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Apr 02, 2008

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John J. Tormey III, Esq.

Quiet Rockland was pleased to learn that today’s Executive Session of The United States Senate Committee On Commerce, Science and Transportation (CS and T) was postponed - and that the Committee’s Vote on PN 1005, Bobby Sturgell’s proposed confirmation as FAA Administrator, was accordingly postponed as well.

On behalf of thousands of Quiet Rockland members, and in solidarity with the 47,000 residents of Orangetown, NY; the 300,000 residents of Rockland County, NY, and the 30,000,000 Americans adversely affected by the FAA ill-conceived NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign - Quiet Rockland opposes any such vote on PN 1005, and Quiet Rockland opposes Bobby Sturgell's confirmation.

Quiet Rockland is a non-partisan group. We are also proud Americans who believe in the integrity of the American system of government. We want environmental justice, and aviation justice. We also want to foster public pride in our government, and a continued belief that the system works - in the eyes of U.S. citizens, and in the eyes of the rest of the world. This letter has an e-mail distribution alone expected to reach 10,000 to 20,000 recipients. In the words of the late Jerry Garcia, the eyes of the world, are on this letter, and the further response of the Senators to it.

We are deeply concerned that any individual Senator who may vote Yes on Bobby Sturgell's confirmation, will be embarrassing himself or herself, will be embarrassing his or her home state and constituents, and will be embarrassing this country thereby.

Tomorrow, on Thursday April 3, 2008, before the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure headed by Congressman James Oberstar, there will be a Hearing on the alleged threats made against aviation safety inspectors by Southwest Airlines and the FAA. The matter of an airplane mechanic getting sucked-in to a running jet engine to his death, might also be addressed at this Hearing. The witness list for the Hearing is approximately 18 witnesses long. There may also be a related House Oversight Committee meeting in the morning.

These April 3 proceedings will bear directly upon Bobby Sturgell's FAA, and Sturgell's fitness vel non for the position of Administrator. Even if one assumes arguendo that Mr. Sturgell did not himself personally make or sanction threats against aviation safety whistleblowers, the offensive activity occurred at a failed federal agency under his watch. The April 3 House Transportation Committee Hearing in any event promises to chronicle Bobby Sturgell's failures.

All Senators will be apprised of the events occurring throughout the day during the Hearing tomorrow. Quiet Rockland urges all Senators to thereupon carefully consider the manifold reasons why any vote for Bobby Sturgell would be antithetical to the interests of this country and its citizens.

Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have already indicated that they will each continue to effect a Hold on Bobby Sturgell's proposed confirmation. Therefore, an Senate CS and T vote, even if it was a vote to confirm, would be a charade and a waste of time. With all due respect to the Senators, this country's citizens deserve better than to see time wasted by its public officials.

Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have also already indicated that they would not lift the Hold on Bobby Sturgell, if at all, until after Sturgell and the FAA withdraw the NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign with prejudice. At minimum, no vote on Sturgell's confirmation should occur until the Redesign is scrapped, and any vote in the interim would be, again, a waste of Senatorial time.

It appears that partisan interests still somehow want to try to float a vote in favor of Bobby Sturgell to try to claim some sort of symbolic victory for the Administration, even in the face of the Lautenberg/Menendez Hold. This would be a Pyrrhic victory for them at best. It would be Pyrrhic in the sense that governmental resources would be expended for no practical reason. That is the wrong way to govern, and one that the voters are taking notice of now and as we speak. Our country should not be led by illusory symbolism. Our country should be led by decisive, intelligent actions.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be a vote to continue to subject the American public to a steady stream of aircraft near-misses and near-disasters, such incidents occurring in epic numbers since Bobby Sturgell took over as Acting FAA Administrator half-a-year ago last fall.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be an imprimatur for further profligate federal spending, just like the US$53,500,000+ which Sturgell and his FAA cohorts already blew on the failed piece of software known as the NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign. This Redesign has been called but a Band-Aid Solution by FAA's own COO Hank Krakowski. The Redesign wasn't even originally engendered as a means to increase air-travel efficiency. The Redesign was first set in motion by NY-area air traffic controllers as a way to steer more air traffic their way from Boston and towards their own economic advantage. The Redesign was then re-purposed, re-tooled, and re-tread by Sturgell and FAA, once Sturgell and FAA realized they could use it to pad the pockets of their aero-mercantile cronies, and likely to their own personal economic advantage once they left the agency in the same manner that Made Marion Blakey recently did.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be a vote for a failed bureaucrat and failed agency that acts in blind and purposeful ignorance of Homeland Security concerns.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would sanction the further trampling of citizen due process rights of notice, opportunity to be heard, and meaningful involvement in the political process. The ONLY reason Quiet Rockland became active over the past year was because the FAA purposefully denied Rockland County residents those due process rights in the first instance. The time which the federal government now spends responding to Quiet Rockland, is effectively time that Bobby Sturgell has stolen from them, too, just like he has stolen from me the last year of my life spent in opposing him and his failed regime of aerocracy.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be authorization for the FAA to continue to abrogate environmental justice. In Rockland County, NY, if you are African-American, Jewish, working-class, or lower-income, then you can virtually bet that the FAA is seeking to fly low-altitude jumbo-jet aircraft over your head and home up to 600 times per day, and then lie to you when telling you that it was only the software and not FAA personnel that chose the flown-over neighborhoods. This is racism and classism by air. This will not be tolerated in the United States of America.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA will ensure that aircraft repair will continue to be outsourced to facilities in foreign countries, with little or no screening procedures in effect to ensure that mechanic-enemies of our country will be kept away those planes. That is an outrage.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would tell American citizens that it is absolutely normal for multiple major airlines like Southwest, United, and American to keep grounding hundreds if not thousands of aircraft for safety reasons while thereby stalling hundreds of thousands of passengers.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would tell American citizens that they were not at all put at risk when Southwest Airlines and Sturgell's FAA allowed hundreds of thousands of them to fly in un-inspected and in some cases cracked aircraft, at risk of rudder-control failure. Fuselage cracks comprise the same defect which caused loss of life in the Aloha Airlines disaster of 1988. During the recent Southwest crisis, Sturgell's FAA all the while told us we were never safer. Bobby Sturgell's initials of B.S. were never more appropriate.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would sanctify a regime wherein false federal filings are made, telling ersatz federal regulators that hazardous planes had already been grounded when in fact they had not. The wink-and-nod between regulator and regulated, must stop, now.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be tantamount to telling the American people that it is OK for the agency which is the regulator of our air safety, to be under federal and indeed FBI investigation for among other things threatening aviation safety inspector whistleblowers. That’s something a drug cartel would do.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would tell us that it is OK to run a federal agency like a P.R.-firm rather than a responsible arms-length regulator objectively protecting our health and safety. A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would tell us that it is OK for an agency and the airlines to work together to enlist a goon-squad of spelling-challenged Internet bloggers to hit the message boards and tell the American people that air travel was never safer, whilst planes are falling apart in un-inspected disrepair, and passengers are being continually put in further harm’s way.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be the Senate’s indication to Mr. Sturgell that the Senate has somehow forgotten all about how he lied under oath, committed perjury, and acted in contempt of Congress on February 8, 2008 before the CS and T Committee.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would sanction the recidivist arrogance, non-responsiveness, equivocation, and evasiveness that characterizes Mr. Sturgell's management style and that of his failed agency's current management.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would send a message to flyers that it is OK that airplane parts fly off in mid-flight and strike the passenger windows inches from their face; that is OK for an airline to deny a dying passenger oxygen when she needs it; and that it is totally understandable for an in-flight pilot's side-arm to be shot off while landing, puncturing a hole in the cockpit.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be a revival of the Oberstar-decried and Schiavo-decried Tombstone Mentality of the Tombstone Agency, the notion that ‘If the plane doesn't crash, we're doing great’; the notion that a federal agency is not required to anticipate and navigate around safety problems, but is instead only required to react if and when there is already a tombstone and post facto.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would be consistent with supporting other failed federal agencies such as FEMA, HUD, and the Fed. Yesterday's Helluva Job Brownie has now become today's Helluva Job Bobby.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would say it is OK for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to revolt in anger against the FAA. Yet it is very much in this country's interests to keep the Teamsters happy.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would say it is OK for FAA’s own aircraft inspectors to revolt against the FAA, too. The inspectors are right. FAA management is wrong.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would give a blessing to the continued anti-competitive and perpetual abuse by Sturgell and FAA of the most prized possession of the FAA workforce, the noble and skilled air traffic controllers who every day save the lives of passengers in the air, despite while enduring sub-human working conditions and the continued malicious FAA endeavor to break their own labor union.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would mean it is OK for a true solo-pilot to have no idea how to handle his labor force - and for an FAA to tell controllers that if they think the NY/NJ/PHL Redesign is unsafe, then they can go look for work elsewhere.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would sanction safety-disasters-in-the-making at places like Florida radar and control towers, and LAX runways.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would retroactively sanctify Sturgell’s failure to timely implement NextGen technology, which put further of our lives at risk thereby.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would work as a continued approval of the unlawful misconduct of an FAA Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) unit that continues to conceal, lie, deceive, and falsify documents.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would consecrate the further training of pilots at U.S.-based flight schools who themselves could be enemies dead-set on harming our country. That's how 9/11 happened in the first place, and given Sturgell's demonstrable contempt for the northeast, he doesn't seem to mind.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would stand for the principle that it is OK for an agency to be required to audit safety documents and safety compliance, only after they have been caught not doing same in the first instance over a period of many years. The compliance and enforcement measures taken now by FAA should have been done all along!

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would tell any one of us that, yes, we, too, can grow up the son of J. Edgar Hoover's personal secretary, in a family-owned biker-bar in Deale Maryland where biker recruiting-sessions and gunshots occur, and where outdoor signs are tolerated to post which insult patrons who are bikers, male homosexuals, and African-Americans, and then we can grow up to head a federal agency using a lawless yahoo-sounding undignified nickname like Bobby while running the place like the Dukes of Hazzard - just as long as once Quiet Rockland figures out it is our family that owns that biker bar, we put the biker bar up for sale on Craig's List before anyone else might hear about it.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would tell us that prudence only dictates anything AFTER we have been caught, and never BEFORE we have been first caught asleep at the switch.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would say it is OK for a regulator to totally fail to regulate.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would indicate to the American people that they should simply stomach and not object to - in the words of Rep. Oberstar when speaking about Southwest and the FAA - the worst safety problem occurring during all of Congressman Oberstar's 20+ years on the job.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would send all of us the message that it is perfectly normal for the Inspector General; the Government Accountability Office as the investigative arm of Congress; the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives; the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology; the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; civil litigators and the courts in no less than 13 now-consolidated federal court actions; and even now the FBI; to all be investigating the same failed federal agency at the same time.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would tell federal agencies that it is OK to collaborate with other federal agencies like NASA so as to purposefully obfuscate and conceal needed flight-safety data from the American people, and then release it on New Year's Eve when it is hoped that every citizen will be watching the ball drop instead of paying attention to the results.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would mean that is just fine to purposefully over-saturate and over-schedule the skies, and then blame the American traveler for it, instead of rightfully blaming the pecuniary greed of the aeromercantile complex which really caused the delays and inefficiencies.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would mean it is OK for an agency-head to lie to the President of the United States himself and tell the President that an airspace redesign would create a 20% efficiency savings across all flights, when the agency's own harbinger told communities not but a few weeks prior that the same redesign would only stand to save 3 minutes per flight.

A vote for a Bobby Sturgell FAA would further shake and threaten the American economy, and further give other economic competitors in countries like China, Germany, Japan, India and elsewhere the further leg-up, at a time in history when we need to compete as opposed to be led by inept agency bureaucrats and be laughed at by those countries.

The talent pool is deeper than this. There is more to leadership than wearing aviator glasses. We have an ugly aviation safety crisis and scandal on our hands. Let's wash our hands of it.

Let’s wash our hands of Bobby Sturgell and his failed administration.

Quiet Rockland further urges Congress to restore the faith of Americans and of the world, in the American aviation system. This is a great country that can be even greater. The FAA’s cozy relationship with the airlines and the agency's abject failure to regulate, must end NOW.

As for the progenitor of that cozy relationship, we have asked Congress to Just Say No to Bobby Sturgell.

Respectfully submitted,


John J. Tormey III, Esq.
Quiet Rockland - No New Flights Over Rockland County, NY

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