When a crisis hits, it’s important that people remember that forming a circle and shooting inward is the worst possible response. The second worst is to ignore a crisis altogether.
Both responses were evident following the March announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration that Friedman Memorial Airport’s control tower is on a list of towers to be shuttered. It’s on the list because of the mindless, bipartisan, across-the-board, congressionally approved budget cuts called the “sequester.”
Some uninformed locals say it doesn’t matter if the tower is closed “because there wasn’t one there when we came here” back in the “good old days.”
On the flipside, at least one Friedman Memorial Airport Authority member is miffed that the public hasn’t shown up en masse to demand that the tower stay open.
The tower is critical to everyone who lives in, works in or visits the Sun Valley area, especially in July and August when Friedman Memorial Airport becomes one of the busiest airports in Idaho.
Private and commercial jets land in busy waves, drawn by high-level conventions and popular activities. If the waves turn into a trickle, the local economy will shrink and suffer severely.
The tired adage that “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” applies here. Just as people pay little attention to how their water, gas, electricity and sewer services are supplied, they too often aren’t aware of where their jobs come from—even in today’s fragile economy.
The FMAA needs to keep its wits about it and quickly exercise every possible option to keep the tower open. It’s a daunting task, but a lot less difficult than coping with the consequences of failure.