First the City Council gave Captain Yancy Lindsey the key to the city. Then they raked him over the coals.
Mayor Casey Tanaka said the council wanted to show “how much we appreciate his service as skipper” and to let him know he’s always welcome back. Lindsey is about to hand over command of Naval Base Coronado.
“Holy cow,” Lindsey said. “You and the residents are very passionate about your city. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Yet the council's respect for Lindsey didn’t stop them from asking pointed questions when he gave his report on . Nor did the members' personal ties to the Navy.
Three – Carrie Downey, Al Ovrom and Mike Woiwode – served in the Navy. is the son of a Navy veteran. Yet all four took issue Tuesday with the Navy’s report, which expands a crash zone to take in the and hundreds of homes.
They not only criticized its technical aspects and legal ramifications, but also what it shows about the Navy’s relationship with the city.
“The Navy and city of Coronado had coexisted for 100 years and found ways to grow together,” Tanaka said. “This document is unworthy of the shared history. It is not how a neighbor treats a neighbor. We had no leverage in this process,” he said.
Ovrom reminded Lindsey that the council supported the Navy when it wanted to port nuclear carriers here, taking flack from residents and anti-nuclear groups. He also took pains to assure Lindsey that his issues were not with the skipper, but with the Navy.
His biggest beef was that the Navy had not worked more closely with the council.
“We have not had a discussion,” Ovrom said. “This is the first time we’ve had one.”
Woiwode wanted to know why Navy opposed legislation (the Knight Act) that would have exempted Coronado from reconciling the AICUZ with its general plan.
One of the main issues is the concern that expanded crash zones will force a change of zoning in the areas now included in them, leaving the city with fewer planning options. The areas are currently built out in land set aside for residential and business uses, which aren't compatible with land in crash zones.
Lindsey pointed out all the consideration the Navy gives the city.
“Most air landings are straight line. In Coronado it would go over the Shores and Hotel del. We don’t do that,” he said. “We are committed to working with the community.”
The AICUZ will help shape a larger airport plan for San Diego, a process that will continue for at least two years. Councilwoman Carrie Downey asked if the Navy will work with the city as the document, the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan, is shaped.
“Part of the process is working with the airport and community. We expect to be part of the process,” was the only assurance Lindsey gave.
He also said that the Navy would be happy to “meet with any group,” with concerns about the AICUZ. More than 90 people last month.