenda process that was promised after the Uber deal was snuck on to the city's consent agenda. Here's another item that was snuck on to the agenda AND the information attached to said item was completely misleading. Business as usual.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

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raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

I just got off the phone with the FAA(it's like talking to the FBI, so you don't fuck with them) and they urged me ( in their business like manner) to continue to talk to Duebner and to talk to TXDOT. They pretty much indicated that they had "wet nails" and did not want to touch this, and it was TXDOT's party. I told them that I appreciated the conversation but all the talk that has occurred has been because WE asked for it and not because the COD had initiated it.
Considering also that no new pieces of information had come forth from the COD with an apparent urge to help us understand that we are stupid people who are standing in the way of Dallas becoming greater.

WylieH
WylieH

The letter reads a lot like a criminal indictment.  Did Raymond Crawford used to be a prosecutor?

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

There are actually 2 stories here. There's the upgrade/expansion of the runways and then there's the property around the airport that is going to be subdivided into aviation and non aviation plots for future development. This is BIG. The runway project is a means to make it more viable for a larger jets and that in turn will have an effect on the properties. There's nothing wrong with either project in theory. But,this has been in the works since 2011 without any public notification. There's the first red flag. The Master Plan was never put before the Council for approval. Third red flag. Then in February, the council approved $3 million has a buy in via consent agenda. That's enough for me to know, like the gas drilling deal, something is up.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

You could save a lot of blog space by publishing stories about the rules, procedures and regulations Dallas leadership doesn't break.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Once again City Hall shows that if it weren't for all of the pesky citizens, Dallas would be a great city.

Dub919
Dub919

Semi-related comment/question:


As I drove down Lemmon Ave. the other day, I couldn't help but notice a boarded up "executive terminal" on that east side of Love Field.  There's plenty of other boarded up FBO space as well.  


Now, I'm an aviation guy and would never wish for the closing up of any airport, but wouldn't it make sense to let old Redbird be a true general aviation airport and push for Love Field to be the business aviation airport of choice?  DAL can handle significantly more traffic than it does now (and will once Wright expires) and there's plenty of room for FBO/hangar expansion at a significantly lower pricetag than any runway extension...and it's closer to where those "executives" are trying to get to.


RBD's runway is long enough to handle any business aircraft, with exception of those based on narrow-body airliners.  The chances of a company using such aircraft choosing RBD over DAL (or, DFW) is slim to none, even with an extended runway.

AviationExpert
AviationExpert

There are very few 737 business jets. Why are we subsidizing an airport the region doesn't really need?

WylieH
WylieH

Just read the letter quickly.... it looks like they are alleging very specific violations of Federal law relating to reps the City gave the Feds when they took Federal money... a lot like the HUD scandal...

It also looks like Tennell Atkins and Vonciel Hill are somehow involved in this thing... and that efforts were made to mislead Griggs about the project after he joined City Council.

I suspect there is going to be a lot more to come on this.

Raymond Crawford is a machine.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

City Management really does have this inexplicable contempt for the citizens of Dallas.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

At this point, Duebner continues to stick to a "script" that began at the February 3rd meeting and is repeated to the media...word for word. At the meeting and with Shipp, he hesitates and almost went off script which is telling. It's sort of creepy but I guess given his work history at City Hall and as a trainee for Mary Suhm, he's following the party line.

Interesting that back in the early days of the gas drilling episode, we find him right in the middle of another controversy of "who-said-what and when".

It's here:http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20130215-dallas-city-manager-acknowledges-that-parkland-was-added-to-08-drilling-lease-without-city-council-ok.ece

wcvemail
wcvemail

@raymondmcrawford  
Pardon my ignorance, but what does TxDOT have to do with it? I thought this was a COD project funded by the FAA?

And I'm using the "wet nails" line, which ought to get me out of at least one stupid business meeting while they try to figure it out.

mcreed80
mcreed80

@Dub919 - I agree with you. 

I'm trying to figure out how Dallas can make a legit comparison of DEA to Addison. Addison is in close proximity to many very large corporate offices as well as retail/shopping and dining. Addison is a destination place within itself. DEA ...well, I'm not aware of any larger corporations (that can afford business jets) that are located that far south of downtown. As well as the lack of entertainment options that far south.  Love Field would be a better option to for corporate jets to fly into because of it's location to downtown as well as existing facilities to handle such jets.   

WylieH
WylieH

@AviationExpert Because the City allowed a bunch of overweight planes to land there during the Super Bowl, and continues to allow a couple of overweight Gulfstream Vs to operate there, for some reason.


As a result, the main runway got completely trashed... now taxpayers are getting hit with the bill for a $35 million repair job/expansion.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@WylieH Vonciel is so concerned about her folk with regard to the tear down of I345, she somehow forgets about her folk on the other side of town. I've been finding a lot of her folk, that have seen through her displays of false anger and pious attitude and have already disowned her before this episode. Not too long ago, I believe a former city council person may have used the term "whorish behavior" on a blog to describe the behavior of City Hall employees.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

Schutze would have to retire.

Dub919
Dub919

@mcreed80 Taking a closer look, KRBD's long runway, 13/31, is 6451' long x 150' wide.  For comparison, Chicago's Midway Airport's longest runway is 6522' x 150'...with a lot more obstacles along the extended centerline.  They seem to do just fine with large aircraft (ATA Airlines used to operate B757-300's and the occasional L-1011 widebody at MDW).


This is nothing more than someone's pockets being lined...

WylieH
WylieH

@raymondmcrawford @WylieHWhy is she so concerned about I-345 and the Trinity... both of which are outside her district... yet she doesn't bat an eye over developing secretive plans that could destabilize the single family neighborhoods around Dallas Executive Airport?

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

@WylieH  I'd rather see a Solar powered taxi on flames going down.

WylieH
WylieH

@theslowpath @TheRuddSkiThat would be cool... when Schutze dies, we should all chip in to pay for a Viking funeral, sending him over the Standing Wave in a burning playboat!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @theslowpath

Jim would go down the swirling, sucking waters of the Black Hole of Dallas, never to be seen again, and the water feature from Hell would be re-named "Schutze Falls". And every year, there would be a "Drowning Man" festival with lots of hippie chicks and such, and the ceremonial, sacrificial tossing of a "Drowning Man" figure made of Goat Bones into the waters, where they would quickly dissolve like a molar in coke.

theslowpath
theslowpath

@TheRuddSki  And what? Send him over the white water feature in his burning canoe, like some sort of viking funeral?

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@Dub919

It's pure speculation but evidently there are those in the city that have some deals cooking that they can't have at KDAL.

Dub919
Dub919

@raymondmcrawford I saw your photo on the FB group.  It is a bit interesting.  


What the city doesn't seem to understand is that KMDW is the secondary, general aviation, and business aviation airport for Chicago.  That's how KDAL should be treated.  Attempting to expand KRBD does nothing but hurt a potential jewel of the city in what KDAL could (and should) be.  KRBD should be given the same status of KPWK (Chicago Executive/Pal-waukee): a second-tier general aviation airport that serves personal aircraft and BizAv traffic operated by those who want to be closer to the north side of the Chicago metro.

Dub919
Dub919

@Guest @Dub919@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul@mcreed80

Pray tell, how is any cargo operator being displaced by passenger expansion at DAL?  There's plenty of empty space on the field and arrival demand is usually less than the advertised rate on most days.  There's plenty of room for DAL to capture any cargo ops it wants to.

Guest
Guest

@Dub919 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @mcreed80  Cargo traffic displaced by the passenger expansion at DAL. 


If they're expanding and hardening the runway to the degree that it will accommodate 737s, then that's what they plan on flying in there.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @Dub919@mcreed80Right now it's an ARC 2 but they want to make it an ARC 3.Currently the concrete is 60,000 lb bearing but they want to take it to 90,000 lb bearing. BUT, as Duebner said, this "repair" project with that little expansion is in no way tied to anything larger landing at the airport. It's in Chapter 3 of the Master Plan, I think.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@Dub919 @mcreed80Yep, and some have speculated that it might be the someone who used to be in charge there in the 1990's, got kicked out, he sued the City of Dallas and won $3 million, then ran for City Council, and won the District 8 seat.....some have speculated.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@WylieH @raymondmcrawfordBecause they're outside her district.  14-1.  She doesn't have any leverage to turn into cash with 345 and the submarine tollway.  With this being in her district she's one of the keys to making it work.  Or not work.

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