Councilman Lingenfelter explains fight for airport, faces recall effort

Councilman Travis Lingenfelter, right, speaks with a constituent at Monday’s Conservative Republican Club meeting.

Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

Councilman Travis Lingenfelter, right, speaks with a constituent at Monday’s Conservative Republican Club meeting.

Correction: The number of signatures required for the recall petition to go to ballot was incorrectly reported. The calculation is based off the number of valid votes, not the total number of votes. According to Kingman City Clerk Sydney Muhle, the number of signatures required is 1,305. The number has been changed in the story.

KINGMAN – Six months after his election, Councilman Travis Lingenfelter has become a lightning rod with his relentless stance on changing the guard at Kingman Airport Authority.

It’s a campaign platform that all four council candidates stood upon when they ran for election in November, and Lingenfelter isn’t stepping down, even if it means withstanding a petition for his recall, he said Monday at the Conservative Republican Club of Kingman’s monthly luncheon meeting.

Lack of business development and management accountability at Kingman Airport and Industrial Park was the primary focus of the councilman’s message at the meeting, which was attended by more than 50 club members and guests at Dambar Steakhouse.

“I personally believe we can run them better and more efficiently with the city,” he said of the airport assets. “We’d have full city services to help. We could pair the city with the airport for air shows.”

Lingenfelter said he knows of a group starting a ballot initiative for next year to bring the assets back to the city.

“Right now, we’re not doing anything about retention, and retention is key. Every company here is getting phone calls from other cities on why they should come to their area,” Lingenfelter said.

He said the authority’s executive director Dave French and economic development director Bob Riley haven’t done enough to attract new business and build up the airport’s assets.

“Their site selection is more like site elimination,” Lingenfelter said. “Look at the Kingman Airport Authority web site. There’s not a lot of data, and what data they do have is from the year 2000.”

Lingenfelter said he’s been “taking a lot of heat” for advocating change in the legal agreement between the city of Kingman and the airport authority, including a recall petition to be filed June 5.

Kristi Rose Turman, leader of the petition, said she’s concerned about how Lingenfelter’s behavior will affect the city.

“Mr. Lingenfelter has gone against the code of ethics and core values,” Turman told the Daily Miner. “We want him to just resign.

“I voted for the man. I can’t sit back as a community member and watch him tear this community apart.”

The petition will require 1,305 signatures from registered voters in Kingman, and will cost between $30,000 and $50,000 for a special election next year, Mohave County Elections Director Allen Tempert said.

“This nastiness by a small minority group (that’s) loyal to the Kingman Airport Authority and their own selfish interests represents nothing but bullying tactics being used to stifle the right of free speech and political dissent,” Lingenfelter said in a written statement.

As former economic development director for Mohave County, Lingenfelter put together a “target industry” analysis that identified potential growth sectors: arts and entertainment; aviation; energy; manufacturing; health care; and transportation and logistics.

Average salaries for those industries ranged from $29,000 for arts and entertainment to $78,000 for energy services.

Lingenfelter said the city is holding a workshop with Kingman Airport Authority on May 18 at KRMC’s Hualapai campus.

“We’ll see if we can work with them. If we can’t, we have to ask, ‘What’s it going to take?’ A ballot initiative? Hopefully they’ll work with the city to improve everything,” Lingenfelter said.