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Meigs Field closed~~Crews dig up runway in middle of the night
ABC 7 Chicago ^ | 03/31/03 | Paul Meincke and Andy Shaw

Posted on 03/31/2003 7:02:03 PM PST by cherry_bomb88

March 31, 2003 — Meigs Field is now out of service after the city cut into its runway. According to the city and the FAA, Mayor Daley has the authority to close Meigs, but many want to know why he chose to do it now-and in the middle of the night.

Very few people knew what was about to happen when the heavy equipment rolled into Meigs Field Sunday night at about 11:30. The FAA wasn't even informed until 2 a.m. Monday, well after the hired crews had started carving four X's into Meigs runway.

"I still can't believe it happened. It's pretty upsetting, to say the least," said Dr. George Shehl, a cardiologist from West Virginia in town for a convention. Nobody told him the runway was being destroyed. Shehl's plane is one of 16 now sitting at an airport that no longer has a working runway.

"The closure at Meigs reduces the risk and perception of risk at Meigs. It makes Chicago a safer city and makes us feel like a safer city," said Mayor Richard Daley.

The mayor today said his decision to close Meigs was based on security considerations even though there have been no specific threats, and as recently as ten days ago, he said there were no plans to close Meigs. He acknowledged that he wants to turn Meigs into a park, but offered no plan or timetable, and he defended his decision to move under cover of darkness, repeatedly calling it appropriate.

"I am not willing to wait for a tragedy as some have asked me to do, to happen before making a very difficult and tough decision," said Daley.

"What happened today was vandalism. And if mayor daley was a student in his schools he thinks he is improving, he would be seeing the principal," said Rachel Goodstein, friends of Meigs Field.

The group Friends of Meigs and other general aviation pilots are infuriated by what they call the Mayor's storm trooper tactics in destroying what they believe is an irreplaceable asset.

"This is a question of taking away a city asset that people, that the people of Chicago have invested tens of millions of dollars in and throwing it away," said Steve Whitney, Friends of Meigs.

The FAA says it's "concerned" by the mayor's action that it will put more pressure on O'Hare and Midway airports. The Air Traffic Controllers union calls it a stealth maneuver that's a major step backwards for Chicago and the epitome of arrogance. George Shehl and 15 others want their planes back.

"This is completely unprecedented in the history of general aviation in this country. This was a last possible thing I thought would happen. Now I'm concerned about my airplane," said Shehl.

The plan is to allow those 16 planes to take off using the 3,000 foot long taxiway here at Meigs. While that is possible, but it is subject to FAA approval and that could come in the next couple days. The Friends of Meigs say that they are exploring legal possibilities, but when you look at a pile of asphalt it makes that extremely difficult.

Before the bulldozers: the long debate over Meigs Field Andy Shaw

The mayor's unusual move at Meigs comes after years of political debate over the airport on the lake. His decision to shut down the airport now was apparently born of frustration that Federal Aviation Administration officials ignored his safety concerns for months before temporarily making downtown Chicago a "no-fly zone" two weeks ago-- even though New York, Washington D.C., and Disney theme parks have been off-limits to flyovers since 9-11.

"I think just the whole debate about the flight restrictions, temporary flight restriction and how hard it was to get as compared to Mickey and Minnie getting it," said Mayor Richard Daley.

As for the controversial decision to shut down the lakefront airstrip late last night without an announcement, Daley wanted to render Meigs unusable before anyone could file lawsuit to stop him.

"We made the decision and did it for public safety," said Daley.

"I think it is ironic we are fighting a war in Iraq to fight a man who does whatever he wants to do in his country and we have a mayor who is doing the same thing," said Barbara Whitney, Friends of Meigs.

"I support the security part but doing it in such a way, I don't support that," said Albert Su, Chicago resident.

Daley's tactics may offend some people, but he got nearly 80 percent of the vote in last month's election and most city residents don't care about Meigs.

"Does it matter to a Chicagoan? Not really, I never used it," said Sarah Moore.

The Blagojevich administration is solidly behind the mayor. Even though Daley didn't tell the governor or Lt. Governor Pat Quinn about it until this morning.

"With respect to Mayor Daley, he has good common sense and I think we can place a great deal of reliance on his good judgment," said Lt. Governor Pat Quinn

"This is a pure and simple land grab and he is hiding behind homeland security to try to make it happen," said Steve Whitney, Friends of Meigs.

Daley defends decision to close Meigs Statement made from City Hall

As most of you know by now, we have closed Meigs field. We have done this to protect the millions of people who live, work, and visit our downtown Chicago in these very uncertain times. Nine days ago, as you know, we announced that the FAA and the Homeland Security Department had approved our requests for a temporary flight restriction over the greater downtown area. We are grateful to those agencies for approving the restriction, but it's simply not enough to insure an appropriate level of safety and security to the people of Chicago.

First of all, a temporary flight restriction is just that-temporary. It could be lifted at any time without the approval of the mayor, the city council, the people of Chicago.

More important, it does not address the problem that occurs every day as the aircraft approaches Meigs Field within a few hundred yards and only a few seconds flight time of our tallest buildings. And not just our tallest buildings, but hundreds of thousands of people not only at the Taste of Chicago and the Grant Park concerts, the Museum Park, Navy Pier, Water Filtration Plant, will be using the beaches and visiting our museums.

Those airplanes appear to be going to Meigs, but within sudden turn, they could cause a terrible tragedy downtown on our crowded parks. That scares me. It scares people who live, who work, and visit our downtown. And who use our parks and work every day here in the city of Chicago. They should not have to wonder whether the airplane that appears to be headed for Meigs might have other intentions.

There is very little the city can do to reduce the risk of an attack by an aircraft. We have no control over airplanes in the air. We had to fight for months just to get the temporary flight restriction, months and years as well. But we can control whether we have a city airport that's a few seconds away from the heaviest concentration of people in buildings in North America.

The closure of Meigs reduces the risk and perception of risk at Meigs. It makes Chicago a safer city and makes us feel like a safer city.

Why did we act so quickly? Because the fears exist right now. To do this any other way would have been needlessly contentious and jeopardize public safety, prolonged anxiety among Chicagoans for months and year.

The groups that want to keep Meigs open are certain to be unhappy with the decision. I understand the concern, but public safety must come first and foremost here in the city of Chicago. The private aircraft that have been using Meigs will find plenty of space at other regional airports and there are. Yes, it will be less convenient for them, but the safety of the entire city had to take precedent over the wishes of a relative handful of private pilots and businesspeople.

As for 16 small planes currently parked at Meigs, we're awaiting word from FAA as to whether it will allow them to take off on the runway. Regardless of the FAA decision, I want to assure the owners of the aircraft the city will reimburse them for the expenses of removing the planes from Meigs.

Some of you may be wondering how the city can afford to close Meigs. In fact, Meigs has been subsidized to the tune of $3 to $4 million by the airlines and customers using O'Hare International Airport. Closing Meigs will provide welcome financial relief to our cash-strapped airlines.

Finally, to anticipate what I know will be a question, yes, I do want a park at Meigs Field. Yes, I am fully aware that many of you will likely question for months to come the motive for closing the airport. The reason we closed the airport now is a fear shared by the Park District, emergency management specialists, and myself about all those airplanes coming so close to so many people in the downtown area.

While there have been no specific threat, let me repeat -- there has been no specific threats-- as mayor of the city of Chicago, public safety is one of the primary responsibilities. I take it very seriously. I am not willing to wait for a tragedy as some have asked me to do, to happen before making a very difficult and tough decision.

Thank you very much.

FAA concerned about Meigs closing

Federal aviation officials say they were concerned to learn this morning that Meigs Field was shut down because removing any centrally located airport, such as Meigs, puts added pressure on Chicago's O'Hare International and Midway airports.

FAA Great Lakes region spokesman Tony Molinaro says the city can close Meigs because it is an "unobligated airport," which means the city has paid back all the federal money that was given to it for the airport.

Spokeswoman says governor didn't know about Meigs closing

A spokeswoman for Governor Rod Blagojevich says they didn't know about the Meigs Field closing ahead of time. But spokeswoman Cheryle Jackson says they weren't surprised either.

She says Blagojevich found out about the closing this morning from Illinois Department of Transportation staff.

Jackson says Blagojevich supports closing Meigs because of the security concerns of having a landing strip downtown.

Jackson called Meigs a convenience and a luxury that current security issues no longer allow.

She says the governor used Meigs to fly back and forth to Springfield, but now will use Midway.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: airport; daley; dictator; meigs; qusaydaley; saddamy
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hmmmmmmmm....Jay Marvin on WLS Am 890 Chicago said it best in his words that were something like this "We need the 82nd Airborne to come in and free us from our tyrannical ruler"
1 posted on 03/31/2003 7:02:03 PM PST by cherry_bomb88
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To: cherry_bomb88
why is this breaking news?
2 posted on 03/31/2003 7:03:51 PM PST by finnman69
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To: finnman69
Because Chicago is in need of a regime change.
3 posted on 03/31/2003 7:04:58 PM PST by OldFriend (without the brave, there would be no land of the free)
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To: cherry_bomb88
I thought the airport out there was named O'Hare.
4 posted on 03/31/2003 7:05:17 PM PST by SamAdams76 (California wine beats French wine in blind taste tests. Boycott French wine.)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: finnman69
less than 24 hours old, I would consider that breaking...was waiting for a print on it on a credible news source
6 posted on 03/31/2003 7:06:19 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Are you on the right side of the wrong issue or on the wrong side of the right issue???)
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To: finnman69; cherry_bomb88; Ramius
Because this is a fascinating story! - People have planes there and he has wrecked the field so they can't take off? - Unbelievable!
7 posted on 03/31/2003 7:06:44 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.)
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To: cherry_bomb88
"The closure at Meigs reduces the risk and perception of risk at Meigs. It makes Chicago a safer city and makes us feel like a safer city," said Mayor Richard Daley.

HUH?? .. having a runway at an airport is a security risk?

Oh hell .. why don't we do that to all the airports ..

8 posted on 03/31/2003 7:07:12 PM PST by Mo1 (Can I ask the media stupid questions?)
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To: cherry_bomb88
It makes Chicago a safer city and makes us feel like a safer city," said Mayor Richard Daley.

Well which is it, sleaze bag? Does it make you safer, or does it only make you feel safer?

9 posted on 03/31/2003 7:08:09 PM PST by WarSlut (40,000 men & women every day...)
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To: cherry_bomb88
Are you a local there? - Is this *really* about security concerns? - This guy's tinfoil hat is a little too tight!
10 posted on 03/31/2003 7:08:16 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.)
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To: finnman69
It has to be breaking news because there is no topic called breaking asphault.
11 posted on 03/31/2003 7:09:06 PM PST by Hanging Chad (not to be confused with "Hanging Ten" or "Hanging Wallpaper"...)
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To: SamAdams76
I thought the airport out there was named O'Hare.

Meigs is not for jumbo jets or commercial airliners for the most part...it's a place where private planes fly in and out of. Commercial flights generally go in and out of either O'Hare or Midway, both are over crowded.

12 posted on 03/31/2003 7:10:13 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Are you on the right side of the wrong issue or on the wrong side of the right issue???)
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To: cherry_bomb88
What's the real reason behind this?
13 posted on 03/31/2003 7:11:12 PM PST by The FRugitive
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To: cherry_bomb88
The Macon County Homeland Defence forces will volunteer to either remove King Richie or blow Chicago into the lake, whatever it takes

I'm glad Detroit isn't stupid enough to close the airport on Grosse Isle, I fly there half the time when I go to Tigers games,

It's a good thing the Cubs & Sox opened away today, someone might be dead

14 posted on 03/31/2003 7:11:31 PM PST by Ford Fairlane
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To: cherry_bomb88
You shouldn't even have to answer such a pointlessly antagonistic question. This is a message board, the posters get to make the judgement where their story belongs and this one is less than a day old. If the Admin Moderator has an objection to where a story is placed, they can and will step in and move it.

I'm getting tired of seeing people who've done nothing wrong have to explain themselves or apologize to know-it-alls.
15 posted on 03/31/2003 7:11:47 PM PST by WarSlut (40,000 men & women every day...)
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To: HairOfTheDog
I have lived here for 7 years. I've been down to the lake front and Meigs MANY times....for the size of planes that fly in and out of there as long as they maintain restrictions they should fly out OVER the lake and not through downtown, this should not have been a security issue.
16 posted on 03/31/2003 7:11:57 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Are you on the right side of the wrong issue or on the wrong side of the right issue???)
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To: Hanging Chad
rotfl....true....like your comeback!
17 posted on 03/31/2003 7:12:29 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Are you on the right side of the wrong issue or on the wrong side of the right issue???)
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To: Mo1
Well it's his call, I can see how it could be a problem, it is RIGHT by the lake downtown.

This is the phrase I was looking for:
"Regardless of the FAA decision, I want to assure the owners of the aircraft the city will reimburse them for the expenses of removing the planes from Meigs."

Those planes might end up being trucked out of there (I guess that's how you move a plane that you can't fly out) if the FAA wants to be a hardass.
18 posted on 03/31/2003 7:12:59 PM PST by Maximum Leader (run from a knife, close on a gun)
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To: cherry_bomb88
Daley is a terrorist, and this was a terrorist act. That's why it was done in the dead of night, with armed thugs to prevent anyone from stopping it.
19 posted on 03/31/2003 7:13:03 PM PST by Regulator
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To: cherry_bomb88
As for the controversial decision to shut down the lakefront airstrip late last night without an announcement, Daley wanted to render Meigs unusable before anyone could file lawsuit to stop him.
Translation: I wanted to act upon my whims before anyone could exercise their legal perogatives to try and stop me.

No wonder this guy doesn't want anyone having guns.

-Eric

20 posted on 03/31/2003 7:13:50 PM PST by E Rocc (Lefty demonstrations: a reason to be glad the news isn't shown in "smellovision")
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To: The FRugitive
Daley's bid for control...he's got his "Chicago Machine" governor in office now (Rod Goblomevich) and together they have vowed to make this state a facist socialist state...see their newest push on the gun ban...including shotguns!!!!!!
21 posted on 03/31/2003 7:14:04 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Are you on the right side of the wrong issue or on the wrong side of the right issue???)
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To: cherry_bomb88
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Identify your STATE Senator/Representative.

Enter your zipcode.

May reqiure street address, ie. Split district issue

Next choice - Congress, State, Local. Select “State” and press GO.

* Click here for Senator/Representative *

http://www.capwiz.com/nra/dbq/officials

Write your editor or letter to your local newspaper.

Enter your zipcode.

* Click here for local newspapers *

http://www.capwiz.com/nra/dbq/media/.

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22 posted on 03/31/2003 7:14:06 PM PST by CHICAGOFARMER (Citizen Carry)
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To: SamAdams76
I am sure there are several little airports in and around Chicago where private planes land.... losing one may not be a real loss to the city in the long run, but the planes that are stranded there have a real problem that is not cheap to solve!
23 posted on 03/31/2003 7:15:01 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.)
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To: E Rocc
I agree....he's the next Saddam....I think it's time to change states!!!!!!!!!!!!
24 posted on 03/31/2003 7:15:50 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Are you on the right side of the wrong issue or on the wrong side of the right issue???)
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To: HairOfTheDog
It's not so much the loss, Hair....it's the way in which it was done. This guy just does whatever the heck he wants...it's awful...we see this DAILY.
25 posted on 03/31/2003 7:17:02 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Born & raised native California Girl transplanted in Daley Hell)
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To: cherry_bomb88
This is just another assault on corporations by King Daley. He just continues to tax the hell out of small businessmen and yet wonders why the companies are leaving the city in droves. All you had to do was visit Meigs Field on any day when there was a business convention at McCormack Place and you would see corporate airplanes parked wing to wing. At least the Dupage County Airport welcomes corporate aviation. Businesses are moving to Dupage and the outlying counties because of Daley's continued extortion and harrasment of the companies that pay the taxes.
26 posted on 03/31/2003 7:17:31 PM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Maximum Leader
Well it's his call, I can see how it could be a problem, it is RIGHT by the lake downtown.

Sorry I don't buy it .. you don't do this in the middle of the night and not notify ANYONE .. not even the FAA

Sorry .. something smells with this excuse

27 posted on 03/31/2003 7:19:06 PM PST by Mo1 (Can I ask the media stupid questions?)
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To: cherry_bomb88
Made famous as the home airport of the original MS Flight Simulator.

Chicago, like California, just can't shake the liberal disease.

28 posted on 03/31/2003 7:19:07 PM PST by Russell Scott (Iraqi soldier, is it really worth dying for the Butcher of Baghdad?)
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To: cherry_bomb88
I agree, the Daley's have always been power hungry liberals at heart, and the city needs to rid itself of this tyranical ruler.
29 posted on 03/31/2003 7:20:12 PM PST by mrb1960
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To: cherry_bomb88
Oh yeah.... it is the way it was done.... it sounds like an act of madness if there was really no warning, and in the night? Why make it vandalism? - One can just close and airport without digging a rut in the runway. Is the guy on a personal vendetta about something?
30 posted on 03/31/2003 7:20:45 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.)
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To: Russell Scott
Yup...in California I was sheltered growing up in conservative Orange County...moved to downstate IL with all the dixiecrats and about went nuts with their ignorance, then I moved to DuPage County to find some solice in my liberal surroundings.
31 posted on 03/31/2003 7:21:57 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Born & raised native California Girl transplanted in Daley Hell)
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To: cherry_bomb88
The classic William Calley ploy.

I'd say that the Islamic terrorists have won one in Chicago.

No surprise that a Democrat would be the first to panic, shake with fear and destroy his own city to "save it".

32 posted on 03/31/2003 7:21:57 PM PST by Amerigomag
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To: Regulator
Well stop and think, who's brother was trying to steal the election for Gore a couple of years back???

HMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!

33 posted on 03/31/2003 7:22:01 PM PST by mrb1960
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To: HairOfTheDog
I am sure there are several little airports in and around Chicago

Actually, there aren't any, due to the suburbs

Meigs was the only one htat a small GA aircraft could fly into for events at McCormick, Soldier Field, etc & you can catch the train easily to get to Wrigley or anywhere else

The next closest GA airports are 30-40 miles away, if you are coming from less than a 2 hr drive it's not worth flying

It is way too expensive & dangerous to fly a GA airctaft into Midway or O'Hare

34 posted on 03/31/2003 7:23:02 PM PST by Ford Fairlane
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To: HairOfTheDog
He wants to put a flower garden in for his wife
35 posted on 03/31/2003 7:23:24 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Born & raised native California Girl transplanted in Daley Hell)
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To: cherry_bomb88
I'm in Texas and have no clue as to what caused the Mayor's decision, but even this far south I can smell money.
36 posted on 03/31/2003 7:24:30 PM PST by Flyer (We Own The Streets!!)
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To: cherry_bomb88
I lived here 52 years, its a land grab. The planes that go to O'hare and Midway (big ones that could do damage)will continue to fly directly over the city just as they have for years. This was re-affirmed by ATC on the radio today. This is nothing more than a big garden for daley's wife. How about that other park she's building that is like twice over budget already.
37 posted on 03/31/2003 7:25:03 PM PST by try phecta tom ((Harvey RULES. Paul not the rabbit)
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To: cherry_bomb88; chicagolady; Chi-townChief
Please pass along the ping, especially in Chicagoland...!

CONTACT THE FOLLOWING TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO SUE THE CITY OF CHICAGO IMMEDIATELY AND SEEK A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST ANY FURTHER SABOTAGE OF THIS IMPORTANT AIRPORT!!:

John O. Balsinger, Regional Representative, National Business Aviation Association, Inc., jbalsinger@nbaa.org (405-260-0889 tel - 405-260-1793 fax).

Rachal A. Goodstein, President, Friends of Meigs, rgoodstein@friendsofmeigs.org, 847-966-6168 fax, http://www.friendsofmeigs.org

Philip Boyer, President, Aircraft Owner Pilot Association, phil.boyer@aopa.org, Phone: 301/695-2000, Fax: 301/695-2375

38 posted on 03/31/2003 7:25:22 PM PST by unspun ("Well I'm proud to be a FReeper, where at least I know I'm an American; and I won't forget....")
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To: cherry_bomb88
The state of Illinois is being run from Mayor Dummy's office, so he can do whatever he wants. One can only hope that Patrick Fitzgerald can link him criminally to his mobbed-up friends such as the Duff family, and rid the state of this odious man.
39 posted on 03/31/2003 7:25:56 PM PST by Prince Charles
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To: cherry_bomb88
Was this a controlled or uncontrolled field? How obvious is the dug up part? - Did he just dig a rut in the middle of it? I hope no one tries to do an emergency landing.
40 posted on 03/31/2003 7:27:22 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.)
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To: unspun; tomkow6
(((((((((((((ping))))))))))))))))
41 posted on 03/31/2003 7:28:48 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Born & raised native California Girl transplanted in Daley Hell)
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To: cherry_bomb88
And his new condo is right under the final approach & he doesn't like to be woken by BUSINESS COMING TO CHICAGO AT MCORMICK

Stupid A$$

42 posted on 03/31/2003 7:28:52 PM PST by Ford Fairlane
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To: HairOfTheDog
He bulldozed two HUGE X's in the middle of the run way...no one could land there
43 posted on 03/31/2003 7:29:41 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Born & raised native California Girl transplanted in Daley Hell)
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To: Maximum Leader
They may get permission to take off from the taxi strip.

It may be stipulated that the takeoffs must be done by professional type-rated pilots under good weather conditions, and with minimum takeoff weight (read: minimal fuel).

The plane owners will have to start looking at Pal-waukee to the north or Dupage to the west (both busy gen-av and corp-av airports). There's also Aurora and Will county (Joliet) but those are getting pretty far away. Oh, and there used to be a little strip in Elgin, but they turned it into a shopping center or some such fool thing. Pity, that. (Watch City native <]B^)

Still, nothing will ever come close to Meigs for those destined for the Loop, Soldier Field, or McCormick Place.
44 posted on 03/31/2003 7:30:59 PM PST by Erasmus
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To: Ford Fairlane
OH YEAH, huh???? I forgot he bought in that condo place....dork...he's just a puppet for the mob and the governor is now a puppet for him...as evident about our new bill now pending that bans virtually EVERY gun!


45 posted on 03/31/2003 7:31:22 PM PST by cherry_bomb88 (Born & raised native California Girl transplanted in Daley Hell)
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To: HairOfTheDog
controlled 6am to 10 pm, I believe, ATC at the tower for the over city stuff, O'hare & midway controllers are way over worked - in fact I was told today flight following was run out of the Meigs tower, not sure if that is true, but if it is.....
46 posted on 03/31/2003 7:31:23 PM PST by Ford Fairlane
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To: cherry_bomb88
Was an "environmental impact" assessment done prior to the bulldozing of the runway??

Sounds like federal lawsuit material to me!!

47 posted on 03/31/2003 7:31:30 PM PST by Skybird
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To: Ford Fairlane
Heh.... It is too bizarre! He off his meds, methinks.
48 posted on 03/31/2003 7:32:52 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.)
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To: cherry_bomb88
Perhaps Daley know where Hoffa is!
49 posted on 03/31/2003 7:33:27 PM PST by silverNblackcuban
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That's Rachel A. Goodstein.
50 posted on 03/31/2003 7:34:51 PM PST by unspun ("Well I'm proud to be a FReeper, where at least I know I'm an American; and I won't forget....")
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