The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Pat Doody 

Tehachapi City Council Update


Pilot Joe Biviano made a visual presentation to the City Council demonstrating calibration problems with landing aids at the airport. Biviano was a test pilot for Lockheed Martin.

Airport navigation issues

On March 6, Tehachapi resident and pilot, Joe Biviano presented to the City Council a report on airport safety concerns and issues that he felt could not be handled with just a phone call.

Biviano, a pilot with thousands of hours of experience and also a test pilot, prepared a detailed audio visual demonstration of problems that he had identified with the Precision Approach Path Indicator system (PAPI). This is the visual glide slope indicators that keep a pilot on course for landing and are primarily used at night. Over the last 10 months, he had discovered discrepancies in the PAPI lights from what is published for Tehachapi. This, he said, made the glide path to Runway 11 unsafe.

He suggested correcting the PAPI approach angle or publish a notice not to fly the PAPI. The City contacted airport engineer, John Smith. While not able to appear, Smith sent a letter acknowledging the credibility and preparedness of Biviano's report. He recommended that the PAPI be turned off immediately until it can be replaced or completely removed. City Manager Greg Garrett stated that it had been turned off that day.

Biviano said that he would like to help set up an airport safety council to monitor any future problems. He offered to take any of the council members on a ride to demonstrate the problem. Councilman Phil Smith said that he would like to take a ride both before and after the PAPI is fixed.

New Public Works official

The City of Tehachapi had recently published ads to fill the positions of Public Works Director and Public Works Manager following the departure last year of Jon Curry. Council member Kenneth Hetge suggested that in his estimation the department could be streamlined with the elimination of both positions. A lead person or foreman could then report to the Assistant City Manager.

Addressing the Council, prior director Jon Curry, said that the proposal showed a lack of understanding of the position. The Public Works Director has to manage a staff of about 20 employees and understand the functions and budgets for water use, waste water, sidewalks, grounds and landscaping, the airport, and street lighting. The department was responsible for the Snyder Well Intertie project that is saving 70 acre feet of water every year and for the 28% water reduction that Tehachapi saw last year. It was involved with the opening of the Tehachapi Visitor Center and Freedom Plaza, forming the Joint Agencies Agreement, waste water treatment upgrades and many other projects. Councilman Ed Grimes added that the job description includes 15 essential functions including a knowledge of how to work with the bureaucrats in Sacramento. Other Kern cities like Arvin anad Wasco look to Tehachapi for leadership.

City Manager Greg Garrett said that the City plans to fill only one of the positions. The need for two positions was eliminated two years ago. Which one would depend on the qualifications of the applicants and the City would be interviewing applicants within the next week. Councilman Wahlstrom, who once held the position, said "we deserve good management" and thinks the City should find a professional to fill the Director position. Garrett said that it is their hope also. He told Hetge, "I wish you had contacted me, I would have told you what was going on."

Councilman Hetge said that if the City is only hiring one employee, he would withdraw his request from the agenda but suggested if the City is only going to hire one, they should only advertise for one. City Manager Garrett said that he would consider that advice.

Kern COG award

Councilman Phil Smith announced that Tehachapi had won the Kern Council of Governments award for water conservation have reached an average water savings of 26% and a high of 38% last year.


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