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So I sent a letter ...

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So I sent a letter ... about the proposed aviation fee to my 2 US senators and my congress critter, per USPA's request from a day ago. It was a slightly expanded version of the model letter USPA suggested.

I only got one response so far. I heard back today from Saxby Chambliss. Here's how his response began:

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"Dear Mr. Becker:

Thank you for your recent correspondence concerning the unemployment rate. Your taking time to contact me is greatly appreciated. "

[7 paragraphs dealing with the unemployment rate and his position and concerns follow]



(I sent an email back in reply, but got an automated reply saying I had to use his website to contact him (as I did initially when sending my letter.) Asshole.)

Doesn't make me hopeful that letter writing is worth the time.

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So I sent a letter ... about the proposed aviation fee to my 2 US senators and my congress critter, per USPA's request from a day ago. It was a slightly expanded version of the model letter USPA suggested.

I only got one response so far. I heard back today from Saxby Chambliss. Here's how his response began:

Quote



"Dear Mr. Becker:

Thank you for your recent correspondence concerning the unemployment rate. Your taking time to contact me is greatly appreciated. "

[7 paragraphs dealing with the unemployment rate and his position and concerns follow]



(I sent an email back in reply, but got an automated reply saying I had to use his website to contact him (as I did initially when sending my letter.) Asshole.)

Doesn't make me hopeful that letter writing is worth the time.



Sounds like Chambliss' office (or some automated tool they're using) is looking for keywords and giving you a standard response. Since the model USPA letter referenced "jobs" you got the unemployment letter.:D
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Sounds like Chambliss' office (or some automated tool they're using) is looking for keywords and giving you a standard response. Since the model USPA letter referenced "jobs" you got the unemployment letter.:D



My letter did not have the words "job" or "employment" in it. (I framed it as the perspective of a fun jumper.) But yes, the response was a "canned" one, and purportedly from the senator himself: signed by him and used personally referencing phrases like "I appreciate your thoughts on the economy ...". Regardless, it is pretty clear that he thinks people who contact him are stupid.

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I've done the letter campaigns before. What's the issue this time?



I seem to recall a post or a message somewhere suggesting that people in the USA write their representatives to oppose new users fees.

http://www.uspa.org/NewsEvents/News/tabid/59/Default.aspx#32963
"Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me" Dorothy

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I've done the letter campaigns before. What's the issue this time?



Proposed FAA employee retirement funding John ;)
I find that inclusion of a contribution to the congress-critters re-election campaign tends to get a more.... "focused" personal response.

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Proposed FAA employee retirement funding John ;)
I find that inclusion of a contribution to the congress-critters re-election campaign tends to get a more.... "focused" personal response.

:D:D:D Lemme go get my checkbook. . . ;)

You know, we had a two tier type retirement pension in our building. I hired on in 1984 and got the new plan. I would have traded for the old one in a heartbeat. I wonder what future shenanigans await my son during his career. :S

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Having worked in government, I'm familiar with the way Senators' and Congressmens' staffs handle constituent issue mail. Most of the time, they get massive quantities of such mail (which has expanded about thirty-fold since the advent of e-mail and websites), and they only have limited staff resources to deal with it all. Much as it would be nice if they could, they simply cannot tailor-draft a personalized response to every individual piece of mail. So, they generally use such mail as a sort of issue poll, sorting the mail into broad "pro" and "con" categories. They have form letters pre-drafted; the "pro" letters get Response A, the "con" letters get Response B, and the nut-job mail (there's lots of that, too) gets forwarded to the Capitol Police or the FBI. They're not really being assholes; they're just dealing with the volume as best as they can.

But in the meantime, at the very least, the individual constituent's pro or con vote is recorded and tallied; and that tally does sometimes influence they way the legislator comes down (or whether he proactively takes action) on the issue addressed in the letter. So take heart - your letter may very well have more long-term influence than you realize.

ETA: One more thing - every Congressperson has at least one, sometimes more than one, field office, usually staffed part-time, in his/her home district. ("Constituent services" at the local level is a vital part of what they do.) That means your Congressperson has a physical office fairly near where you live. Call them, find out when they have office hours, and visit there personally and tell them how you feel. People do it all the time; you should, too.

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yup her letter has been put in the UNEMPLOYMENT pile... nothing to do with user fees on aircraft. [:/]



Yep, and now her Congressman can go on record: " I am opposed to unemployment!" Attaboy, Sir.



Many elected officials are lawyers... can't trust a one of them! :P
"Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me" Dorothy

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yup her letter has been put in the UNEMPLOYMENT pile... nothing to do with user fees on aircraft. [:/]



Yep, and now her Congressman can go on record: " I am opposed to unemployment!" Attaboy, Sir.



Many elected officials are lawyers... can't trust a one of them! :P



Oh you can trust 'em...to BE a lawyer! ;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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yup her letter has been put in the UNEMPLOYMENT pile... nothing to do with user fees on aircraft. [:/]



Yep, and now her Congressman can go on record: " I am opposed to unemployment!" Attaboy, Sir.



Many elected officials are lawyers... can't trust a one of them! :P



Oh you can trust 'em...to BE a lawyer! ;)



http://thumbnails.illustrationsource.com/huge.101.505674.JPG

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yup her letter has been put in the UNEMPLOYMENT pile... nothing to do with user fees on aircraft. [:/]



Yep, and now her Congressman can go on record: " I am opposed to unemployment!" Attaboy, Sir.



Many elected officials are lawyers... can't trust a one of them! :P



Oh you can trust 'em...to BE a lawyer! ;)



99% of lawyers give the rest of them a bad name!
"Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me" Dorothy

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yup her letter has been put in the UNEMPLOYMENT pile... nothing to do with user fees on aircraft. [:/]



Yep, and now her Congressman can go on record: " I am opposed to unemployment!" Attaboy, Sir.



Many elected officials are lawyers... can't trust a one of them! :P



Oh you can trust 'em...to BE a lawyer! ;)



99% of lawyers give the rest of them a bad name!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqOJo65unGs










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Would you please re-post the link to finding our State Congressmen? I can't find that USPA e-mail.

Thanks.



You had to click on the work "link" and on "model letter" in the text of the email.

I've copy pasta'd them here:
Link to website allowing one to easily find their senators and representatives
http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

USPA model letter:
http://strongmail1.multiview.com/track?type=click&eas=1&mailingid=2055387&messageid=2055387&databaseid=Mailing.DS55387.2055387.40204&serial=16938471&emailid=divalent2007@gmail.com&userid=35818289&targetid=&fl=&extra=MultivariateId=&&&2003&&&http://www.uspa.org/Portals/0/Downloads/skydiverltr.doc

(Remember, you got two senators and one representative. (sorry for insulting anyones intelligence by stating that :)

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Thanks again, & you didn't insult my intelligence. Washington is just one, big cesspool, S far as I'm concerned. I wasn't sure how many TROGs I needed to write to. I kept it nice. I'll be surprised at getting any kind of decent reply, though.

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$100? Why not $500 ... or $20?

Obviously, no one in the FAA or GAO actually crunched the numbers and came up with $100 as the appropriate fee. So, other than pulling a number out of their a$$, how did someone come up with $100? Seems rather arbitrary and random.

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Just to throw mine in.

I sent a letter as well to my senator, Claire McCaskill.

I have to say I have sent several other notes on issues, and have always gotten an issue specific letter back pertaining to my concerns....

Here is the response I received:


April 26, 2013
Dear Mr. XXXX

Thank you for contacting me about aviation user fees. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, many airport services are funded by the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is funded by fees and taxes charged within the aviation system. However, revenue to the Trust Fund often falls short of providing full funding for important aviation services, such as air traffic control and capital improvements for airport and airways systems. To address shortfalls, Congress often makes up the differences with general taxpayer revenue. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Airport and Airway Trust Fund provided about 69% of the funding required for Fiscal Year 2011. In these fiscally constrained times, it is not clear that Congress will or can act to make up shortfalls, such as that experienced in fiscal year 2011, in future fiscal years. Accordingly, to address future shortfalls, some aviation stakeholders have proposed implementing a new aviation user fee.

The new aviation user fee that has been discussed would be a fee charged to airlines based on the number of takeoffs and landings a plane requires through its journey. Proponents of this user fee say that it better approximates the level of air traffic control services used by an aircraft than does existing fuel and ticket taxes, which are the current primary sources of revenue for the Trust Fund. In 2008, the Bush Administration first proposed implementing such a user fee, and, most recently, the Obama Administration proposed a $100 per flight fee payable by aviation operators who fly in controlled airspace. Military aircraft, public aircraft, air ambulances, and recreational piston aircraft would be exempted.
I understand that for some aviation stakeholders, especially those in general aviation, these user fees would increase the cost of flying and impose challenging processing requirements. Some have suggested raising aviation fuel taxes in lieu of implementing such a user fee.

Fundamentally, as we consider ways to reform how aviation services are funded in order to ensure the health, sustainability and vitality of the aviation system in this era of scarce resources but increasing demands, it is important that we strike the right balance between making sure that users of the aviation system reasonably contribute to its maintenance and maintaining our vibrant aviation industry without unfairly burdening its users. I continue to encourage stakeholders to pursue this balance.

You may be interested to know that in February, 2012, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (P.L.112-95), which authorized Federal aviation programs through 2015, was signed into law. The new law will provide long-term certainty for the aviation industry and stakeholders and implement much-needed reforms for our air traffic system. The reauthorization did not include new aviation user fees.
Please know, I will continue to keep your views in mind when proposals to reform aviation financing come before the Senate for consideration.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.
Sincerely,

Claire McCaskill






So there it is.

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I'd sent out three lengthy e-mails to my State legislators. As expected, I've only received two automatic responses acknowledging my queries... The third's office doesn't even bother to have auto-response e-mails enabled. I've since heard boo from any of them. Worthless TROGs...

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I actually got a pretty good snail mail reply from my congress critter. It may have been a canned respone, but it dealt with the issue specific issue I wrote about, and gave some back ground info about with is in play here.

For example: fuel tax and other fees right now only cover about 2/3rds of the cost of air traffic system, and the intent was always that the system be self supporting. The letter mentioned that fuel tax doesn't quite parcel the cost out in a way that matches utilization. So the "per flight" fee is one way to try to balance things out.

Unfortunately, skydiving flights don't fit either model they are thinking about when proposing this fee (not big airliner with many paying passengers, not private plane going long distance): in terms of the tax burden, it hits the type of flights skydiving planes do quite hard, as they take off, ascend, pop into controlled space for a few minutes, then dive out of it. "Per flight" might be "fair" for every other type of operation, but seems to excessively tax skydiving operations well beyond their use of the system.

(In that regard, I'd be interested in pilots and/or ATC folks weighting in on the issue of what sort of burden skydiving flights put on the ATC system relative to other types of flights; e.g, a private/corp jet flying 300 miles vs a major airliner vs an otter turning a load.)

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(In that regard, I'd be interested in pilots and/or ATC folks weighting in on the issue of what sort of burden skydiving flights put on the ATC system relative to other types of flights; e.g, a private/corp jet flying 300 miles vs a major airliner vs an otter turning a load.)



TPA approach usually just tells our pilot to ident, maintain VFR and will give us a traffic alert if needed. 2 minute call gets announced and then in the descent, they will keep quiet unless there's an airplane in the area of our descent. Depending on their workload, they might drop us right after the jumpers away call, or they might hang on till the plane is descending thru 5k-ish.

I actually think it's more work managing a plane shooting an ILS at one of the airports in the area than it is for a jump plane.
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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