What is an airport anyway?

Just a big parking lot, apparently. I was struck by this quote in a press release this morning from San Jose’s Mineta International Airport:

“After a nationwide search, we are pleased to have selected Ampco System Parking to provide our parking services at Mineta San Jose International Airport. Ampco’s depth of experience in managing Airport parking systems is invaluable to us in managing our number one Airport revenue source,” said Ralph Tonseth, director of aviation at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Parking — the number one Airport revenue source! Turns out they’re also making money now selling stuff on eBay that they’ve confiscated at the airport security checkpoints!

Under the handle CaliforniaGold2000, the state is using the Internet auction house to convert scores of confiscated items to cash. So far, $16,281 has been made selling objects taken from passengers at Oakland and Sacramento airports — the only ones in Northern California to participate in the state program.

Among the oddest items confiscated and sold were at least three circular saws, hatchets, curtain rods and a little girl’s baton, said Robb Deignan, spokesman for the surplus property disposal program, a division of the California Department of General Services. Also sold: 5,364 pocketknives, 350 pounds of scissors, 594 corkscrews and 309 leatherman tools.

And, no, I wasn’t the guy trying to take his circular saw through the airport security checkpoint last week!

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