Santa Paula Times

Above is an aerial photo taken during the recent storm. The photo shows the Santa Clara River and the damage to the Santa Paula Airport. Photo provided by Pat Quinn Santa Paula Airport

Thank You Santa Paula

March 02, 2005
Living with a Tiger
Santa Paula News
Nearly everyone has seen a travelogue or animal story on TV about some village in Asia that is menaced by a tiger. The visual statements usually show some relatives and loved ones crying in despair after the tiger killed some innocent victim. You can’t help but wonder why they do live in tiger country. Why don’t they leave? The truth is that they still love the tiger. The tiger is beautiful and provides a needed service. It is respected while being feared. Besides, it is home. So it is with the Santa Clara River, our tiger.Our recent disaster at Santa Paula Airport, while horrible, showed the best of the community in which we partake. Your friends at Santa Paula Airport would like to thank the citizens of this great city for your support. It is impossible to express our level of deep gratitude to the scores of volunteers, city employees, police and fire department, city hall staff and city council who helped us in our hour of need. At the risk of forgetting someone, we would like to especially thank the following hometown folks:Captain Steve Lazenby, Santa Paula Fire Department, who, on his own initiative, started a river watch and discovered the river undermining the airport’s east end. After immediately telling airport officials, he started notifying all the relevant agencies for help.Dean Lindsey, who, upon discovering our problem starting, immediately called in his construction company’s resources and more to stop the damage from being much worse. He and Bruce Dickenson certainly saved the east end of the airport, and probably the whole airport, by their actions. They were the “Dynamic Duo” of this disaster.Mayor Mary Ann Krause, for showing that she cares by her presence and her concern.Councilman Ray Luna, for being there for support and for escorting Congressman Elton Gallegly through the disaster site.Fire Chief Paul Skeels, for first devoting the Santa Paula Fire Department to the disaster, but most of all for possibly finding the long-term funding solution to restore the airport and riverbank.Police Chief Bob Gonzales, for establishing the command post, coordinating emergency services, and unleashing his police officers to help.The Santa Paula Police Officers and Firefighters were there to help, and did. No task was too big or too small.Chief Rick Araiza, for organizing the fire department efforts.City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, for holding down the fort and answering the barrage of telephone calls from the press and public agencies.Public Works Director Cliff Finley, for being the face of Santa Paula to the press.
Building and Safety Director Steve Stuart, for being there to assist in any way he could.Jim and Marie McCoy, for establishing a free food stand for all the emergency workers. Never asking for even a dime, they continued to serve hot meals, coffee and snacks throughout the disaster at their own expense. Their chicken stew was the best ever!To all of the scores of hometown volunteers who, through the whirl of chaos, helped and were not remembered here.Unlike a lot of communities with airports, Santa Paula likes its airport and recognizes its contributions to the community. Conversely, Santa Paula Airport appreciates its position in the community, and is therefore active in community events and really tries to be a good neighbor.Further, the airport hosts a monthly event called “First Sunday at Santa Paula Airport.” Supported by the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula, we invite you to come free of charge and experience the airport firsthand. This open house is one of the oldest and most successful airport open houses in the country. Please come and visit us so we may thank you.The airport is one of the largest employment entities within the City of Santa Paula. There are 26 businesses at the airport that employ over 100 people and have a total business value of over $21,000,000. They generate estimated gross sales of $6,000,000 per year. There are six major aircraft repair facilities, Logsdon’s Restaurant, a world-renowned flight school (CP Aviation), and the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula at the airport. It has over 170 hangars and 300 aircraft of all types.The Santa Clara River is the lifeblood of the valley. It provides us water, agriculture, green fields and orchards. It helps to make our valley one of the prettiest agriculture valleys in the world and the perfect place to live, work or play.Yes, we live with a tiger, and once in a while someone gets bit. We choose to be here. We look forward to the day when we can return to a normal life. The best is yet to come!Santa Paula Airport