The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Airports, just like politics, make strange bed fellows

Jun 3, 2002

For the last three months the Detroit airport has been run by a newly constituted authority. The seven member board controlling the authority is made up of four members appointed by outgoing Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara, two by outgoing Governor John Engler and one by the Wayne County Commissioners. McNamara is a long term Democrat whose name adorns the new 1.2 billion dollar Northwest terminal. He is supposedly a bitter enemy of Republican Governor John Engler.

The airport director, Lester Robinson, said the state wanted the airport to “operate more like a business and not a political toy.” A study showed that political contributors to McNamara’s election campaigns received 86% of the value of the 44 new airport contracts in 2000. Since the new deal gives McNamara majority control of the airport while also giving Engler a cut, it seems like the two politicians from rival political parties find it easy to unite in a distribution of the booty.