After residents had the opportunity to explain why the Bishop Airport should be changed to the Bishop-Dave McCoy Airport at Monday’s Bishop City Council meeting, one thing is crystal clear.
McCoy gave a lot of himself to the Eastern Sierra, above and beyond Mammoth Mountain.
Led by Randy Short, nearly a dozen Bishop residents strongly supported the name change, citing the contributions McCoy made to the community. In answer to objections of naming a public facility after a private person, Short cited the Charles Schultz Airport in Santa Rosa.
According to McCoy’s daughter, Penny, her father “manufactured fun… he made the hard parts
of his life the good parts of others.” He created opportunities, explained Randy Gillespie. “I
came here to go skiing and never left.” Craig London said he learned about life and how to treat
others from McCoy. Other accolades: He treated you like you were important. Dave is one in a
million. One speaker, who may not have been aware of the impact of the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power employees in the Valley, implied Bishop would be nothing
without Mammoth. That didn’t help the dialogue.
Despite those contributions and McCoy’s involvement with Bishop High School and Cerro Coso
Community College, Millpond Park, the Bishop High School ski team, his name is equated with
Mammoth Mountain. That seemed to be the issue expressed by Bishop Councilmembers. Chair
Karen Schwartz acknowledged that McCoy was a “great economic engine” for the area but was
concerned about the cost of a name change. In response, Short said he would fund whatever
the cost of a name change would be.
In the end, the Council preferred “Bishop Airport,” but Chair Karen Schwartz asked staff to
check on the cost of a name change. Councilmembers Jim Ellis and Karen Kong were open to
recognizing McCoy’s contribution in other ways, like the new terminal.
“I see your points,” Ellis said. “What’s come out of this is we need to do something to keep our
history alive.” He suggested a kiosk explaining the history of the region. “History slips away as
people die,” he said. “I see us controlling our history.” He suggested the airport could become a
focal point to teach the “history of who we are. We’re all part of one eco-system—not
Mammoth versus Bishop—we’re one area.”