Whitey Markle: Yes, airboats do make noise

Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.

Alachua County Commissioner Susan Baird said the airboat curfew was voted in by people who don’t live on the waterways. Jerry Wethrington, the head of the local airboaters, said the voters didn’t know what they were voting for. State Sen. Steve Oelrich says the poor old airboaters don’t know one county’s restrictions from the other, so let’s just double the allowable noise level (for airboats only) all over Florida. Cajun Perry (airboater) says airboats don’t wake people up.

None are telling the truth. It’s amazing what people will say when not under oath.

The state Legislature, in its wisdom, left airboat regulation up to the local governments way back in the 1990s. So we pursued that means to solving the airboat noise nuisance and won an initiative referendum by 12 percent in 2010. Yes, people who don’t live on the waterways voted for the curfew. It’s called being a good neighbor. But that’s beside the point. Had the vote been taken by only waterway property owners, we would have won by an even greater margin.

What is Baird’s point? (Most airboaters live in town, not on the waterways they are polluting). If it is college students, wrong again. They didn’t show up in the 2010 election as they did in 2008 (for Obama).

Regarding citizens not knowing what they were voting for, an uninformed voter could have simply not have voted. It appears the voters actually punched the “yes” after reading the ordinance proposal.

Airboats do wake people up at 4 A.M. The whole ground shakes. Perhaps Sen. Oelrich would be in favor of overruling all local ordinances that he (or any state legislator) disagrees with, but I don’t think that’s the case. It looks like it’s about a great big hunk of campaign money to run for U.S. Congress in 2012 from down here on the lakeside.

Unfortunately, the bill is in the state Legislature, where anything can happen regardless of reason.

Whitey Markle,


Quiet Lakes of Alachua County


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