Sun, Aug. 18

City wrong to put brakes on auto, air show with such short notice

Let's put the shoe on the other foot.

Let's just say, for example, that the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce notified the City of Cottonwood, with about 30 days notice, that they wanted to have a whiz-bang, bring-the-whole-family auto and airplane show at the Cottonwood Airport.

No one would blame the city for telling the chamber that 30-days notice just doesn't cut it.

Likewise, it doesn't pass the smell test for the city and Airport Users Association to put the squeeze on the chamber with only 30 days notice to move to a new site for what would have been the Airplane, Auto and Cycle Show. It's not like the city got short notice from the chamber that the show would continue its 19-year tradition this year. The event has been on the chamber's calendar of events for well over a year.

The timing by the city and Airport Users Association is abysmal.

So, why did the chamber and event organizers not stand their ground?

It's simple. They were being patriotic, good Americans, but also maybe a little gullible. Chamber Assistant Director Donna Schmidt and Event Organizer Butch Hunt say Homeland Security concerns were among the issues raised during a meeting in which they were told they should find a new venue for their party.

Hey, in this day and age, who doesn't sit up and take notice when Homeland Security concerns are raised?

But a simple phone call to the Transportation Safety Administration would have revealed to the chamber that this Homeland Security bogeyman was a ruse. We called TSA Spokesman Nico Melendez and he said a small-town airplane and auto show is a non-issue.

"That is something we would have nothing to do with," said Melendez.

Certainly, we can all understand, and respect, the city's position that activity at the Cottonwood Airport has outgrown its ability to accommodate an auto and airplane show. Had the city made that case months in advance - what some people would consider common courtesy - it would have given the chamber and event organizers plenty of time to reorganize and find a suitable venue for a revamped auto and cycle show.

Or, the city could have opted to tell the chamber that the show will go on this year as planned, but this is it. Next year you have to find a new site. That would have been acceptable.

But to call a meeting some 30 days prior to the event to say we don't want you here is tacky and unprofessional.