Can You Connect the Dots?
One of the mysteries surrounding the Eclipse program is why approvals have been put on the fast track by the FAA, at the highest level.
The GIT-R-DONE post, April 24, 2007 discussed three examples:
1. The Provisional Type Certificate Marion Blakey presented Vern at Oshkosh 2006, the one where she proclaimed, "What I have in my hand is probably the most significant piece of paper in America today, a piece of paper that will truly change the face of aviation."
It was presented by Executive Order! The airplane was still being tested when she was on the podium at Oshkosh.
2. Washington put pressure on the field offices to use whatever manpower necessary, work as much overtime as possible, delay requests to support other companies needing FAA support, do what it takes but finish the process in ABQ.
3. The C of A's for the three DayJet airplanes? Here is what was reported to me verbatim, except I have blanked a specific name and title:".... the FAA ASI's Inspecting the planes were finding a large number of problems- mostly workmanship issues, when they were looking inside. After several delays, Washington sent in the (title blanked) of Aircraft Certification Service, (name blanked), to take over, and (name) kicked the FAA San Antonio MIDO ASI's out, and signed an agreement with Eclipse that the FAA ASI's would no longer look inside panels or floorboards.
A day later, the Fighting Back post provided a fourth example with a link to the Grievance that stated in part:
"The faa management did this (issued Eclipse a Type Certificate) without allowing the aircraft certification engineers and flight test pilots to properly complete their assigned certification/safety responsibilities."
I guess with all the other crap that is going on in Washington such as the no-bid contracts in Iraq, Cheney and Haliburton, the members of Congress on the take, and whatever else is going on, the Eclipse FAA Fast Track is just too esoteric for any Washington reporter to be concerned enough to investigate.
However, one of our fellow bloggers has refused to let these events die and has provided some interesting leads:
Let's start with Marion Blakey, the FAA Administrator. We are going to overlook the fact she has absolutely no background in aviation, probably appointed by the same guy who appointed Brownie the head of FEMA. I digress, sorry, Marion's specialty is in transportation and traffic safety issues. From 1993 to 2001, she was the principal of Blakey & Associates, a Washington, D.C. public affairs consulting firm.
Today, Blakey & Associates is now Blakey & Agnew whose Principal is a Leslie Blakey, relationship to Marion is unknown. The firm still specializes in transportation and traffic safety issues.
Leslie Blakey, is executive director of the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running. Their web site www.stopredlightrunning.com.
So far, just a few facts, nothing incriminating, but now let's go to an unrelated source, Santa Fe Sheriff Greg Solano and his December 11, 2006 blog entry which reads in part:
Red Light Running Prevention Web Site tied to Camera Industry
The Free New Mexican has posted a link on its Red Light Camera Story to a web site called www.stopredlightrunning.com. The web site purports to be part of The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running . Some cursory checking shows the site and the National Campaign is sponsored by the Red Light Camera Industry. Among the sponsors is Redflex Traffic Systems.
This company has contracts in 106 cities world-wide and, with 90 USA cities under contract, is the largest provider of digital red light and speed enforcement services in North America. It is also the same company who supplies the cameras to Albuquerque and is proposing to supply them to Santa Fe.
The Executive Director of the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running is Leslie Blakey. She is a hired gun from the firm Blakey & Agnew, LLC. This is a public affairs and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC. The web site www.stopredlightrunning.com is an advertisement for the Red Light Camera industry. All the news listed in its news section pertains to Red Light Camera's. The only solution listed to preventing red light running accidents is the camera's. Nothing about proper light timing, enforcement by officers, or education of the driving public. Why do I bring all this up? This highlights one of the big concerns I have about this industry.
The movement for these camera's is being developed by private company's with an intense profit motive. The company's charge up to 40% of the fine to provide equipment, technical support and administer the program. Cities cannot install the cameras without contracting with these companies to provide the complete package with a percentage of ticket fines going to the company. Because of the high cost of administering the program the fines are set extremely high usually with entities using the excuse that the fines need to be high in order to be an effective deterrent.
These companies gloss over safety concerns brought about involving rear end collisions when drivers stop suddenly to avoid a red light camera ticket. That message would reduce sales. Since most states require citations to be issued by an officer who witnesses the violation (New Mexico included), these companies promote a civil violation program which skirts the state law.
On December 6, 2006, Sheriff Solano wrote:
The movement for these camera's is being developed by private company's with an intense profit motive. These company's have even been ensnared in bribery investigations in order to get cities to enact ordinances which allow the camera's. The company's charge up to 40% of the fine to provide equipment, technical support and administer the program. Because of the high cost of administering the program the fines are set extremely high usually with entities using the excuse that the fines need to be high in order to be an effective deterrent.
Then on December 13, 2006, Sheriff Solano wrote:
Yesterday Christmas came early for Santa Fe County. Santa wore a Bolo Tie as Governor Bill Richardson's staff called me a couple of days ago and asked me if I would like $300,000 to hire 4 more deputies and assign them to work strictly on the D.W.I. problem in Santa Fe County. I was really excited as I said "absolutely"!