A Letter to Redlands City Council From Gil Brown, Coyote Aviation

I write this on March 29, “National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day.”  I find significant irony that the City of Redlands’ Instagram page is promoting that fact. Here’s why:

Along with George and Eva Saliba, my wife Carol and I own Coyote Aviation. For twenty years, we’ve been the managers of a single-building hangar facility we constructed at Redlands Municipal Airport. For that management, we charge $4-$6 per hangar per month.

Carol and I are lifelong Redlands residents, both with careers in education.  I taught 5th and 6th grade here for thirty-five years.  As a teacher, my mantra to my students was “Do your homework.”  It did not pertain to assignments.  It meant, “Understand a problem thoroughly before you attempt to solve it. Do your research before making important decisions.” Coyote Aviation’s supporters, your constituents, believe your homework may not have been done, or perhaps it was done by someone else.

On March 18, 2021 Coyote Aviation received notification of the termination of our lease. This was accomplished without the City’s ever reaching out to us.  One of the reasons cited for lease termination was that Coyote did not renegotiate a lease while in a month-to-month tenancy. The fact is that I did not receive any City notification regarding our lease status until August 31, 2020. It came in a phone call from Airport Supervisor Bruce Shaffer. Although section 25 of our land lease stipulates that notices (such as a change from long-term to month-to-month) be “served by deposit in the United States mail,” Coyote has never received such written confirmation of the “late” designation and change to month-to-month tenancy.

Tired of waiting for official confirmation after Mr. Shaffer’s phone call, I contacted City attorney Dan McHugh on September 21, asking simply the City accept our renewal request.  It was after my e-mail that I finally received e-mail confirmation from him about our change in status. This was 31 weeks after February 13, the date the City contends our renewal request was due.  Our simple request to continue our relationship, our first step in negotiations, was not seen by City Council until the October 20 meeting. To that request, we never received an answer.  No dialogue between parties ever took place because of the City’s inaction. Apparently, the City’s counter-offer was the March 18, 2021 lease termination. So much for “negotiations.”

We disagree with the “late” designation, but that particular matter will be addressed through legal channels.  This message is about the City of Redlands’ refusal to respond to our request of September 21 in a timely manner, nor to respond to any of our efforts to get answers.  I must charitably assume that as council members, you may have not been aware of the facts or of our own efforts to achieve a resolution before your decision in March to terminate our lease.  

You might not know, for instance, that between September 21 and October 23, I tried six times to begin negotiations, get an answer, or start a dialogue. On October 23, Chris Boatman told me to wait, that the City Council would not take up the matter until after the new year. Between January 5, 2021 and March 10, 2021, I made ten more attempts to get a response.   In over a year, from Feb 13 (the date the City says our renewal request was due) until March 18, 2021, Coyote received no initial notification of late designation, no City Council response or requests, no counter offers, nor any invitations to have a dialogue as I requested many times.  We were trying, but efforts apparently fell on deaf ears.  (I have e-mail evidence to support all claims here.)

Coyote Aviation is a ‘good deal’ for Redlands. In 2000, when we signed our agreement with the City of Redlands, City Council members were thrilled to have a 1-acre parcel of vacant land finally produce revenue.  Since then, the City has collected from tiny Coyote nearly $250,000 in construction fees and land lease payments, not including revenue from property taxes and municipal utilities. The current profit to the City is the highest per square foot of the three fixed base operators (FBO’s) by a wide margin. Coyote’s Consumer Price Index adjustment occurs every three years while the other FBO’s are adjusted every five years. Coyote has been an excellent tenant, never a violation, never behind on rent.

Your constituents and I might reasonably assume that you were unaware of these facts, that someone else did your homework for you. If you knew all this information, however, and you still decided to terminate Coyote’s lease for other reasons, an explanation to the public would be illuminating.  There is, however, a big difference between a reason and an excuse.  To anyone aware of the facts, the use of  “late written renewal request” simply looks like an excuse to take the property of others who’ve worked to create and sustain it, especially when the City knew we were going to renew our lease as far back as January of 2020 (verified in e-mail exchanges.)

As a teacher, if ever I discovered a student had relied on someone else’s answers to complete homework, I’d say patiently, “Do it again, and this time do it yourself. You’ll learn far more that way.”  Then I’d lower the grade on the submission as a consequence.  I suspect someone else may have been doing your homework, representing Coyote’sinterests, but not to the benefit of Coyote. I imagine you are experiencing some consequences right now.  

I respectfully ask the City Council members to reexamine Coyote Aviation’s position, and well as the council’s reasons, motives, and excuses for terminating Coyote Aviation’s lease. In doing so, then you can actually say “I did my homework.”

May be an image of text that says 'PLEASE Save Coyote Aviation'

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Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program Loans for Small Businesses

We know of some REI tenants that took advantage of the Small Business Administrations Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for their businesses. The PPP now allows certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan with the same general terms as their First Draw PPP Loan. There have been some recent changes to give priority for these loan applications for businesses with less than 20 employees. You can read about the program and changes on the small business administrations website at this link: Second Draw PPP Loans (sba.gov)

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AOPA 2021 Scholarship Program

Maybe you know someone that is passionate about learning to fly or who wants to earn an advanced rating? Please note the deadline to submit applications is 2-14-21 

  Growing the Pilot Population Through the AOPA Flight Training Scholarship Program
Take advantage of AOPA’s scholarship program—over $1 million in awards—or pass along this information to someone you know is passionate about learning to fly or wants to earn an advanced rating. 

Multiple scholarship opportunities are available to AOPA members, including: AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarships: 80 exceptional aviation-minded high school students will each be awarded $10,000 to pursue a private, sport, or recreational pilot certificate.AOPA Teacher Flight Training Scholarships: Up to 20 teachers dedicated to advancing aviation education in the classroom by teaching the AOPA High School Aviation STEM Curriculum are eligible to apply for this scholarship, which can be used to earn a private, sport, or recreational certificate.AOPA Primary Training Scholarships: Multiple scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $7,500, will be awarded to members ages 16 and up to help fund the cost of training for a private pilot, sport pilot, or recreational pilot certificate.AOPA Advanced Rating Scholarships: Multiple scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $10,000, will be awarded to outstanding member pilots with career aspirations seeking an Instrument, Commercial, CFI, CFII, or MEI rating.   The deadline to submit all scholarship application materials, including recommendation letters and transcripts, is February 14, 2021, 11:59 p.m. (EST).   APPLY NOW LEARN MORE
The AOPA Flight Training Scholarship Program is made possible thanks to donations to the AOPA Foundation.

Donate today to help build a stronger, safer aviation community.

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Comment by 12-23-20 on Closure of Stovepipe Wells Airport

Dear Members and Friends of CalPilots

We recently received notice from the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) that the National Park Service (NPS) is considering closing the Stovepipe Wells airport in the Death Valley National Park. 

According to the RAF, if the Park Service does not receive at least 400 comments from the pilot community regarding Stovepipe Wells, they will ignore the pilot’s input. WE NEED YOU TO COMMENT BEFORE DECEMBER 23.

I strongly encourage anyone who would like to help preserve our access to this airport to fill out this form:

Comment on proposed closure of Stovepipe Wells airport

It doesn’t take long, maybe ten minutes.  This short amount of time could help preserve a valuable national resource.  The complete message from the RAF is below.  It contains some information that my be useful as you complete the comment form.

Sincerely,

Carol Ford, President

Managers of Death Valley National Park in California are seeking public input regarding future use of the park’s Stovepipe Wells Village. One of the park’s proposals is to change the Stovepipe Wells airstrip into a dedicated night sky viewing area due to the prohibitive maintenance expense of repaving the runway. This is due to the park’s perceived lack of visitation to the strip, combined with a growing interest in attendees in night-sky astronomy. With this change, the airstrip is in danger of closing entirely to light aircraft visitation.

The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) believes that pilot activity and stargazing can successfully co-exist with minor changes to existing infrastructure, and we are urging members to submit comments to the park in support of both pastimes.

Death Valley National Park is more specifically proposing the following change (the following text was captured from the park’s official Facebook page):

• Night Sky Viewing to Replace Airstrip: night sky viewing events in the park regularly attract over 250 people, and very few people use the airstrip at Stovepipe Wells. The park proposes changing the airstrip into a place where astronomical societies can set up and camp with their large telescopes, while providing an opportunity to experience the park’s spectacular dark skies. The Furnace Creek Airport, 18 miles away, would still be available for small planes.

If the Park Service does not receive at least 400 comments from the pilot community regarding Stovepipe Wells, they will ignore the pilot’s input. WE NEED YOU TO COMMENT BEFORE DECEMBER 23.

Additional details and comment submission form can be found at the following link:

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

The RAF suggests the following talking points for members who wish to comment:

· Pilots support stargazing. This is a very successful combination of compatible pastimes. This has been proven at Havana, Illinois, where fly-in stargazing events draw many campers both by air and car. The Blue Canyon airport at Nyack, in Tahoe National Forest is another perfect example.

* Current facilities at Stovepipe Wells are at about 1/2 mile hike away. The airstrip will see a significant increase in visitation should facilities such as a dedicated camping area, as well as toilets be provided to visitors to the airport.

· At 3,260 x 65 ft and a significant existing visitors area, there is ample room for both activities at Stovepipe.

· Providing for under-wing camping at the airstrip helps disperse usage, and puts no additional strain on the NPS campground.

· Its daylight use by small planes minimizes impact to campers and star gazers.

· This airport has historical value, having been established in 1948.

· Stovepipe Airstrip provides another feasible way to access this special land. For many, driving to Stovepipe Wells represents a huge investment of time, and access by small plane opens up that opportunity.

Thank you in advance for your support of this RAF Call to Action! The RAF will be following up with final comments on our website in the near future.

Questions may be directed to CA State Liaisons Rick Lach: rlach@theraf.org and/or Katerina Barilov: kbarilov@theraf.org

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Norm Nissen, Owner of Norms Hangar Restaurant, has Passed

Some of you may have met Norm over the years at Brackett Field, KPOC. Many of us have enjoyed good times with friends at his restaurant. Please see the letter below shared by the Brackett Airman’s Association.

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2021 Reno Air Races are in Jeopardy – Donations Requested

Please take the time to read this. The Reno Air Races are in jeopardy. There are many at REI that have competed at Reno and many more that have enjoyed the races. Donations from fans and participants are requested to initially raise $500,000 of the $1 million the Reno Air Race Association (RARA) needs to stage the 2021 races in Reno. You can read about the challenges and efforts to save the Reno Air Races at this link. You can also make a tax deductible donation on the site as well: Save the Races – Reno Air Races

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Great day for an airport breakfast!

We had a good turn out for a breakfast flyout this morning. Check out the motley crew from this morning.

A group of REI pilots meet each VFR Sunday morning to fly out to a local airport for breakfast. All are welcome! We meet at the REI lobby between 7 & 7:30 am to decide where we want to go. If you have questions send an email to redlands.airport.association@gmail.com

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Fly-In Movie Night at Luxivair SBD – Saturday, October 17th

You’ve been to a drive-in movie, but have you been to a FLY-IN movie? Well, now’s
your chance! Guests will get a fresh take on movie night on the ramp at Luxivair SBD on Saturday, October 17th. The event starts at 5:30 pm. The first movie starts at 6:30, the second movie starts at 8:15. It includes complimentary food and beverage sponsored by EPIC Fuels. For more information click on this link: Fly-In Movie Night at Luxivair SBD

This is a free event, with limited seating for REI guests. Tickets will be available on a first come first serve basis. Please email Cat Pritchett to obtain tickets. Her email is: cat.pritchett.909@gmail.com

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Update on California Bills SB 902 & SB 1120

SB 1120 and SB 902 are being driven by developers, and if passed into law could have a very negative impact on general aviation airports in California.  These bills essentially strip local government of land-use planning and approvals in the name of “affordable” housing in the state. 

We heard that despite the last-minute oppositions by the aviation community, the bills were not stopped during committee review. Fortunately, both bills were not passed by the California assembly by the 8-31-20 legislative deadline. That date is the last day for each house in the California legislature to pass bills this year. So, these bills are dead for now. Unfortunately, there is a high probability they will be resurrected in next year’s CA legislative session which begins January 4, 2021.

Thank you to all that took the time to contact legislators to oppose these bills. At a minimum calling attention to the deficiencies in the bills could lead to amendments that maintain existing land use protection around airports. We will share any additional information we learn about these bills.

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Protect our California Airports! Help Oppose SB 1120 & SB 902

Please see the email below and attachments we received from Melissa McCaffrey, AOPA.  This went to all AOPA members in California, but some of you may not have seen this or no longer belong to AOPA. Her request is important to share. Please take the time to contact your CA Assemblyman by email or phone no later than Monday 8-10 to oppose the bills she mentions.  Please see the instructions in her email. 

Redlands Airport is in CA Assembly Member Ramos district. As such, Melissa as asked us to contact him to oppose the bills. Some of you may reside in other CA assembly districts and you will need to contact your CA assembly member to do this. If you are not sure who that is, please use this link to contact your CA assembly member:  http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/  Please be sure to change the name in the email to your assembly members name. 

If you have questions, please contact us at redlands.airport.association@gmail.com 

From: McCaffrey, Melissa <Melissa.McCaffrey@aopa.org>
Sent: Saturday, August 8, 2020 12:56 PM
To: McCaffrey, Melissa <Melissa.McCaffrey@aopa.org>
Subject: Help AOPA Oppose SB 1120 and SB 902

Dear Redlands Pilots,

I hope this email find you well during these difficult times.  My name is Melissa McCaffrey and I manage Government Affairs issues in AOPAs Western Pacific Region, which includes lobbying for State level legislation affecting general aviation.  I am writing to ask for your help in our legislative effort opposing two bills that are being heard by a committee in the California Assembly on Tuesday, August 11th

I am asking that you contact your Assembly member, who has Redlands Municipal Airport in their district and ask them to OPPOSE SB 1120 and SB 902 and NOT support either bill passing through the Assembly Local Government Committee on August 11th.  Please tell the office that you are a constituent in the Assembly Members district. You can call the number below or copy the suggested text into an email.  Please reach out by the end of the day Monday, August 10th, the hearing will be held first thing in the morning on Tuesday, August 11th.

Why is this effort important to you as an AOPA member?  SB 1120 and SB 902 are being driven by developers, and if passed into law could have a very negative impact on general aviation airports in California.  These bills essentially strip local government of land-use planning and approvals in the name of “affordable” housing in the state.  More information on these bills is available here:  https://www.livablecalifornia.org/act-now-3-2/.  Please help us protect California general aviation airports that could be threatened – or even closed by housing development that is incompatible with airports.  We need you to take action to help us defeat the developer’s efforts in Sacramento!

Please take action to help us save California airports!

Call your Assembly Member by the end of the day on Monday, August 10th, and ask them to oppose SB 1120 and SB 902, both being heard in the Assembly Local Government Committee on August 11th.

Assembly Member James C. Ramos

Phone: (916) 319-2040

E-Mail: https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD40&inframe=Y

Please send an email using this suggested text and the email link above:  

Hello Assembly Member Ramos,

I am a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), a pilot and a constituent in your district.  AOPA is a not-for-profit member organization representing two thirds of all pilots in the United States, and over 36,000 members in the State of California.  I ask that you oppose SB 1120 and SB 902 passing through the Local Government Committee on August 11th. This is very important to pilots in California and I would appreciate your support.  Both SB 1120 and SB 902 would have serious negative consequences to airports across the State, including Redlands Municipal Airport.  Thank you for your consideration.

Join me on a conference call to learn more about SB 1120 and SB 902 and why we are opposing them.  I will host this Q&A session on Monday morning from 9:00am – 10:00am Pacific Time and will be happy to personally answer your questions.  I will be available for the full hour, so please join the call at any time.  

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

+1 667-401-1062   United States, Baltimore (Toll)

Conference ID: 841 849 023#

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I cannot stress enough how impactful strong community support is to legislators.  Your calls and emails WILL be heard by your Assembly member – even if you must leave a voice message!   AOPA is actively opposing these bills and I have already submitted AOPA position letters (attached) to the docket for the hearing on the 11th.

Thank you for your membership in AOPA and for your help in OPPOSING these bills.  Together, we can keep the future of general aviation airports in California bright!

Melissa McCaffrey

Government Affairs, Western Pacific

Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association

o: 301-695-2228 | c: 386-366-1811

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