Cal Kinney retires from airport commission after 20 years of service

ARLINGTON Cal Kinney declines to call attention to himself, but his legacy of service to the community has done so for him.
Kinney is retiring as an Arlington Airport Commissioner 20 years after Arlington Mayor John Larson had appointed him to the commission.
I was involved in raising funds to establish the Arlington Boys and Girls Club, said Kinney, whose son now runs the local branch of the club. John and I had been friends for years and Id served on the school board for six years, so he asked me to serve on the airport commission.
In the two decades since, Kinney has seen the airport grow with the city, but hes retained the same philosophy of service that he started out with.
Its become a huge source of revenue and employment for the city, Kinney said. Personal agendas have always been one of my pet peeves, so Ive tried to make every decision based on whats best for the airport and the city.
Kinney sees the airports success as stemming in part from a large demand for its services, including pilots, hangars and business park facilities. As much as hes loved taking part in determining the directions of the airports progress, though hes ready to try something new.
My wife and I are going to be doing things and going places, Kinney said. It wouldnt be fair to the other commissioners if I missed a lot of meetings. Its been a part of my life and the loss of it will leave a hole behind, but its time to let someone else take a crack at it.
Kinney praised the intelligence and commitment of his fellow airport commissioners, with whom he reviewed tenants, leases, repairs and other aspects of running the airport itself. He expressed regret that, after 10 years of work, he and his fellow commissioners were unable to secure a tenant who could have turned the west end of the airport into a high-tech industrial park, but he remains optimistic about the airports future.
Its in good hands, Kinney said. The airport manager, staff and commission are all smart people.
Arlington Airport Manager Rob Putnam was more than willing to compliment Kinney in turn.
He brought with him a really good business sense, Putnam said. Some of our commissioners backgrounds are more in aviation, construction or PR, but Cal worked as a car dealer and leased land in Seattle. Hes got strong organizational skills and an ability to see the big picture.
Although Kinney had once-a-month meetings with the airport commission and finance committee, Putnam noted that Kinney often came in on his own time to do homework, which was not required.
The airport commission is empowered to approve contracts within the City Councils budgets and policies, Putnam said. Cal was dedicated to benefiting both the airport and the city, planning based on input from the community. Im going to miss him. He was a good anchor, a good commissioner and one hell of a fundraiser.
New Airport, Planning Commissioners Needed
The city of Arlington currently has two volunteer positions open, one each on its airport and planning commissions. The airport commissioner term expires April 1, 2010, and the planning commissioner term expires April 1, 2009.
The planning commission reviews land-use issues before they go to City Council and the airport commission guides management of the airport. Candidates should have some kind of aviation interest, knowledge and/or experience. Commissioners must be residents inside the city limits. Volunteer firefighters are needed as well -- no experience is required and training will be provided.
Applications for all positions are available at City Hall and the airport office, as well as on the citys Web site, at They must be received by the Mayors Office no later than Feb. 22. For more information, call Loretta Cortelyou at 360-403-3441, or e-mail

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