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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 8:05 pm | Fair 55º


Ron Fink: Lompoc Motorsports Park Trying to ‘Bury a Bone in a Minefield’

All citizens have a right to petition their government to resolve grievances they have with how things are going; but sometimes those grievances are alleged for purely political purposes.

This year’s election in Lompoc is punctuated by a very divisive project known as the Motorsports Park.

It has divided the town into two camps; one supporting and one opposing. It has drowned out all other issues in both the mayoral and council-member campaigns.

The latest salvo in this ongoing feud was fired by a member of John Linn’s election team; this gentleman also leases space in one of Linn’s properties.

In a letter to the city, Linn alleges numerous violations with the operation of the Skydive Santa Barbara business at the Lompoc Airport.

Let’s examine the motives that may be behind this complaint.

Linn and council member Jim Mosby are very strong advocates for the Motorsports Park. However, they chose the worst location possible to build it; on an airport and along the river bank.  

One recent blogger hit the nail on the head writing: “These motorway supporters are like a dog that wants to bury a bone in a mine field ... they don't care how it affects others and they don't care what it hurts”.

In 2003 the City Council approved a lease agreement with the skydive operation allowing them to “to develop a large hangar on approximately 9,000 square feet on the north side of the Airport.

The lease proposes a term of 20 years with an option for an additional 10-year term with rent beginning at a rate of 5.15 cents per square foot per month and yearly Consumer Price Index increases over the life of the lease.”

This agreement was terminated at the request of the skydive operator in 2004 because the city wanted him to build a sewer line under a nearby roadway.

However, in a 2014 “State of the City” speech, Linn reported the “expanded use” of airport facilities by Skydive Santa Barbara. So, apparently the lease agreement issue had been resolved.

But now the skydive operation stands in the way of the Linn/Mosby plan to build the Motorsports Park. The Federal Aviation Administration has stipulated that their project must accommodate the skydivers landing area, which is a very large inconvenience to them.

So, what to do?

Linn claims on his campaign website that “Today our city government has lost the business-friendly reputation that it had while I was mayor. Many of the policies and procedures that we put into place during my time in office were allowed to fall by the wayside, but with renewed attention and follow-through, Lompoc can again restore its reputation as a place that welcomes new business. Additional business and jobs increase city revenue, which we must have to maintain and improve our City services.”

But what does he do in practice? It depends on who you are.

Those opposing the Motorsports Park include federal regulatory agencies, which have raised numerous seemingly insurmountable issues, including a 75-acre endangered-species plantation, a requirement not to displace any airport-related operations, and a host of citizen groups who are concerned about property values and potential noise from the park.

A very successful airport-related business, Skydive Santa Barbara, is in the way and apparently Linn/Mosby determined it has to go.

So, they had a surrogate file a letter alleging many transgressions, some of which both Linn and Mosby had raised earlier at a recent council meeting, and which clearly tie both of them to the effort to evict a revenue-generating business in favor of their own pet project.

Both Linn and Mosby operate properties that have had numerous code-enforcement issues in the last few years, and the Motorsports Park committee chairman maintains a property that is riddled with fire, safety, and health hazards consisting of a large pile of junk in a residential area.

So their recent interest in code enforcement appears purely political.

This crew will do anything to eradicate obstacles that are in the way of their efforts to “to bury a bone in a mine field.”

How “business friendly” will Linn/Mosby team be if elected? It depends on whether your business is in their way.

The willingness of the Linn/Mosby team to run a productive business out of town to further their own self-interest is astonishing. Neither of these individuals is worthy of the positions they seek.
— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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