Incumbents leading

Two incumbents were leading in their bids Tuesday night to be re-elected to the Santa Maria Public Airport District Board of Directors.  Incumbents Chuck Damiano and Ted Eckert were ahead in the field of four candidates seeking a pair of four-year terms on the board, according to unofficial results.

Damiano led with 28.5 percent, followed by 26.9 percent for Eckert, and 24.4 percent for Girard (Geoff) Brenneman, with 100 percent of precincts reporting just after midnight today.  The fourth candidate, Richard Plumlee, trailed the field with 19.9 percent.

Damiano, 54, a United Launch Alliance engineer and scientist, is in his first term on the board. Eckert, 75, a retired flight safety analyst, has been a board member for 21 years.

Santa Maria’s airport, known as SMX, is somewhat rare because it’s operated by a special district, not a city or county. A five-member board, each director elected to four-year terms, governs the special district.

The district was created in 1964 and covers 400 square miles between the Santa Maria River in the north to just past Los Alamos in the south and from Guadalupe in the west to 10 miles past the dam at Twitchell Reservoir.

Major upcoming projects include a long-awaited runway extension project and the Santa Maria Airport Business Park plan to build a business park and golf course on about 740 acres just south of the airfield.

The airport has daily round-trip flights between Santa Maria and Los Angeles along with service three times a week to and from Las Vegas.

By Julian J. Ramos/Staff Writer

Santa Maria Times | Posted: Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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