See all Bob Watkins' posts.
I'm wondering if Airport Authority chairman Bob Watkins ever did anything without significant compensation. I've been reading letters to the editor in the San Diego Union Tribune (below) that rave about Watkins' contributions to the community.
But we'd have to go back and look at his reimbursements for "expenses" to find out if he was really volunteering, wouldn't we? And then there is the political capital he amassed by pleasing the powerful.
I've twice met Bob Watkins, both at SDCOE meetings. I spoke both times, criticizing SDCOE for its relationship to school attorney Daniel Shinoff.
The first time Bob Watkins looked at me with a very friendly smile on his face. I suspect he didn't listen to a word I said; he had absolutely no verbal response. He showed his true attitude the second time I spoke, when he rudely interrupted me, trying to prevent me from having my say.
John Witt and Susan Hartley had the decency to look down at their desks as I spoke. I appreciate their body language, which at least acknowledged that the subject of discussion was a serious matter.
The Watkins story
Letters to SDUT Oct. 6, 2009
Something or nothing? Being an investigative reporter in San Diego must be a lot like being a weather man in San Diego: you have to try to make something out of nothing.
Your multiple articles on Bob Watkins, chairman of the board of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, was nothing more than character assassination in the guise of investigative journalism. Your headline about his operating seven businesses from his home office was clearly designed to create guilt by accusation.
Yes, Watkins was wrong to use city funds for a Chargers function in London. You correctly reported that and he correctly and promptly repaid the city. Your continuing investigation and multiple reports, and your call for his resignation on the editorial page were comparable to a San Diego weatherman warning of a hurricane from a San Diego drizzle. This does nothing for the U-T's reputation of providing serious journalism.
You have convinced me to quit volunteering with your nasty editorial demanding that Bob Watkins step down. Volunteering in San Diego just isn't worth it. Why put yourself on the line, spend your time trying to make things better in this community, take time away from your family, and use your hard-earned money to contribute to any effort to improve or lead this city?
Bob Watkins has spent years serving on many, many boards and making good and calm decisions that have helped this city and many nonprofits here.
I have known Bob Watkins for over 40 years and know few better men. Why do you not balance your criticism with some of the positive public service he has done over many years?
RICHARD L. WAGNER
Kudos on your call to send Bob Watkins packing from the Airport Authority. While at it, he should take the rest of his colleagues and allow for a complete fresh start. In other words, let's get the Airport Authority back in the hunt to fulfill its real calling: Finding a site for a real airport.
By the way, “real airport” means an airport that does more than rate highly with tourists for its nearness to downtown, but one with multiple runways and 24/7 operations that can make us the headquarters city that can provide the jobs and incomes necessary for our future generations.
Whether it is anchored to the ground or floating on the ocean, let's get busy.