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We understand how important it is that we look at the entire picture when dealing with air quality, noise, safety, and other impacts on communities from aircraft operations. LAX operations directly affect the region’s air quality, as well as what jet operations are sent to Santa Monica Airport. The EIR has not adequately addressed air quality impacts regarding LAX expansion plans.

Let us not be lax in our efforts to understand what the City of Los Angeles is committing the region to, as it moves forward with LAX expansion plans.

______________________________________
 
Dear All:
 
There is some new and important information that has been posted on the ARSAC website. 
 It might be a good time to familiarize yourselves with the current situation. 
 Our (ARSAC)website is continually being updated with the most recent information/news and will be your best source of information regarding LAX.

http://www.regionalsolution.org/index.php

Lastly, please think about donating to our mutual cause to help us fight the good fight.  If you have given in the past, thank you. 
If you can give again - more thanks. 
Sincerely,
Nora MacLellan, ARSAC Secretary
12/21/2007
______________________________________
 

__________________________________________________________

A message from The Alliance for Regional Solutions to Airport Congestion: ARSAC is left with no option but to file a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and LAX to stop the construction of parts of the expansion plan.

We have hired Jan Chatten Brown who is a well known Environmental Law Attorney to represent us.  Among other arguments as a basis for bringing a lawsuit will be violations of the California Environmental Quality Act.

ARSAC needs your help!
 Donations for the lawsuit will not be public information.

We encourage you to work with us in alerting all of your neighbors, friends, and acquaintances of the urgency to help in the legal/political fight to stop the madness.

Please make your check payable to:

ARSAC Legal Fund,
322 Culver Blvd., #231

Playa
del Rey, CA 90293

(Please note we are not a non profit organization so your donations are not tax deductible.)
________________________________________________________

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City Agrees to Craft New LAX Overhaul 
 
Los Angeles Times - December 1, 2005

  In exchange for area communities dropping their lawsuits, most of the latest plan will be shelved. Rebuilding of a runway will proceed.


By Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer

After 11 years and $150 million in design costs, the city has shelved its latest plan to modernize Los Angeles International Airport and will start over to craft a proposal that will do more to improve security and refurbish the aging facility.

The plan had drawn criticism from the city's new mayor, poor reviews from security experts and lawsuits by airport-area residents. All but one of its elements will be reconsidered and some of the most controversial, including a check-in center near the San Diego Freeway, are almost certainly dead.

The airport intends to begin work early next year on the one project still on track: the $300-million rebuilding of the southern runway complex, which federal officials maintain is critical to preventing close calls between aircraft. It will be the first major construction at the 77-year-old airport in more than two decades.

The city consented to review the $11-billion modernization effort in exchange for a promise from airport-area communities to drop federal and state lawsuits that challenged the plan and could have prevented work on the runways.

As part of the deal,
Los Angeles also agreed to try to slow passenger growth at LAX, study how to spread air traffic around the region, explore ways to cut congestion, and speed up efforts to reduce noise and air pollution.

The settlement allows the city to overhaul the outdated Tom Bradley International Terminal and install explosives detection machines in the airport's complex baggage system. These projects are separate from the modernization plan.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who opposed many of the major elements of the plan, will now have an opportunity to remake predecessor James K. Hahn's controversial blueprint for LAX.

The city and
county of Los Angeles, three cities near the airport, residents and a small army of attorneys spent weeks negotiating the legal settlement, which will be announced today at a news conference on the tarmac.

"This is an extraordinary achievement," said Lydia Kennard, who is the new executive director of the agency that operates LAX and was instrumental in bringing about the deal. "This is heralding a new level of cooperation and trust between the parties."

Residents and politicians also lauded the deal, which was described to reporters in a briefing Wednesday, calling it "historic."

"For many, many years, it seemed very much a David and Goliath uphill battle, with not a lot of support from politicians and broken promises," said Jennifer Dakoske Koslu, president of the
Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, a residents group. "It seemed like we were never going to succeed. I think we're all very pleased with the settlement."

Villaraigosa, who was widely credited with bringing the feuding parties together, hopes the agreement will placate airport-area residents, who despised the LAX expansion plan drafted by Mayor Richard Riordan and the revision offered by Hahn.

Jaime de la Vega, deputy mayor for transportation, said Villaraigosa made a campaign promise to settle the lawsuit. "He wanted to put this behind the city," De la Vega said.

On Sept. 29, the mayor called airport officials, politicians, residents and their respective attorneys to a meeting in an airport boardroom and asked that they set aside their differences. Nine weeks later, after many hours of intense negotiation, they signed the preliminary pact.

Settlement participants said Wednesday that the mayor could not have accomplished his goal without the help of Kennard, his hand-picked airport director, who immediately began attending the negotiating sessions after she started at Los Angeles World Airports on Oct. 8. Kennard had been the city's airport director before, from 1999 to 2003.

The deal must still be ratified by the Federal Aviation Administration, the
Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, Los Angeles County and the cities of Los Angeles, El Segundo, Inglewood and Culver City.

Local lawmakers said they were confident that their city councils and the
county Board of Supervisors — most of which have received closed-session briefings on the agreement — would approve the deal.

"I think they will see the good in this for our city, just as I do," said El Segundo Mayor Kelly McDowell. "Everybody benefits, everybody gave a little and everybody got a lot."

McDowell and others hope FAA officials will decide within days not to contest the deal.

Donn Walker, an FAA spokesman, said: "We will review this agreement, but we won't be able to comment on it until we've looked at it."

Despite optimism that federal officials will approve the deal, airlines object to one of the most controversial elements — a plan to decrease the number of gates where airplanes park from 163 to 153.

"There are a number of complexities associated with the settlement agreement that was reached without airline input," said David A. Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Assn., an airline trade group. "We will conduct a careful and thorough review of the agreement."
Carriers do not support a reduction in airplane parking spots, he said. The cash-strapped airlines would be required to pay up to half the costs of modernizing LAX through higher rents and landing fees. Federal grants and fees paid by passengers would make up most of the rest.

Even so, airlines said they support the plan to move the southernmost runway 55 feet closer to El Segundo, widening the distance between the two parallel runways enough to create a central taxiway. Airport officials said the work should not delay flights.

They said the settlement also allows them to begin construction next year on several other projects. One of these is the $410-million upgrade of the Tom Bradley terminal that includes expanded gates for the massive 555-seat Airbus A380.

Also on deck is a $400-million project to overhaul the airport's complex baggage system and install explosives-detection machines.

"We're not losing any time," said Paul Haney, an airport spokesman. "We'll be improving the airport while we figure out what our next project will be."

To devise a new plan, airport officials will meet with residents and airlines to come up with projects that will improve security at LAX and update its worn-out terminals.

Rand Corp. experts have criticized the check-in center, saying it would make travelers more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. And passengers have long viewed the airport as one of the nation's most inconvenient and unkempt such facilities.

Several projects in the modernization plan, including a new terminal on the western edge that would replace the remote gates near the sand dunes and a consolidated rental car facility, are seen as likely contenders for any new plan.

But some of the most controversial proposals put forward by Hahn — including the check-in center and the demolition of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and of parking garages in the central terminal area — are considered moribund.

Airport officials will not acknowledge this directly, however, because the massive check-in center must remain in play, at least on paper, to make the traffic analysis work in environmental studies.

If the city officially killed some projects, it might have to go through the lengthy environmental review process again.

Los Angeles City Councilman
Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes the airport, said the projects "that are bad, we're going to replace them, we're going to have alternatives."

In the settlement, the city also agreed to:

•  Take steps to contain passenger growth if LAX serves 75 million passengers in 2010. If that threshold is reached, the airport will eliminate two gates a year for five years, reducing the total number to 153. LAX expects to handle 62 million passengers this year.

•  Invite the FAA, the Southern California Assn. of Governments, airport operators and area counties to develop a plan to encourage airlines to spread air traffic among the region's airports, including Ontario International and the Palmdale facility, both of which the city of Los Angeles operates.

•  Accelerate the disbursement of up to $240 million to soundproof homes in unincorporated
Los Angeles County areas, El Segundo and Inglewood.

•  Begin a traffic study to figure out how to unlock congestion on roads around the airport and ask the FAA to allow the airport to fund up to $3.3 million in intersection and roadway improvements in El Segundo and $33 million in improvements to the Century Boulevard corridor in
Inglewood.

•  Ensure that myriad measures to ease traffic, air pollution and noise that were included in a separate agreement with residents don't fall by the wayside. These include the conversion of ground equipment at LAX to low-emissions technology and providing electricity to gates where airplanes park.

•  Reconsider extending the Metro Rail Green Line to LAX.

•  And spend $3 million to remove abandoned asphalt streets on the dunes west of the airport and replace them with native plants.

For all its complexity, airport officials said, one of the most important things about the deal is that it allows them to start construction at LAX for the first time since the upper-level roadway and the Tom Bradley terminal were built in preparation for the 1984 Olympics.

"We got there," said Kennard. "No one ever thought we could get there."

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Deal cut to halt LAX lawsuits - Los Angeles Daily News
City
agrees to limit passengers, noise

Los Angeles city officials will announce today that they have cut a deal to end litigation over the modernization of LAX, with opponents agreeing to trust the mayor and City Council to abandon the most controversial elements of the $11 billion plan.

Under the proposed settlement, the grass-roots Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion and other opponents will drop lawsuits that have stalled the controversial plan for Los Angeles International Airport developed by former Mayor James Hahn.

In exchange, the city promises to limit passenger traffic by gradually closing airplane gates, to give critics and neighbors a greater voice in upgrading one of the nation's busiest airports, and to help fund noise- and traffic-mitigation projects in their communities.

"This is an historic day of developing trust and friendship with our neighbors," Airport Executive Director Lydia Kennard said at a briefing Wednesday, in advance of a formal announcement today.

The proposed settlement would allow $4 billion in runway and other improvements, but does not resolve for certain some of the more hotly contested elements of the plan, including an off-site ground transportation center where all passengers and baggage would be screened.

While it still needs approval from a variety of agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the City Council and the county Board of Supervisors, the agreement would end all pending lawsuits and the parties would agree to no further legal action involving the master plan.

The deal had been urged by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAX-area Councilman Bill Rosendahl, and was hammered out over the past three weeks. Aides said the mayor met with all the principals in late September and early October, as well as holding several private sessions in his City Hall offices to push the settlement.

"I am elated that at long last, we have the ability to move forward with a rational, community-sensitive plan," said a statement issued by Villaraigosa, who was attending a meeting of the nation's mayors at Harvard University.

Debate and legal challenges have marked the effort to improve LAX since former Mayor Richard Riordan first proposed the idea in 1993. At one point, he suggested expanding the airport to 100 million passengers a year and tripling the amount of cargo it handles.

Hahn revised the plan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to emphasize security. However, the plan came under fire by security experts, who said an off-site terminal would actually increase the potential for terrorism by concentrating all passengers in one place.

After protests and lawsuits, Hahn agreed to a scaled-back version that created a two-tier program that would "green-light" projects such as runway improvements and "yellow-light" those that required more study. The scaled-back plan also limited the number of passengers to less than 79 million a year.

In his mayoral campaign, Villaraigosa pledged to scrap nearly all "yellow-light" projects - including the off-site terminal - and to urge a regional approach to air travel.

Councilman Bernard Parks, an outspoken critic of the Hahn plan, said he had yet to be briefed on the proposed deal, but that his main concerns remain adopting a regional approach to air traffic and eliminating the ground-transportation center.

A key element of the settlement proposal involves limiting passenger traffic at LAX, which is expected to hit 63 million this year.

The FAA does not allow airports to cap the number of passengers, but Kennard said LAX can be designed to limit growth. Once annual passenger traffic hits 75 million, the airport would shut down two gates a year for the next five years.

That would reduce the number of airport gates from the current 163 to 153, limiting the number of flights that could be accommodated, although much larger planes are expected to come into use in the years ahead.

The deal also would commit the city to a 30-month timetable for studying all other projects in the plan to determine which should proceed and which should be abandoned - including a ground transportation center, a people-mover and the razing of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 in favor of a new concourse.

The settlement, however, would allow plans for a new Western Satellite Concourse - at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion - and for work to proceed on a new baggage-handling facility.

In addition, Kennard said Los Angeles World Airports, the city's airports department, is reserving the right to look at other projects that had been earlier cleared for approval, such as a separate facility for rental cars.

Those are some of the elements being reviewed by the Rand Corp., an early critic of the Hahn plan, which has since been retained to conduct a security study of the airport.

The department agreed to speed payments totaling $266 million for noise and traffic mitigation projects in neighboring cities, paying it over 10 years rather than the 15 years originally envisioned.

There also would be a separate community-benefits program valued at $500 million that would provide jobs and training as well as mitigation projects.

The airports department also agreed to form a working group of officials to develop plans to increase use of Ontario and Palmdale airports - including transportation improvements - and agreed to establish eight Park and Ride FlyAway operations around the county.

"The main thing we won was an opportunity to bring a group of people together to get them to agree on a rational approach to development at the airport," Rosendahl said. "We have never had that.

"Now, we will sit down and be able to take this out of the world of litigation and work together on modernization and, more importantly, work immediately to improve traffic safety."

For master-plan opponents, the proposed deal was viewed as a way to have a say on the airport's future growth.

"We think this is a turning point in the future of LAX," said Jan Chatten-Brown, attorney for the ARSAC, the citizens group that filed the initial legal action against the airport plan.

"I think the most important things are that this will give us input into how the airport is developed and have the airport take a real approach to seeking a regional solution to the air transportation needs," Chatten-Brown said.

El Segundo Mayor Kelly McDowell - whose city has fought for decades with Los Angeles over the airport - said the settlement addresses the main concerns of his residents.

"What we wanted from Day One, what all the petitioners wanted, was a way to limit capacity at LAX," McDowell said. "I believe this settlement achieves that."

"This is something where both sides gave up something," McDowell said. "We think this will end up being good for El Segundo and for LAX."

Kennard said she believes the proposed deal could be approved by the start of the new year, with a goal of starting construction on widening the airport's south runways early next year.

Work already has started on the Tom Bradley International Terminal and a baggage-loading facility, airport officials said. Kennard said the mayor and airport officials will decide which additional projects might be accelerated, such as securing funding to bring the Green Line light rail into LAX, and road, communication and parking-lot improvements.

Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 rick.orlov@dailynews.com

PROPOSED LAX SETTLEMENT

Here of some of the provisions of the proposed settlement:

Reduce the number of gates in operation by two a year, to a maximum of 10, once annual passenger traffic reaches 75 million.

Develop a 30-month process for reviewing all issues and projects including a ground-transportation center, noise, traffic and pollution.

Invite the Federal Aviation Administration, the Southern California Association of Governments, neighboring counties and airport operators to form a working group to develop a regional air transportation plan.

Develop a regional plan to encourage greater use of Palmdale and Ontario airports.

Create a working group with Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion to deal with LAX neighbors' concerns.

Provide $266 million to Los Angeles County, Inglewood, El Segundo and other affected areas for noise and traffic mitigation. _______________________________________

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LAX Runway Plan Lands With a Thud

Los Angeles Times

September 17, 2005

By Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer

 

Airport officials have failed to adequately address increased noise and cancer risks during construction to move the southernmost runway at Los Angeles International Airport, residents of nearby communities charge.

The project's lengthy environmental study also does not include measures to lessen the effects of the additional air pollution caused when airplanes taxi farther and idle longer while the runway is shut down, according to comments that residents and their attorneys submitted to Los Angeles World Airports, the city's airport department.

 

Arguing that the health risks diminish the residents' quality of life and could shorten their lives, attorney Berne C. Hart wrote that the airport department "must commit to mitigating these impacts to the maximum extent feasible." Hart represents Los Angeles County, Inglewood and Culver City.

The comment period on the 1,370-page environmental study ended Thursday, with the agency receiving 22 letters totaling about 275 pages. State law requires the city to study and mitigate the project's effects on surrounding areas.

The comments ranged from highly technical legal opinions to handwritten notes.

The agency is required to address the comments in a final document, to be released later this year.

The Airport Commission and City Council must approve the environmental study before work can start on the runway.

The project will move the runway 55 feet closer to El Segundo and install a parallel taxiway between the two runways in an effort to reduce the possibility of aircraft collisions.

More than 80% of close calls at LAX occur on the south side when a pilot who has landed on the outer runway fails to stop on taxiways that cross the inner runway and comes too close to airplanes that are taking off.

Officials hope to begin construction early next year and expect the project to take 26 months. The runway will be closed for eight months; airport officials say it will not cause any disruption to travelers.

The effort is the first in a series of major updates planned for the airport in the next decade.

Several themes ran through the comments, including the contention that the environmental study significantly understates noise, air pollution, health and traffic problems that the construction will cause.

Consultants also failed to analyze the long-term effects of reconfiguring the south runway and how operations of the massive 555-seat Airbus A380 — expected to begin flying into LAX in 2007— would affect surrounding neighborhoods, according to the letters.

Moving the runway "seems to be an enlargement of LAX primarily to serve the Airbus A380," wrote Linda Peterson, chairwoman of the Los Angeles International Airport Advisory Committee. If Los Angeles World Airports "is truly seeking a regional approach, we would expect more of an effort to route these new large aircraft to
Ontario or Palmdale."

The city of
Los Angeles also operates Ontario International Airport and Palmdale Airport.

The document has "persistent flaws" and buries readers "under mountains of paper," wrote Robert S. Perlmutter and Gabriel M.B. Ross, attorneys for the city of
El Segundo.

El Segundo,
Inglewood, Culver City, the county and airport-area residents have sued the city of Los Angeles charging that environmental studies for the entire $11-billion LAX modernization plan also understate the effects of noise, air pollution and traffic.

On Friday, airport officials sent a letter to attorneys for El Segundo denying a request to extend the comment period for the south runway environmental study. El Segundo's attorneys had asked for a 30-day extension, saying that airport officials failed to provide information they wanted on the project's effects on air quality in a timely manner.

Comments received by the agency this week argue that the runway study is poorly written and violates state law because it fails to discuss alternatives to moving the runway.

"The document is difficult to read," wrote Rep. Maxine Waters (D-
Los Angeles) in a seven-page letter. "It relies excessively on acronyms. It is replete with technical jargon that goes unexplained."

Residents and attorneys also questioned whether the city's airport agency had enough evidence to show that moving the runway 55 feet would markedly improve safety at LAX, because pilots would still cross the inner runway from the center taxiway.

"Clearly, a massive project that will cost over a quarter-billion dollars and not remove the underlying problem that initiated it should bear close examination," wrote A. Dwight Abbott, mayor of Palos Verdes Estates.

County officials also demanded in a letter that the City Council take another vote on the LAX modernization plan.

The
county Airport Land Use Commission ruled in August 2004 that the proposal would create more noise and safety risks in nearby communities, making it inconsistent with a 1991 county land-use plan. Under state law, the 15-member City Council had to muster a 10-vote supermajority to override the finding — which it did in December.

Now, the county argues its Airport Land Use Commission had the authority under state law to accept an appeal from El Segundo. In its appeal, El Segundo argued that the city's plan will allow LAX to grow to serve 89 million annual passengers and fails to spread air traffic growth to other airports in the region. The county commission ruled in favor of El Segundo's appeal and contends that the City Council is required to secure a 12-vote majority to override that decision.

The city disagrees.

"It is our position, and has been for some time, that the commission doesn't have the authority to take the action they have taken," said Jonathan Diamond, a spokesman for the city attorney's office. "The council doesn't have to take another vote."

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Headlines from the Daily News – September 3rd, 2005
 

City attorney: Foe of LAX expansion can be on panel

 

A longtime opponent of expansion plans at Los Angeles International Airport can serve as a member of the city Airport Commission - as long as she recuses herself from decisions involving a lawsuit over airport modernization, the City Attorney's Office said Friday.

The legal opinion regarding Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's nomination of attorney Valeria Velasco of Playa Del Rey, however, also raised questions on how effective she could be on the seven-member panel overseeing airport operations.

Velasco had been president of a group known as ARSAC that opposed the $11 billion modernization plan for LAX and filed suit in January to try to block its implementation.

After Villaraigosa nominated her to the Airport Commission, Velasco resigned her post with ARSAC. Villaraigosa issued a statement saying he believes the legal opinion clears the way for her appointment.

"While the city attorney concludes that Ms. Velasco must recuse herself from acting on matters before the board involving the lawsuit, she understood that would be required of her," Villaraigosa said. "I nominated Valeria Velasco because of her extensive knowledge and involvement in airport and neighborhood issues."

Councilman Tony Cardenas, chair of the City Council's Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee that will review the appointment, had asked for the legal opinion to ensure there was no conflict of interest.

Cardenas' chief of staff, Jose Cornejo, said the legal opinion does not necessarily resolve the issue.

"We need to make sure we have a functioning board and our concern is the extent of items to which she will be disqualified from," Cornejo said. "There are many issues that relate to and indirectly impact the master plan. Will she be forced to recuse herself on 50, 75 or 80 percent of the items?"

Chief Deputy City Attorney Richard Llewellyn, who wrote the opinion, said matters would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Velasco did not return calls seeking comment Friday.

Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390   rick.orlov@dailynews.com 

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Daily Breeze

Saturday, September 03, 2005

 

Mayor's airport panel nominee cleared

Valeria Velasco cannot be excluded from board based on her role in a lawsuit against it, city attorney says.


Copley News Service

Playa del Rey resident Valeria Velasco, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's controversial nominee to the Board of Airport Commissioners, can legally become a board member despite her role as president of a community group that is suing the commission, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office concluded Friday.

As long as Velasco steps down as president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion and "renounces financial interest" in the lawsuit -- in other words, promises that she will not gain or lose money based on the outcome of the suit, or contribute money to fund it -- she can serve on the commission, the opinion from City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's office said.

 

 

However, Velasco would have a conflict of interest that would disqualify her from participating in commission votes related to the lawsuit, which challenges the commission's redevelopment plan for Los Angeles International Airport, Delgadillo's office said.

Velasco already has resigned as president of ARSAC and has said she will recuse herself from commission votes related to the group's lawsuit. She did not respond to repeated requests for comment Friday.

Villaraigosa said he was satisfied with the city attorney's decision.

"I am pleased that the city attorney's opinion reaches the same conclusion that I reached when I nominated Valeria Velasco," he said in a written statement. "Her extensive knowledge and involvement in airport and neighborhood issues does not disqualify her from serving on the board."

The City Council still must approve the appointment before Velasco can become a commissioner. The council is scheduled to take up the issue Tuesday, and Villaraigosa urged "swift action" on the appointment.

Delgadillo's office issued the opinion in response to a request from Councilman Tony Cardenas, who was among several council members concerned that Velasco's conflict of interest would be so great that she would seldom be able to vote on issues before the commission. On Friday, Cardenas' office continued to express skepticism about the wisdom of appointing her.

"We need to make sure we have a functioning board, and our concern is the extent of items to which she will be disqualified from voting on," Jose Cornejo, Cardenas' chief of staff, said in a written statement.

"There are many issues that relate to and indirectly impact the master plan. Will she be forced to recuse herself on 50, 75 or 80 percent of the items that (the commission) will address in the next year?" Cornejo asked.

The legal opinion released by Delgadillo cautioned that "Ms. Velasco may be disqualified on other (LAWA) matters, depending on the matter's relationship to the ARSAC lawsuit," and went on to explain that potentially disqualifying issues would have to be examined case by case.

The opinion also said that simply living near LAX does not mean Velasco would have a conflict of interest on votes that could affect residents in the area. As long as the changes affect Velasco and other residents in a similar way, Velasco can still vote with the rest of the board, the city attorney's opinion said.

 ###

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COMMUNITY CALL TO ACTION
 - PLEASE CONTACT CITY ATTORNEY ROCKY DELGADILLO-
 IN SUPPORT OF VAL VELASCO'S NOMINATION TO THE
BOARD OF AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS – BOAC

 

TO CONCERNED RESIDENTS AGAINST LAX EXPANSION:

 

Mayor Villaraigosa recently nominated Val Velasco, our long time Westchester/Playa del Rey friend and community advocate against LAX expansion, to the Board of Airport Commissioners.

 

Pro airport expansionists are fighting back to block her appointment.  It is important that we respond by phone and/or e-mail!!!!!

 

Val has worked tirelessly and without compensation for years to save LAX impacted areas from numerous airport expansion plans that would negatively impact all of us, our families, and the City of L.A. as well as surrounding communities for years to come.  She has fought for a regional transportation plan that would relieve the over burdening of LAX from increased passenger capacity, improve airport safety, help address environmental concerns and target future growth to Ontario and Palmdale airports.

 

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo not only plans to review Val’s appointment to determine whether she can serve as a commissioner; he now wants to review the Alliance for Regional Solutions to Airport Congestion (ARSAC) organization’s bylaws, too.

 

Like many of you, I have known Val personally for years and am a member of ARSAC and have supported their efforts and vision for a regional airline transportation system.  Airport expansionists and the not-smart developers have hurt the environment for far too long!!!!!

 

We need Val, with her unblemished integrity and expertise, to represent us on the Board of Airport Commissioners.

 

I URGE YOU TO TELEPHONE/E-MAIL CITY ATTORNEY DELGADILLO AT: (213) 978-8100 - rdelgadillo@atty.lacity.org

 

TELL CITY ATTORNEY DELGADILLO YOU SUPPORT VAL’S APPOINTMENT TO THE BOARD OF AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Don’t hesitate, please call/e-mail today.  We all have a vested interest in Val representing us on the Board of Airport Commissioners.

 

Thank you,

               Sheila Mickelson

 P.S.  Please forward this to your e-mail contacts.

 

 

Delgadillo to review eligibility of controversial airports nominee


Copley News Service -  Saturday, August 13, 2005

 

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said Friday he is trying to determine whether airport commission nominee Valeria Velasco should be kept off the panel because of her previous lawsuit against Los Angeles World Airports.

Delgadillo was asked last month to determine whether Velasco's role as president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, a group suing to stop former Mayor James Hahn's $11 billion airport plan, would disqualify her or her fellow commissioners from voting on the lawsuit.

But Delgadillo described plans for a broader legal review of Velasco, saying her involvement in a lawsuit against LAWA raises "a bunch of red flags" about whether she should be a commissioner.

"We're going to start with whether or not she can be appointed, period," Delgadillo said in remarks made after he spoke to the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.

Delgadillo, who has yet to interview Velasco, said he hopes to review the ARSAC bylaws, determine the nature of the group -- including its nonprofit status -- and the nature of Velasco's involvement in the lawsuit.

Velasco would not comment Friday. But Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who nominated Velasco, last month, voiced disappointment that Delgadillo is reviewing whether she should serve on the panel.

"I'm frankly a little concerned that my lawyer, because that's what he is, would say that," the mayor said. "But I hope that he was misquoted."

Velasco, who lives in Playa del Rey, resigned as ARSAC president last month, just days after Councilman Tony Cardenas asked Delgadillo whether her conflict of interest would prevent the commission from discussing the LAX lawsuit.

In previous conflict-of-interest cases, Delgadillo has determined that some conflicts are so great that they prevent an entire city commission from taking action on an issue. If that occurred with Velasco, it would mean that Villaraigosa had effectively denied his seven airport appointees the ability to deliberate over the lawsuit talks.

Westchester resident Denny Schneider, who serves on the ARSAC board, said Velasco eliminated the conflict by resigning from the group. "All I can say is it amazes me that someone who has worked for the community as hard as she has at her own expense, time and effort is being hassled so much," he said.

Delgadillo said he hopes to give Villaraigosa options about how Velasco can "put herself in a better position" in the wake of the lawsuit.

Even if the mayor receives a legal opinion opposing Velasco's service on the commission, he or the City Council could choose to ignore it, Delgadillo said.

"Now we can give that advice, and our client can act anyway contrary to our advice," he said. "That's something they have the ability to do, but it's going to come with consequences."

 

From the August, 2005 C.R.A.A.P. Report:

 

Mayor Villaraigosa names six new nominees for Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.

   At a news conference on July 25th near LAX, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his nominations for the Board of Airport Commissioners. Six of the nominees are new and one is carried over from the former Board that served under Mayor Hahn. The nominees expressed their desire to work with our new Mayor to develop a regional airport system. The crowd, gathered at the news conference to hear the nominee announcements, cheered the loudest when Val Velasco’s name was announced. Val has been very active in the effort to implement a regional airport system approach to air travel in the Los Angeles basin for the last ten years. She is an attorney and president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC). Joan and I know Val and are thrilled with her nomination. Her nomination, along with the other six nominations, sends a clear message that Mayor Villaraigosa intends to implement a regional airport system. All seven nominees will need approval by the City Council.

 

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Los Angeles Times - California IN BRIEF LOS ANGELES COUNTY / LOS ANGELES

Lawsuits Target LAX Environmental Studies

July 15, 2005

 

  Los Angeles County and the cities of Inglewood and Culver City have sued the federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, claiming that environmental studies completed for the city's modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport are deficient.
  The suit, filed in the
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that the $11-billion proposal understates the pollution that would result from increased air operations at LAX.
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RE: FRIDAY LA TIMES Friday, June 24, 2005
ARTICLE (BELOW) ON INCREASED INCURSIONS AT LAX

This is yet another attempt to justify Hahn's plan. Two elements in the article said it all; Each incursion was a pilot error ON THE GROUND and the incursions were blamed on INCREASED TRAFFIC.

Rather than another LAX expansion, first increase the FAA controllers to their full complement so they can better police the ground, and second, divert additional traffic to the other regional airports! 

Mike DiGirolamo, Deputy Director LAWA, is correct, “we have to get out there and start focusing people on the problems.”  

ARSAC and other critics of the expansion have been noting that there are more, better collision avoidance systems that could be implemented at LAX that would fix the problem just as well (or better) than rebuilding LAX ... AND AT A MUCH BETTER COST ALONG WITH ESTABLISHMENT OF A REAL REGIONAL SOLUTION THAT REMOVES THE RISKS OF HAVING MOST PASSENGER AND CARGO TRAFFIC IN ONE LOCATION.

Denny Schneider, VP ARSAC    Info@RegionalSolution.org    

Los Angeles Times – Friday, June 24, 2005

4 Near Misses Reported at LAX

  Runway incidents, three of them in the last week, didn't place anyone in danger but did involve violations of safety rules, FAA spokesman says.


By Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer

Aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport came too close four times in the last month, a spate of incidents that officials attributed to human error and a record number of international flights.

The events, three of which occurred in the last week, are the first runway safety violations recorded at LAX since November.

"Given what we know so far, no one on any of these planes was really in any danger," said Donn Walker, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. "But we have pretty stringent safety parameters, and they were violated and that does concern us."

Federal aviation officials will investigate the incidents, and then the FAA will classify them as to severity.

In the most serious recent event, which occurred Sunday at
9:45 p.m., the pilot of a United Express jet bound for Santa Barbara had to abort his takeoff and slam on his brakes after a Continental Express jet moved too close to the runway.

Controllers told the Continental Express pilot, who had just landed on the outer runway on the airport's south side, to stop behind several sets of "hold bars" painted on a taxiway at midfield. He correctly repeated the instruction to controllers.

Then controllers cleared the United Express plane for takeoff on the inner runway. Moments later, they saw the Continental Express jet pass over the hold bars and stop about 39 feet from the edge of the runway. They ordered the United Express pilot to abort his takeoff. The United Express plane skidded to a halt by the Continental jet, with just 100 feet between them.

The other three incidents, which occurred since May 23, also involved aircraft crossing or moving too close to a runway where an airplane was readying for takeoff.

Two of those occurred on the south side and one on the north side.

"A combination of the increased flights and the outdated airfield layout — that's what's driving the spike in runway incursions," said Paul Haney, a spokesman for the city's airport agency.

The events are a reminder that LAX has a reputation among pilots as a dangerous place to be on the ground. From 2000 to 2003, LAX led the nation in near misses between aircraft. From 1997 to 2000, the airport recorded 13 serious near crashes on the ground — the most among the nation's busiest airports.

Near misses between aircraft have declined since airport officials launched an intensive campaign to educate pilots about the challenges posed by the airport's unique layout. The airport also added lighting and other warning signals on the airfield.

In 2003, LAX posted 11 incidents. Five were recorded in 2004, three of them in the same month last summer.

The airport has two sets of parallel runways, one pair on the north side and a second on the south. Airplanes that land on the outer runways must cross the inner runways, where jets take off, to reach the terminals.

The airfield's runway configuration can lead to confusion among pilots, who repeat controller instructions to stop well before the inner runway but sometimes fail to stop.

"Oftentimes that's the toughest one for us to catch," said Mike Foote, a controller in the LAX tower and local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Assn. "When they actually read it back correctly, you start to move on and you leave that situation behind and you turn around and you realize the guy has actually crossed the runway."

The other recent incidents at LAX include:

•  On May 23 at 8:13 p.m. a controller told the pilot of an American Eagle turboprop bound for San Diego to taxi into position on the inner runway on the south side and hold. The pilot correctly read back the instructions.

The controller then cleared an American Airlines 757 from
Newark to taxi across the inner runway. The turboprop took off without clearance but was at least 4,500 feet from the 757.

•  On Tuesday at
2:45 p.m., the pilot of a United 737 was told to wait behind the hold bars on a taxiway between the two sets of parallel runways on the south side. The pilot read back the instructions.

American Airlines flight 1606 was taking off on the inner runway when the United pilot told controllers that he had crossed the bars. The controller decided it was too late to abort takeoff. The American MD-80 came within 350 to 400 feet of the United jet.

•  On Wednesday at
1:13 p.m., Southwest Airlines flight 2197 landed on the outer runway on the airport's north side. Controllers, distracted by an America West plane that was landing, cleared another Southwest jet to take off on the inner runway. During a mix-up, Flight 2197 came too close to the inner runway and at one point was 200 feet from the departing jet.

The number of international flights at LAX was up about 14% in May and June, according to the city's airport agency. Officials agree that additional flights can lead to more mistakes.

Officials hope to correct the problems on the airport's south side by moving the southernmost runway 55 feet closer to El Segundo and building a taxiway down the middle. That project is part of the first phase of an $11-billion plan to modernize LAX.

The city's airport agency plans to release an environmental study for the project in late July. Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa has said he favors the first phase of the modernization plan, which includes this project.

Airport officials said they are concerned that the incidents mean that some pilots are still unaware of the dangers at LAX.

"After what's happened in the last couple weeks, we will have to get out there and start refocusing people on the problems," said Michael DiGirolamo, a deputy airport executive director.

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Los Angeles Times

May 21, 2005

FAA Approves LAX Modernization Plan

  The action pushes the $11-billion proposal to the top of the mayor-elect's agenda.


By Jennifer Oldham and Jessica Garrison, Times Staff Writers

Federal officials signed off on the city's $11-billion modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, allowing construction to start and forcing Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa to make the issue a top priority.

Villaraigosa said he had spoken with U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta after the decision was announced and told him that he opposed some of the plan's major components. Villaraigosa wants to eliminate a controversial passenger check-in center near the San Diego Freeway.

"He indicated that the decision was well on its way, and that they could not delay it because it was all ready to be issued," Villaraigosa said of the conversation.

The Federal Aviation Administration must complete an environmental impact report and sign off on the city's plan, but its decision Friday does not mean the city must follow the plan to the letter.

"This doesn't require the city or the airport to take any action at all," said Donn Walker, an FAA spokesman. "It simply means if they want to they can go ahead and implement" their airport plan.

The approval comes just three days after voters replaced the airport plan's two strongest proponents — Mayor James K. Hahn and Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski — with Villaraigosa and Bill Rosendahl, who oppose the proposal.

The FAA's action will require Villaraigosa, who has not offered a comprehensive alternative blueprint, to make some tough decisions about LAX this summer. The city is currently spending about $2 million a month to design projects and to pay for legal costs. Some of the money is being spent on parts of the proposal that Villaraigosa opposes.

"I believe that we need to develop a regional approach to expanding capacity," he said, adding that he thinks other airports should absorb some of the growth in passenger traffic.

On Friday, the airport-area's congressional representatives also decried the FAA's 58-page ruling.

"The only thing I can conclude is this may be an effort by someone to try to move the process forward faster and disregard the fact that we have a new councilman … and a new mayor," said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles).

Waters and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who both endorsed Villaraigosa, have repeatedly called on
Los Angeles officials to revamp the plan, which was introduced by Hahn shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The plan is highly unpopular in airport-area communities. On Tuesday, Villaraigosa outpolled Hahn in most of these areas.

Officials hope to break ground on the first construction project, moving the southernmost runway 55 feet closer to El Segundo, next spring. The city must first hire a contractor, and the Airport Commission and the City Council must sign off on the project and its environmental documents.

Costs related to the plan are sure to mount as opponents file suit in the next 60 days to challenge the federal environmental impact report. When asked if her clients —
Inglewood, Culver City and Los Angeles County — would sue in federal court, attorney Barbara Lichman said: "There's no question about it."

The city is currently facing litigation brought in state court by these entities and airport-area residents. The lawsuit alleges that the complex environmental studies for the LAX plan understate the effects of noise, air pollution and traffic. A hearing is scheduled in August.

How Villaraigosa chooses to fix LAX could have wide-ranging implications for his administration. Reworking the city's aging airport, which was used by about 60 million travelers last year, has proven to be problematic for both Hahn and his predecessor, Richard J. Riordan. The city has spent $147 million in the last 10 years trying to rework the world's fifth-busiest airport, which consistently ranks near the bottom in surveys of traveler satisfaction.

Riordan left office before his expansion plan was approved. Hahn's plan faced certain defeat in the City Council last year before Miscikowski — who currently represents the airport area — suggested splitting the plan's projects into two phases.

The first phase features the most popular elements, including a transit hub near the Century Freeway, a consolidated rental car center in parking lot C and a people mover.

More controversial components, including a check-in center in a
Westchester neighborhood, the demolition of terminals 1, 2 and 3 and the building of a terminal in the middle of the airport's horseshoe-shaped roadway, are part of a second phase. These so-called "yellow-light" projects require additional traffic, environmental and safety reviews before they could be built.

Hahn lauded the FAA's decision Friday.

"I am pleased," he said in a statement, "and look forward to working with labor, businesses, public safety officials and other stakeholders throughout the city as we continue to make LAX a model for safety, security and passenger convenience."

But the mayor is unlikely to see any actual progress on his plan before he leaves office.

Villaraigosa is likely to make a decision about LAX in conjunction with Rosendahl, a former local television host who won Miscikowski's seat. Rosendahl said Friday that he would "expect a reconsideration and another opportunity to weigh in on the issue."

 

"The mayor-elect … and I will talk a little bit more about our common strategy," he said.

Community leaders and legal experts questioned whether Rosendahl would be able to request another council vote on Hahn's LAX plan.

"I think it's a hard thing to do to have council members go back on a vote so shortly after their original vote," said Brendan Huffman, director of public policy at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Legal experts said that Villaraigosa could order the Airport Commission to start the whole process over. But he has said that he wanted the first phase of Hahn's plan to move forward.

Complicating the matter is Villaraigosa's assertion that he would kill the proposal's most controversial projects. Attorneys for the city and opponents argue that removing the second phase would invalidate the plan's environmental analysis. The new mayor also would have to grapple with how to hold capacity at LAX to 78 million passengers. The plan to do that, by removing 10 gates for airplanes, is part of the second phase.

If he does away with that phase, Villaraigosa would also jeopardize part of a $500-million agreement tied to Hahn's plan that is designed to ease noise, air pollution and traffic and provide jobs to residents living near LAX.

Architects of this deal said Friday that the community benefits were linked to individual projects and that schools near the airport would probably lose a large portion of funding if the controversial projects were cut.

"If the yellow-light projects are scaled back, then the benefits tied to those projects would be scaled back or eliminated," said Danny Tabor, a former
Inglewood city councilman. He said the coalition that negotiated with airport officials to reach a community-benefits agreement was hoping to meet with Villaraigosa soon.

"We really need to show him how it all fits together so he has a clear understanding of the various aspects of the master plan."

Other airport-area residents also hope to get the mayor-elect's ear, saying they will withdraw litigation if he agrees to a proposal they plan to release next week. The document will ask for a security study of the plan, a limit on passenger growth and an increase in landing fees as an incentive for airlines to fly the new 550-seat Airbus A380, the largest airliner ever built, to city-owned airports in Ontario and Palmdale.

"They could have variable landing fees … that would make alternative airports much more attractive," said Jan Chatten-Brown, an attorney who represents airport-area residents. "There are other airports in the Greater Los Angeles area that have the capacity to take up the burden, and a lot of these communities want these flights."

###

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____________________________________________________________

L.A. Daily News

Article Published: Friday, May 20, 2005 - 8:30:56 PM PST

Hahn's messy legacy

LAX: FAA approves modernization though opposed by Villaraigosa

By Beth Barrett, Staff Writer

Federal aviation officials on Friday approved Mayor James Hahn's $11 billion plan to expand and modernize Los Angeles International Airport even as his successor, Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa, renewed his commitment to sharply scale back the massive project.

The Federal Aviation Administration's action on the LAX master plan sets the stage for reopening debate on the project, which got City Council approval last year as one of the cornerstones of Hahn's re-election campaign.

Villaraigosa, who opposed the plan and campaigned for a broader regional air traffic strategy, got a courtesy call from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta on Friday informing him of the FAA action.

The mayor-elect said he reiterated his opposition to Mineta to key elements in the master plan -- specifically the most controversial and expensive, including a ground transportation center east of the airport, known as "yellow light projects." He said he was told the approval means the city's proposed mitigations are sufficient to address the environmental issues but does not commit the city to doing the work.

"As it was explained to me, it's not critical. It doesn't as I said prohibit us from continuing to move toward ensuring the yellow light projects never become a reality," Villaraigosa told reporters at City Hall.

"My position is still clear: I don't support the yellow light projects. I believe we need to develop a regional approach to expanding airport capacity in this region and continue to work toward that goal."

Villaraigosa, like most other elected officials, supports the proposed so-called "green light" projects, which include reconfiguring the south airstrip, a consolidated rental car center, and some transportation improvements.

It was widely believed around City Hall that the Hahn administration had pressured the FAA for the approval prior to Villaraigosa taking office July 1.

"Our timing was completely independent of anything going on in the city," said FAA spokesman Donn Walker. "It was a pretty normal time frame."

In a statement, Hahn said he was pleased with the FAA's decision and looked forward to "working with labor, businesses, public safety officials and other stakeholders throughout the city" in making LAX safer, more secure and convenient for passengers.

His spokeswoman, Shannon Murphy, said that while the mayor has always wanted to move the master plan forward, there was "no additional effort" to ensure it happened before he left office.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, who had urged Mineta to hold off on a decision, condemned the FAA action, said Edgar Saenz, her special assistant for airport affairs.

"She thinks the timing is strange, inappropriate and appears rushed when three days ago (voters) elected a new mayor who's been forcefully clear that Alternate D (the approved option) is dead," Saenz said. "We feel it's unfortunate in the wake of this election."

Saenz added that Waters also spoke with Mineta on Friday and was told the local FAA office already had "pulled the trigger."

That was consistent with statements by Villaraigosa, who said Mineta told him the decision was "well on its way, and that they could not delay it, because it was already to be issued."

Opponents to the master plan said they were optimistic that Villaraigosa would follow through with his campaign promises and not allow any momentum generated by the federal decision to sidetrack him.

"Obviously there was a lot of pressure put on the FAA by the outgoing administration. I don't think it was serendipity," said environmental attorney Jan Chatten-Brown, who represents the Alliance for Regional Solutions to Airport Congestion, a broad coalition of cities and community activists opposed to LAX expansion.

"Nothing compelled them to act in the time frame," she said.

However, she said the FAA's decision has "no real legal significance" in that it's an authorization, and not a mandate to move ahead.

"When a mayor (Villaraigosa) and council representatives are strongly opposed to it ... it's pretty clear it's not going to go forward as approved. We feel absolutely confident there will be a dramatic and very beneficial change in the plan at LAX, and a move toward obtaining a regional solution."

Councilman-elect Bill Rosendahl, who will represent the district that contains LAX, said he was disappointed in the FAA's action, saying opponents would regroup to oppose beginning any "yellow light projects."

"It's not over," Rosendahl said.

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who now represents the Westside area and brokered the two-tier project master plan, said she was "thrilled" by the FAA's decision.

"This allows breathing room."

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FAA denies request to delay airport modernization plan

 

Five Democratic members of Congress had asked the agency to hold off ruling on the plan until a panel hears appeals by county and city of El Segundo.

Daily Breeze Friday, February 25, 2005

  Federal officials have rejected a request to delay the Los Angeles International Airport modernization plan until all appeals of the controversial proposal are heard.
  Five Democratic members of Congress, including South Bay Reps. Jane Harman, Maxine Waters and Juanita Millender-McDonald, had asked the Federal Aviation Administration to hold off ruling on the plan until an obscure county panel considers appeals of the project that were filed by Los Angeles County and the city of El Segundo.
  FAA officials, however, decided this week that there is "no substantive reason" to further delay a process that has taken 10 years and cost the city of Los Angeles $130 million.
  "Ten years and two council votes later, it's time to move forward with the process," FAA spokesman Greg Martin said. "There are some critical safety and airfield improvements we need to get moving on."
  The FAA expects to issue its Record of Decision on the LAX plan next month, Martin said. He stressed that the agency has not decided whether to approve the plan.
  The FAA's decision to adhere to its initial timetable provoked an angry response from Harman.
  In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Harman said she was "extremely disappointed" that the FAA is poised to rule on the entire LAX modernization plan rather than limit its decision to a handful of popular modernization projects. She implied that she and Mineta had discussed the possibility of a limited FAA ruling, and urged the secretary to instruct the agency to undertake such an action.
  A City Council aide said local officials had discussed asking the FAA if it could issue a decision only on the popular, or "consensus," projects. But the aide said he didn't know if anyone had made a formal request to that effect.
  Robert Johnson, director of public affairs for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Mineta has a policy of not commenting on his discussions with members of Congress.
  "I'm not in a position to get into relating what was discussed during those exchanges," Johnson said.
  Another federal official, however, said the FAA can issue decisions only on an entire plan it is presented with and not on portions of a plan. In the case of LAX modernization, the Los Angeles City Council approved the entire plan while limiting which projects can be built without additional rigorous reviews.
  "The FAA can't cherry-pick certain aspects" of a plan, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
  Last December, the City Council decided that popular LAX modernization projects -- including southern runway improvements and an on-airport rental car facility -- can be built relatively soon. Controversial projects -- such as the new entrance in the Manchester Square neighborhood 1 miles east of the airfield -- would have to undergo further studies and security analyses before construction could begin.
  Martin, the FAA spokesman, said the agency might perform additional reviews of controversial projects that the City Council makes changes to in the future.
  The five members of Congress asked the FAA earlier this month to delay its decision because the Los Angeles County Airport Land Use Commission may take until May to rule on the appeals of the LAX plan. The appeals argue that the plan is inconsistent with the county's airport noise and safety regulations.
  Several lawsuits also have been filed challenging the plan's environmental review.
____________________________________________________________

Major Hurdles for LAX Suits

Los Angeles Times January 16, 2005

Experts say attacks on environmental studies often delay but rarely halt airport expansions. However, this project's complexity may aid foes.

By Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer

  As airport officials pull together hundreds of documents in response to a quartet of lawsuits challenging the city's modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport, environmental law experts say opponents face serious obstacles in their bid to halt the long-awaited overhaul.
  Airport neighbors argue in litigation filed this month in Superior Court that environmental studies for the LAX plan understate how much noise, traffic and air pollution will be created and fail to deal with the effect on nearby communities. The City Council overwhelmingly approved these studies and the $11-billion plan last month.
  Challenging environmental studies in court to try to block airport projects is a common tactic. Typically, the cases delay projects for years and add to their costs, experts say, but they rarely stop them.
  "The usual thing around the country is these projects get built," said Victor B. Flatt, an environmental law professor at the
University of Houston. "It's hard to derail them, because there are powerful interests that want them."
  Airport projects often move forward, legal experts said, because judges are reluctant to second-guess environmental studies.
  "Cities start with a leg up in these cases," said Sean Hecht, executive director of the
UCLA Environmental Law Center. "The presumption is that cities have the power to have a fair amount of discretion in decision-making."
  The Times asked four environmental law experts to review the lawsuits filed by the city of El Segundo; a group of Southland residents; a coalition of homeowner associations; and Los Angeles County, which was joined by Inglewood and Culver City.
  The lawsuits share a similar theme, claiming that the city violated state law by understating the airport's passenger capacity, by ignoring public comments and by making last-minute changes without additional analysis. The suits ask the court to invalidate the council's approval and bar any work until a more detailed study is completed.
  To prevail under
California law, opponents must show that the city based its decision on inaccurate and incomplete information, and failed to examine significant effects of the project.
  Proving that
Los Angeles used such information will be difficult, the legal experts said. Each side is likely to provide the court with data from its own experts.
  "The courts tend to look at that and say, 'That's just a battle of experts,' and the agency is entitled to some deference," said Robert Verchick, an environmental law professor at
Loyola University in New Orleans.
  But the LAX case is unusually complex. The 30,000-page state environmental study discusses four expansion alternatives, leaving city officials at somewhat of a disadvantage because there are many ways opponents can attack both the analysis and the process.
  "There are so many issues here that seem to be at least potentially serious from a plaintiffs' point of view that I would say they likely have some real hope" that the council's decision will be overturned, Hecht said.
  Opponents may also have an advantage, experts said, if they can persuade a judge that the city left information out of its environmental studies. The lawsuits, for example, note that the city failed to study the LAX project's effects past 2015, even though construction is likely to continue after that year.
  A second significant piece of missing information, litigants argue, involves additional analysis that they say the city should have conducted after it made 11th hour changes to the plan.
  The foes' cases are "definitely strengthened by an omission like that in the impact statement," Verchick said.
  To mollify critics, Mayor James K. Hahn modified his plan and placed projects into two phases.
  A transit hub, an elevated tram, a consolidated rental car center and the relocation of the southernmost runway 55 feet closer to El Segundo were included in the first phase.
  A second set of projects, which require further environmental, traffic and security review, include more controversial elements, among them a remote check-in center and demolition of three terminals.
 
California environmental law is stronger than a similar federal statute and gives opponents a second way to challenge the LAX plan: by attempting to show that the city airport agency could have selected another alternative.
  For instance, the lawsuits argue that environmental studies fail to address the possibility of dispersing travelers to other airports or capping LAX capacity at 78.9 million annual passengers, measures that would lessen effects on surrounding communities.
  But challengers may have a tough time convincing a judge that these alternatives are feasible, because LAX cannot force airlines to take service to other airports and federal law prohibits the airport agency from limiting passenger growth.
  In all likelihood, experts say, opponents are relying as much on the extreme complexity of the litigation as the legal weight of their arguments. Officials have already spent 10 years and $147 million studying how to update LAX.
  "Lawsuits by expansion opponents can sometimes succeed, even if they fail, because they can delay the expansion process and drive up expansion costs," said Maureen Martin, a senior fellow for legal affairs at the Heartland Institute in
Chicago.
  The petitions "are extremely long and contain dense language and an abundance of acronyms," Martin said. "This creates a daunting task for the judges unlucky enough to be assigned to the cases and slows down the review process — which likely is one of the opponents' goals."
  That strategy has worked elsewhere, although it hasn't ultimately stopped construction.
  During the last two decades, communities ringing airports in or near
Seattle, Oakland, St. Louis, Dallas, Boston and Memphis, Tenn., among dozens of others, have sued over modernization plans.
  In most of these cases, the airport neighbors filed their cases in state and federal courts and claimed that environmental reports did not adequately analyze the effects of passenger growth.
  Expansion opponents hope that tying up airport plans in court will forestall development because environmental data may get stale, airlines may cancel service, the city may be unable to pay for the project or the proposal may lose political
support.

  In St. Louis they nearly "pulled it off because of 9/11," said Mike Donatt, a spokesman for Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. "We already had approval and had broken ground, but if they had delayed approval and it coincided with 9/11, they might have stopped everything."
  Lawsuits claiming that the airport lacked the ability to override local zoning laws delayed construction on a new runway at Lambert for about a year, Donatt said.
  In
Washington state, airport-area cities' lawsuits pushed back the completion date for a third runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by about eight years.
  Twenty-three lawsuits were filed over the project, and the runway cost jumped from $400 million to $1.1 billion, said Paige Miller, president of the
Port of Seattle Commission, which runs the airport.
  In
Los Angeles, a judge is likely to consolidate the four cases filed here, experts say. There's also a chance that opponents will withdraw their suits, if they reach a compromise with L.A. officials. The city continues to negotiate with El Segundo, Inglewood and the county.
  The critical question now is whether the state court will bar the city from starting construction. Airport officials hope to begin work on the new southern runway in September.
  Judges are often reluctant to get involved in public policy issues by blocking construction, said UCLA expert Hecht, but if they think they might ultimately ask the city to do additional analysis, they are likely to issue a restraining order.
  "If the court finds anything wrong with the process," he said, "the typical remedy is to rescind the approval and make the city do whatever is necessary to change the project."

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LOS ANGELES TIMES - January 7, 2005

2 More Lawsuits Filed Over Hahn's LAX Plan
Three suits now seek to invalidate the City Council's approval of the project and to have a new environmental impact report done

By Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer
  The county of Los Angeles, two cities and a group of residents sued the city of Los Angeles on Thursday over its modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport, claiming its voluminous environmental studies were flawed and asking the court to order the city to conduct additional analysis.
  The two lawsuits, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, join a similar petition submitted Monday by the city of El Segundo. Under state law, opponents of the LAX plan have until today — one month after the City Council's approval of the proposal — to challenge the $11-billion plan in court.
  The county joined with the cities of Inglewood and Culver City in one of Thursday's lawsuits, and the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion filed the second action. The city of Los Angeles, the City Council, Mayor James K. Hahn, the Airport Commission and the city's airport agency were named in both.
  All three suits filed this week share a similar theme: that Los Angeles violated state environmental law by misrepresenting the airport's passenger capacity, by ignoring public comments and by failing to include adequate measures to ease additional noise, air pollution and traffic.
  The lawsuits also claim that the plan's environmental studies understate its negative effect on air quality, noise and traffic.
  Hahn's LAX plan "is the quintessential red herring aimed at disarming the opposition of public entities … which represent virtually all of the many thousands of citizens, predominantly minority and low-income, who will suffer the vast bulk of the project's adverse environmental impacts," according to the 59-page petition filed by the county and the cities of Inglewood and Culver City.
  All three suits ask the court to invalidate the City Council's approval of the LAX plan last month and bar any work until a more detailed analysis is completed.
  The three lawsuits could be consolidated if a judge finds that they contain similar allegations.
  The Federal Aviation Administration reiterated that litigation wouldn't deter the agency from issuing a decision on the plan by the end of March.
  The mayor's office said that it had expected the litigation and that it remains in negotiations with the county and neighboring cities to find a way to address their concerns.
  "The mayor is confident we'll be able to reach an agreement that everyone is satisfied with," said Elizabeth Kaltman, a mayoral spokeswoman. "Mayor Hahn is also confident that the EIR will stand up to scrutiny."
  County supervisors said Thursday that they filed suit to preserve their legal options, but added that if their concerns are not met, they would proceed with the litigation.
  "The county's lawsuit is a placeholder, if negotiations with the city of Los Angeles fail," said Supervisor Don Knabe, who represents airport-area residents.
  The county has demanded that city officials cap LAX at 78 million annual passengers and eliminate the centerpiece of Hahn's plan, a remote check-in center near the San Diego Freeway.
  The city has argued that it cannot legally constrain passenger growth at LAX and cannot scrap the check-in center without starting the process over.
  To mollify critics, the mayor's LAX plan was modified earlier last year to divide it into two phases.
  The first includes a transit hub, an elevated tram, a consolidated rental-car center and the relocation of the southernmost runway closer to El Segundo.
  The most controversial projects, including the check-in center, were put in a second phase in which they would undergo more rigorous environmental, traffic and security studies before construction.
  The lawsuits charge that this last-minute change violated state law because officials didn't conduct additional environmental studies on the altered plan.
  "The division of the LAX Master Plan into projects that will definitely go forward and those that may not renders the description of the expansion plan and its impacts unreliable," wrote Jan Chatten-Brown, an attorney for the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, in its 34-page petition.

________________________________________________________

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More LAX lawsuits filed

L.A. Daily News

County joins cities, others in opposition

By Rick Orlov
Staff Writer

  Opposition to Mayor James Hahn's $11 billion modernization and expansion plan for Los Angeles International Airport mounted Thursday with Los Angeles County, two cities and a citizens group filing lawsuits seeking to block it from going forward.

  The suits are similar to one filed Monday by the city of El Segundo saying that the environmental studies backing the plan are inadequate and based on outdated information.

  Hahn, who helped shepherd the plan through the approval process, voiced confidence in the supporting environmental studies.

  "We expected these lawsuits and we are still negotiating with the county and others in the hope we can resolve all the issues," Hahn spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaltman said. "The mayor is committed to finding solutions. But, also, he is confident the environmental impact reviews will stand up to court scrutiny."

  City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said his office also was prepared to defend the plan.

  "We fully expected a number of lawsuits to come from the expansion of LAX," Delgadillo said. "This office remains steadfast and prepared to defend the city of Los Angeles with respect to any of those lawsuits."

  City officials said they hope a judge will combine the various suits so there is just one court proceeding.

  The county suit includes complaints by the cities of Inglewood and Culver City. The county argues that the modernization proposal is misleading and violates its own airport master plan.

  "(It) is the quintessential red herring aimed at disarming the opposition ... of the many thousands of citizens who will suffer the vast bulk of the project's adverse environmental impacts," the county suit said.

  The county says the city failed to adequately address issues such as traffic congestion, noise and air quality, as well as how their impacts can be mitigated.

  Also filing a challenge was the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, which describes itself as a grass-roots organization seeking to create a regional air traffic plan.

  "The biggest concern is the failure of the city to consider a range of alternatives, including one that would distribute the benefits, as well as the burdens, of having an airport," said attorney Jan Chatten-Brown, who represents ARSAC.

  "There are communities in outlying areas that are better suited and that want to see more airport business."

  Chatten-Brown said she was referring to city-owned airports in Ontario and Palmdale, which Los Angeles officials say they want to make greater use of.

  Hahn has touted the recent expansion of air service at Ontario and Palmdale, but said their future growth will depend on airlines making greater use of the facilities.

  The ARSAC suit also questions a "green light-yellow light" priority system, in which the entire plan was approved but with the intention of only going forward immediately on noncontroversial elements while other parts will be postponed for possible further study.

  "Essentially, their EIR is fundamentally flawed ... because it is an ever-changing project," Chatten-Brown said. "The insertion of the yellow light-green light concept adds an uncertainty about what the project will be."

  Chatten-Brown also criticized the city for basing its environmental review on conditions in 1996 rather than using more recent data.

 _________________________________________

El Segundo files suit over L.A. mayor's LAX project
Daily Breeze –
January 04, 2005

 City is first of four which will sue, arguing that reviews on the environmental impacts of the proposed $11 billion plan are inadequate.


Daily Breeze

  El Segundo on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging Mayor James Hahn's $11 billion-plus modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport, becoming the first of four public and private agencies that have indicated they will sue by week's end.
  The Superior Court lawsuit alleges that the project's environmental review violates the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to analyze or lessen its noise, traffic and air quality effects and by providing no assurances that LAX's growth will be constrained.
  Additionally, El Segundo claims that the Los Angeles City Council rushed its approval of the plan before seeing the results of an ongoing RAND Corp. security study. El Segundo also alleges that the council made "significant 11th-hour changes" to Hahn's original modernization proposal by approving a $3 billion compromise plan brokered by Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski.
  "The communities surrounding LAX ... have for decades endured the significant adverse environmental consequences of intensive airport operations," El Segundo's 13-page complaint says. "The project will aggravate LAX's adverse impacts on the surrounding communities by increasing the airport's capacity and by causing significant environmental impacts without adequate mitigation."
  Representatives of Los Angeles County, Culver City and the Playa del Rey-based Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, or ARSAC, also said they will file lawsuits against the project. Their objections are similar to El Segundo's.
  State law requires that lawsuits against the LAX Master Plan be filed by Friday, 30 days after the Los Angeles City Council approved it.
  It's unclear whether lawsuits could delay construction on modernization projects, which could begin in 2006.
  The Federal Aviation Administration still expects to issue a decision on the LAX plan in the first quarter of 2005, said FAA spokesman Donn Walker.
"Nothing has changed," Walker said.
  Elizabeth Kaltmann, a Hahn spokeswoman, said the mayor expected El Segundo would sue before Friday's deadline to preserve its legal options."We're still in negotiations with El Segundo," Kaltmann said. "(Hahn) is confident we'll be able to resolve their claims."
  El Segundo Mayor Kelly McDowell and John Musella, a spokesman for county Supervisor Don Knabe, whose district includes LAX, said recently that they're optimistic agreements can be reached with Los Angeles.
  Deborah Fancett, Culver City's assistant chief administrative officer, said her city also intends to continue negotiating with Los Angeles. But Los Angeles officials have not taken seriously Culver City's concerns, which she said focus on the plan's traffic effects.
  Jan Chatten-Brown, a Santa Monica attorney representing ARSAC, said Los Angeles has not negotiated with her client. "So far L.A. has been very reluctant to come to the table to discuss the issues that are at the heart of ARSAC's concerns," Chatten-Brown said. "Maybe this lawsuit will get them there."
  The Los Angeles City Council staved off some challenges to the airport plan last month by approving a landmark agreement that would confer up to $500 million in benefits on communities and schools around LAX in Inglewood, Lennox and South Los Angeles.
  LAX also is negotiating an amendment of a smaller benefits agreement that Inglewood and the airport signed in February 2001. Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn has said he wants more than $200 million for his city.
  Inglewood City Administrator Mark Weinberg would not say Monday whether his city will file a lawsuit against the LAX plan.
  The $3 billion compromise LAX plan that Miscikowski brokered would allow popular projects to move forward relatively quickly, including improvements to the southern runway complex and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, an on-airport rental car facility and a center linking the Green Line and buses with a people mover that would serve the terminals.
  Another $8 billion in controversial projects, including a new check-in center 1 miles east of the airfield, would be postponed pending additional environmental and security studies.

 

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El Segundo Sues Over LAX Plan

LOS ANGELES TIMES -  January 4, 2005

City alleges Los Angeles' environmental studies failed to adequately analyze traffic, noise and other effects on nearby communities.

 By Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer

  The city of El Segundo sued the city of Los Angeles on Monday, claiming that environmental studies completed for a Los Angeles International Airport modernization plan failed to adequately analyze air pollution, traffic, noise and other effects on surrounding communities.
  In a 12-page petition, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, El Segundo's attorneys argue that in a rush to approve the $11-billion plan, Los Angeles violated state environmental law.

  State law requires airports to complete an environmental impact report, or EIR, with expansion plans to identify measures that will ease the effects on surrounding communities.
  "The great quantities of time and money expended by the parties in the LAX Master Plan environmental review process have not resulted in a high-quality, or even an adequate, EIR," the petition filed by San Francisco-based Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger states. "In fact, the environmental documentation leaves many of the public's concerns unaddressed and questions unanswered."
  El Segundo's lawsuit is the first of several expected this week from residents and cities near the world's fifth-busiest airport. Under state law, the parties have until Friday to challenge the plan. The
Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, a group that represents residents living around LAX, plans to file suit Thursday. Los Angeles County officials said they would file by Friday.
  The city of
Inglewood has also threatened to sue.
  El Segundo's lawsuit against the Los Angeles City Council, Mayor James K. Hahn,
Los Angeles World Airports and the Airport Commission, asks the court to order them to conduct an additional environmental review. The suit also requests that the court bar Los Angeles from starting work until it complies with state environmental law.
  The City Council last month overwhelmingly approved Hahn's plan to renovate the airport. The proposal, in two phases, calls for a transit hub, an elevated train and a consolidated rental-car center, along with moving the airport's southernmost runway closer to El Segundo. Airport officials hope to start construction on the runway later this year.
  Los Angeles officials said the lawsuit came as no surprise and noted that they are continuing to negotiate with El Segundo to limit annual capacity at LAX to 78.9 million passengers, pay for noise mitigation and traffic improvements, and address how to fix the southern runways.
  "The mayor isn't dissuaded by the lawsuit," said Elizabeth Kaltman, a spokeswoman for Hahn. "We all assumed they would preserve their right to sue. The mayor is confident that we will be able to resolve their claims" out of court.
  El Segundo officials said the lawsuit's confrontational tone belied a "very cordial and, at this point, friendly" relationship between the cities.
  "I'm optimistic," said Kelly McDowell, El Segundo's mayor. "We've been going at it for what seems like a long time, but in this set of discussions compared to the length of time with which we've been dealing with the problem, it's not. We've been talking since last May, but we've been dealing with this for decades."
  The Federal Aviation Administration, which must sign off on Hahn's LAX plan and which has worked closely with
Los Angeles officials on the environmental studies, said litigation would not force the agency to alter its schedule. The FAA plans to issue a decision before the end of March, said Donn Walker, an agency spokesman.
  The lawsuit reiterates long-standing complaints El Segundo has had with the airport planning process, which spanned 10 years and cost
Los Angeles $147 million.
  El Segundo has argued repeatedly that Hahn's plan fails to limit annual capacity at LAX to 78.9 million passengers — a figure the mayor promised to stick to when he campaigned for office in 2001.
  Because the updated airport's capacity will be far greater than the 78.9 million passengers used in the environmental report, it understates the effect on surrounding communities, the lawsuit argues.
  In a "rush" to approve the project, the lawsuit contends, the city made "significant 11th-hour changes" to the proposal and did not conduct additional environmental analysis.
  Those alterations included moving the most controversial projects — including a remote check-in facility near the San Diego Freeway and the demolition of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 — to a second phase where they can't proceed without further environmental, traffic and security studies. The lawsuit also challenges one of the major arguments for Hahn's plan: that if the airport isn't modernized, residents will suffer the noise, air pollution and traffic that accompanies growth without the mitigation measures provided in the plan.
  Environmental studies for Hahn's plan, the lawsuit contends, also rely on outdated data and fail to analyze effects after the year 2015.
  In addition, the 30,000-page EIR is "written in overly complicated technical jargon" and is "well over" the 300-page length that state law suggests, the suit alleges.
Los Angeles' airport agency also made it difficult for residents to review the document because it charged $6,500 for a copy, and because the electronic version was unreliable, the suit charges.
  The lawsuit says El Segundo's comments, "
supported by substantial evidence and extensive credible expert analysis, have been largely ignored." Instead, it charges that Los Angeles "attempted to bury" El Segundo "in increasingly large mountains of paperwork."

 

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The following information is from:

Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion
322 Culver Blvd. #231, Playa del Rey, CA 90293   (310) 827-7411
Contact Us  

PROTECT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

THE CONCENTRATION OF A MAJORITY OF SO CAL AIR COMMERCE IN ONE PLACE IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.

FROM THE Los Angeles Daily News

Hahn's $9.1 billion plan for "modernizing" Los Angeles International Airport is a frog. It costs too much and would only serve to worsen traffic on the 405 Freeway while creating a monstrosity of a single check-in center. That's why the only people who support the plan are those who stand to profit from its implementation, namely contractors and unions.

CLICK HERE AND EMAIL EVERY LA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER TO VOICE YOUR OUTRAGE!

TELL THEM, "I DEMAND HONESTY IN CITY GOVERNMENT.  I WANT A REASONABLE, WELL THOUGHT OUT MODERNIZATION PLAN FOR LAX THAT PROVIDES A TRUE CAP ON A SAFE, SECURE AIRPORT AND A TRUELY REGIONAL SOLUTION TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S AIR TRAVEL NEEDS.  I DO NOT WANT NOT A FABRICATED "CONSENSUS" THAT IS ACTUALLY A PUBLIC WORKS BOONDOGGLE ESTIMATED TO COST $9.6 BILLION YESTERDAY, $11 BILLION TODAY, AND PERHAPS $19 BILLION TOMORROW.  FINIALLY I WANT A TIMETABLE FOR THIS PROCESS BASED UPON THE CONCEPT OF DOING IT RIGHT INSTEAD OF WHEN THE NEXT ELECTION IS"

 

 

 

 Below is the information on how to contact individual Los Angeles City Council Members or the Mayor by phone, fax or e-mail or regular mail.

 

 

Address for Mayor & Council Members: 200 N Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mayor James K. Hahn.Phone: (213) 978-0600, Fax: (213) 978-0656, Email:
jhahn@mayor.lacity.org

Ed Reyes, 1st District.Phone: (213) 485-3451, Fax: (213) 485-8907, Email:reyes@council.lacity.org

Wendy Greuel, 2nd District.Phone: (213) 485-3391, Fax: (213) 680-7895, Email:greuel@council.lacity.org

Dennis Zine, 3rd District.Phone: (213) 473-7003, Fax: (213) 485-8988, Email:zine@council.lacity.org

Tom LaBonge, 4th District.Phone: (213) 485-3337, Fax: (213) 624- 7810, Email:labonge@council.lacity.org

Jack Weiss, 5th District.Phone: (213) 473-7005, Fax: (213) 978-2250, E-Mail:weiss@council.lacity.org

Tony Cardenas, 6th District.Phone: (213) 473-7006, Fax: (213) 847-0549, Email:cardenas@council.lacity.org

Council President Alex Padilla, 7th District.Phone: (213) 847-7777, Fax: (213)847-0707, Email: padilla@council.lacity.org

Bernard Parks, 8th District.Phone: (213) 473-7008, Fax: (213) 485-7683, Email:parks@council.lacity.org

Jan Perry, 9th District.Phone: (213) 473-7009, Fax: (213) 473-5946 Email:perry@council.lacity.org

Martin Ludlow, 10th District.Phone: (213) 473-7010, Fax: (213) 485-9829, Email:ludlow@council.lacity.org

Cindy Miscikowski, 11th District.Phone: (213) 485-3811,Fax: (213) 473-6926, Email: miscikow@council.lacity.org

Greig Smith, 12th District.Phone: (213) 473-7012, Fax: (213) 473-6925, Email:smith@council.lacity.org

Eric Garcetti, 13th District.Phone: (213) 473-7013, Fax: (213) 613-0819, Email:garcetti@council.lacity.org

Antonio Villaraigosa, 14th District.Phone: (213) 473-7014, Fax: (213) 847-0680,

Email: villaraigosa@council.lacity.org

Janice Hahn, 15th District.Phone: (213) 473-7015, Fax: (213) 626-5431, Email:hahn@council.lacity.org     

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The ARSAC Viewpoint

 (Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion)

 

WILL YOU BE IMPACTED BY THE IMPENDING LAX EXPANSION?   YOU BET!

 

Think the 405 is bad now?  Just wait till another 30+ million cars and trucks annually are forced onto it by LAX expansion.

 

Think LAX expansion will relieve Burbank Airport?  Think again.  Everyone hates LAX now; with 10-20 years construction work and additional traffic on the 405, everyone is going to look for other airports to use.  Low cost airlines like Southwest have threatened to move from LAX to other local airports if the Mayor’s plan is implemented.  Burbank will feel increased pressure for expansion.  That means more traffic on the 101 too. 

 

And of course ticket prices will go up!  Someone has to pay for all of the unnecessary construction.  Estimates by one airline was $35 per ticket or more depending on the final project costs.  Further, taxpayer dollars will be required for off airport projects that are not “specifically airport related” but are exacerbated by LAX traffic—that money that could be used to maintain or fix your neighborhoods.

 

Further, all of the push for LAX expansion is diverting attention from fixing all of the Van Nuys airport issues such as limiting helicopter activity times and outlawing louder stage 2 aircraft.

 

LAST YEAR, Alternative D was so universally unacceptable that it was referred to by many in the City Council as “fatally flawed” and “dead on arrival.”   Council member Miscikowski has come to the Mayor’s rescue.  She unveiled a “consensus” plan for which there is NO AGREEMENT. 

 

LAX-area Councilwoman Miscikowski (who terms out of office next year) agrees to approve the entire Alternative D Master Plan first and to then add more “reviews” of the most onerous project elements before they are built.  Although Council member Miscikowski states opposition to her "yellow light" projects and require additional review for these items, she will not be in office to fight against them.  Even the LA City staff report approved by the joint Commissions last month referred to the Miscikowski approach as an “Alternative D implementation plan!”  A plan that deletes, not delays, the unacceptable projects should be enacted.

 

We hear that when the City Council votes in September or October to authorize this plan your Valley City Council members plan to vote with Councilmember Miscikowski as a courtesy to the Council member whose district includes LAX.

 

YOU MUST SPEAK UP—LOUDLY and CLEARLY—TO YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER AGAINST THIS PLAN.

Protest the waste of your money.  The community you save will be your own…

 

Please send a copy of your correspondence to the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion at info@regionalsolution.org .  Thanks.

 

Below is more discussion for those who want more detail of this issue.

--------------------------------

LAX Master Plan Design Alternative D is reported to be a 10-12 year, $9+ billion public works project to change LAX access.  This is the largest Southern California public works project—EVER.  Mayor Hahn and Councilmember Miscikowski are working to have it approved in September, BEFORE YOU HAVE A VOICE in the upcoming election.  Since LAX is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles no other approvals (other than a layout approval by the FAA) is required to move forward.  The Los Angeles County Airport Land Use Committee, this month, may invoke a requirement for a super majority vote of 10 Council members instead of 8 for approval.  None of the surrounding cities have a voice in the decision. 

 

        This Hahn-Miscikowski plan fails to make LAX secure.

        This plan increases inconvenience and will cost airport users and taxpayers.  One airline estimated at least $35 per ticket.

         The ongoing construction will even further increase inconveniences in and around LAX and drive increased activity to regional airports such as Burbank until outlying airports increase their capacity to accommodate their growth needs.

 

Summary of Alternative D Master Plan Changes:

        Auto access to the Central Terminal Area and CTA parking are to be eliminated.  The footprint of LAX is extended a mile and a half east into Manchester Square with a new Ground transportation Center check in and parking facility.  Passengers will either check luggage in Manchester Square or carry it onto trains.  Checked baggage may be transferred using a new $ billion tunnel constructed over an earthquake fault.  An expensive, elevated automated people mover system is to be added to carry travelers to the Central Terminal Area from Manchester Square and outlying areas. 

        Parking Lot C is replaced by a consolidated rental car facility.

        Northside terminal concourses will be torn down to facilitate a new centerline taxiway and lengthened runways. 

        A new terminal facility will be built west of Bradley International. 

        Additional changes to the southern runways and taxiway system are also scheduled.

        An Integrated Transportation Center will be built across from the present Green Line train termination so that people can transfer to the new automated people mover system to enter LAX.

        Nominal cargo facility changes will be enacted on the south and east ends of LAX to increase cargo 50%.

        Employee parking will be added.

 

Reasons to question LAX Master Plan Alternative D

 

         Still facilitates growth at LAX and detracts from regional disbursement that is more appropriate and convenient for high growth areas.

         Expensive for airlines with shaky finances.

         Impacts local business, and surrounding communities.

         Traveler inconveniences and added costs—at least $35 per ticket

         Adds potential for future expansion in an area already gridlocked.

         Probable disruptions of air service during long construction period.


 

Runways and Air Terminals:

-Reconfigured terminals cause airlines major expenses; many are already losing money.  Substantial reconfiguration costs.

-Runway extension requirements are drafted but not finalized by the FAA for “Newer, Larger 600+ passenger Aircraft.”  Future changes may be required. 

-Alternative D creates longer runways and additional taxiways which are the largest increase in runway capacity ever (presently limited by other constraints).

-Greater noise impact on residents. The FAA can authorize multiple, simultaneous landings;  flight paths will be spread all over the basin.

-The number of gates is reduced but enhancements for larger aircraft allow increased capacity per gate. New terminals west of Bradley International can be added in the future.  Expert review indicates overall LAX capacity is still increased despite Hahn no expansion pledge.

-Ends of Bradley International Terminal (and those west of Bradley) may accommodate A380 or other newer, larger aircraft. 

Check in and Safety:

1.     -Alt D precludes autos from central terminal; Manchester Square will have local traffic impacts.  Possible 405 freeway impacts by the increased numbers of cars and hundreds of thousands of additional cargo trucks.

2.     -Off site facility (Ground Transportation Center) and Intermodal Transportation Center in Alt D provide questionable security improvement, but being away from LAX grounds splits security and emergency forces.

3.     -Alt D transports passengers and baggage through unsecured areas.

4.      -Increases security delays for baggage check in.  D calls for multiple screens away from passengers and/or lugging of bags to central terminal area on new automated people mover which is, at best, inconvenient.

5      - Calls for transport over uncontrolled areas; has expensive systems such as billion dollar tunnel in an earthquake fault area.

6.      -Undefined access from local hotels and business areas unlike other alternatives.

7.      -Resources are not easily shared between check in and aircraft support areas.  Emergency services and evacuation is complicated.

8.       -Surrounding residential communities closer to LAX in Alt D.

9.       -Increased Cargo and on-airport access can still make LAX vulnerable.

Traffic Flow and Impact on surrounding communities improved:

1.       -Traffic will infuse into neighborhoods as freeway backs up.

2.       -Makes true intermodal connectivity difficult.  People arriving from all parts of Southern California via rapid transit busses and trains will have to transfer several times. Still limits access to “Green Line” or other trains.

3.       -Some streets such as Aviation, LaTijera, Sepulveda, Lincoln, and Manchester will be subjected to more rental car and taxi traffic.

4.       -Consolidated rental car facility is an improvement, but should be located in Continental City instead of removing Lot C’s convenient parking.

Harsher Experience for Travelers and Local Communities:

1.       -Removes some newly blighted areas (Manchester Square) and beautifies, but eliminates walkable business area in support of local business.

2.       -Increased cargo adds traffic and may conflict with passenger travel.

3.       -INCREASES POLLUTION from more traffic. 

4.       -ELIMINATES promised park in area where parks are scarce.

         –Removes most affordable housing in area.

 

Again, In Summary of the Hahn-Miscikowski Alternative D Plan:

 

        Everyone agrees that air commerce capacity is important to Southern California and must be addressed. The Hahn-Miscikowski version of Alternative D, the alternative being approved, has significant draw backs and the environmental documents are fatally flawed.  The over 3000 comments were provided during review did not result in any significant changes to the plan.

        Another Expansion of LAX risks the Los Angeles and the Region economy because it continues concentration of air commerce in one location without back up in case of problems.

        Councilwoman Miscikowski’s agreed upon approach with Mayor Hahn to implement Alternative D—deferring portions of the plan—doesn’t fix draw backs.  Project reviews are set to be piecemeal instead of integrated.  Although calling for more reviews, no assurances preclude unacceptable aspects, like Manchester Square will be imposed.  Although the Manchester Square GTC is deferred, the attendant people mover is not.

        Do it right the first time!  There are better ways to modernize LAX and make it safe and secure for far less money.

        The approval cycle for Alternative D is being rushed to judgment.  The promised Rand Corporation Overall Evaluation of Safety/Security versus Cost to be performed and assessed has been divided into stages and is not funded.

        Projects of immediate need, as Bradley International Terminal improvements, are being done under a filed negative impact declaration without further review; the argument that Master Plan approval is urgent to allow this is spurious.

        Transportation infrastructure around LAX is already over stressed.  People travel two or three hours to use LAX.  This traffic gridlock wastes large amounts of energy and creates pollution in addition to one of the largest polluters, LAX.

        It takes about 10 years to expand an airport.  If capacity remains concentrated at LAX the next time more capacity is needed there will be no alternatives but to constrain the economy.  Slack capacity in outlying airports is currently available but will disappear if action is not taken soon.  Further, population (incompatible land uses) will grow around the other airports if not addressed now. 

        Los Angeles World Airports, a Department of the City of Los Angeles, owns four airports including outlying ones.  It is only now starting to address building their capacity because the City derives taxes from the businesses surrounding LAX.

        Just Say NO!  Pass a resolution and send letters to your Council members, to support doing it right the first time instead of expending billions of dollars and then having to fix it. 

Another expansion could be disastrous —Present Concentration of 75% passenger and cargo traffic at LAX risks our economy from any disaster—We need a regional solution.

 

The Hahn-Miscikowski Plan calls for complete approval of the environmental review documents of Alternative D FIRST and then negotiating what will actually be implemented.  This Plan calls for implementing only some of Alternative D initially—the "agreed upon items" --yet they are not. 

Although the Manchester Square Ground Transportation Center Plan is not part of implementation phase one in the Miscikowski Plan, the people mover that supports it is.  The roadway systems in support of the new GTC are to be initiated.  The Central Terminal Area may become closed to auto traffic, but the alternatives to handle parking are not fully implemented.  Southern runway modifications are in the immediate implementation phase one, but several alternative methods remain an option.  Bradley Terminal changes and gate modifications to support the A380 Airbus 600+ passenger aircraft are included in phase one, but these are also being approved in a separate Notice of Preparation/Environmental Impact Negative Declaration. 

 

A comprehensive review of project elements can’t be done without taking all of the aspects into consideration at one time.   This is not being done.

 

Comprehensive, wide-ranging assessments of each element of the plan are promised as part of a series of controls to be implemented by a Los Angeles City Specific Plan.  The controls, we are told, call for effective public hearings.  Yet the even more demanding and comprehensive Master Plan Process which solicited over 3000 comments didn’t change anything!  When the initial Specific Plan was established at the joint Commissions Hearing on June 14 the public received the documents on the SAME DAY that they were invoked--not much public review, was it?

 

Congressmen Harman and Waters issued a joint statement opposing Alternative D and chastised the approach as favoring expediency over security and safety.

 

------------------

THERE IS A LESS EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE NAMED ALTERNATIVE E-1...

Basic terminal configuration left intact.  Changes to the concourses represent major investment costs for cash strapped airlines.  Airline security experts indicate that the CTA is security upgradeable and defensible.  Anti-terrorist conditions can be implemented.  Further, an optional Lot C drop off area for “commuter” passengers is to be created to reduce congestion in the CTA and can service as a redundant back up in case of a CTA incident. 

 

A380 Airbus Accommodation; double height gates added at the ends of Bradley.  International terminal and baggage handling areas to be upgraded to facilitate passenger clearance in a more timely manner.  Loose gates to be reconfigured along back of Bradley.

 

Limited changes of parking facilities.  Consolidated rental car facility created and moved to Continental City area with freeway access.  This multistory facility will house rental car activity.  As the corner of Aviation and Imperial Highways is highly congested, Aviation will be subterranean along LAX so there is no longer a bottle neck.  Lot C will remain the “moderate priced parking” and Lot B will be long term and employee parking along with the new western area employee parking.  Private parking lots will remain fully accessible and functional.

 

Green Line transportation connection will be expanded.  Adding to the existing route, the below grade route will follow the MTA owned right of way north through the Crenshaw area all the way to Union Station.  A regional transportation center will be incorporated at the north-west corner of Century and Aviation to connect all busses and taxis.  Flyaway check in activities will continue to be encouraged.

 

Northside Development to house more LAX operations related support and will be built as a sound barrier to reduce impacts on Westchester-Playa del Rey from on-airport operational noise.

 

Cargo handling facilities will remain fully functional on south side with controlled access as will those on the north and east. 

 

South runway separation of 50’ more is an accommodation to LAX/Airlines desires.  This relates to the A380 and a desire to address incursion avoidance.  Incursion avoidance has not been demonstrated.  Northside runways and concourses are left intact.

 

Numbers of gates are reduced to stay at the agreed upon 78 MAP capacity by removing out of terminal, auxiliary gates that have been incrementally been added since the 1982 Master Plan Approval.

------------------

Southern California aircraft passenger and cargo needs ARE increasing.  Currently all of our eggs are in one basket—LAX.  A natural or terrorist catastrophe can devastate the Southern California economy if LAX has a major incident. 

 

LAX is the fifth busiest airport (second in cargo).  Even since 9/11 cargo demand continues to grow and be concentrated at LAX.  Despite the high usage, LAX has one of the smallest land mass footprints of any large airport.  The corresponding sky above it is also limited.  Think about the safety risks. The population around LAX is highly concentrated. It thereby impacts more people than airports situated in outlying areas.

 

Transportation infrastructure around LAX is already over stressed.  People travel two or three hours to use LAX.  Inconveniences are increasing.  Traffic gridlock wastes large amounts of energy and creates pollution.  According to a Times article cargo destined for other regions is already being diverted around Los Angeles due to the congestion.  This is costing jobs.

 

There is a better way…a regionalized system.

 

For even more information: http://www.regionalsolution.org or phone Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC)

Val Velasco, President        (310) 827-7411

Denny Schneider, Vice President   (310) 641-4199

 
 Letter to Mayor Hahn from Congresswomen Jane Harman and Maxine Waters
July 14,2004
 
The Honorable James K Hahn
Office of the Mayor
Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
 
Dear Jim:
  We are writing to express our disappointment and grave concern with the July 6 action of your Airport Commission, which seems to give short shrift to essential security issues at Los Angeles International Airport.
  In May, you announced that you were directing the RAND Corporation to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of safety and security at LAX. The contract approved by the commission this week simply does not do that.
  The objective of a cost-benefit analysis is to study all the security risks at LAX and determine which modernization proposals will do the most to protect against the widest array of potential terrorist threats. The scope of work approved by the commission is far too narrow and confining to meet that promise.
  Absent such a full-scale study, any City Council deliberations on a Master Plan and EIR/EIS will be made in a vacuum. The phased approach endorsed by the commission leaves far too many questions to be answered at a later date, long after an EIR/EIS has been approved and sent to the FAA. Surely, the security of airport customers, employees and passengers is threatened by such a rush to judgment.
  There is a better way: RAND should be asked to conduct the promised comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, and the legal issues to support breaking the EIR/EIS into parts should be carefully considered. Once that information is available, the City of Los Angeles can approve the sensible, consensus elements of the Master Plan EIR/EIS, and explicitly reject those remaining elements not supported by security concerns and community desire.
  Such an approach, backed by sound legal opinion, will make security - not speedy approval - the imperative of future deliberations. Given the significant terrorist threat to LAX, we can in good conscience do nothing less than that.
 
Regards,
 
Jane Harman
Member of Congress

Maxine Waters
Member of Congress

A message from Mike Gordon, former City of El Segundo Mayor and now a candidate for California State Assembly, 53rd District.

 

 

Subject: We still need your help to fight LAX Expansion!!

  

  Thank you for signing our petition to fight LAX Expansion.  You have joined thousands of neighbors in saying “no” to the City of Los Angeles’ plans to expand this airport. To date, we have collected more than 10,000 signatures and we’re well on our way to collecting thousands more. 

  And our efforts are paying off!  Just last week, Mayor Jim Hahn conceded there was little support for his plan and instead agreed to support a compromise plan proposed by Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski.  This is a victory for all of us and we should be very proud.

  But the fight is not yet over.  The compromise plan makes many promises, some of which will be very difficult to keep. In particular,

 

1.                  The compromise does not guarantee that the controversial parts of the Mayor’s plan – those raised in the text of our petition – will not be implemented. In fact the Mayor’s plan could still go forward by a majority vote of the L.A. City Council in the future. 

2.                  The compromise fails to guarantee that airport capacity will be limited to 78.9 million annual passengers.

3.                  The compromise fails to stop the proposed Ground Transportation Center (GTC) in Westchester.

4.                  The compromise fails to protect airport neighbors – the Southern runway is likely to be moved closer to neighborhoods, presenting safety, pollution and noise concerns for the communities in the surrounding areas.

 

  In short, the compromise is a huge leap of faith for us, and does not guarantee that our concerns are being addressed.

  We know that our petition has already made a difference, so we can’t let up in our efforts.

   Here’s what you can do to help.  Please forward this e-mail to your friends, neighbors and colleagues, and ask them to join you in signing the petition.  By visiting www.StopLAXExpansion.com, you can sign the petition on-line or download a PDF version of it which you can mail back to me at Mike Gordon, 214 Main Street, #365, El Segundo, CA  90245

  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (310) 322-2234 or via e-mail at MikeGordon@friendsofmikegordon.com.

 

Together we can make a difference!

 

Regards,

 

Mike

 Mike Gordon

 

Officials Question Timing of LAX Security Study

LOS ANGELES TIMES July 16, 2004 by Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer  

 

Two federal lawmakers are questioning whether the City Council will have all the information it needs on security issues at Los Angeles International Airport when council members vote this fall on Mayor James K. Hahn's modernization plan.

Reps. Jane Harman (D-Venice) and Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), who represent airport-area residents, are concerned that the council will have only one part of a two-phase Rand Corp. analysis by September.

 

In a letter to the mayor, the congresswomen wrote this week that the scope of the first report was too narrow and would not help the council adopt an LAX plan that protected against the "widest array of potential terrorist threats."

When Hahn called for the Rand review in May, he said it would "assess the security components" of his $9-billion modernization plan in time for the City Council vote.

Council members said they hoped to use it to decide if the mayor's plan adequately addressed security needs at LAX.

But the city's Airport Commission adopted a two-step approach last week, giving Rand a $291,000 contract to analyze security at the existing facility.

The think tank will not study the security implications of the specific projects in Hahn's plan until next year.

"Absent such a full-scale study, any City Council deliberations on a master plan and [environmental documents] will be made in a vacuum," Harman wrote.

"The phased approach endorsed by the commission leaves far too many questions to be answered at a later date, long after [the environmental report] has been approved and sent to the FAA."

Harman commissioned an initial Rand study, which was released May 14, 2003. It found that concentrating travelers at a remote facility near the San Diego Freeway could lead to more casualties if an attack occurred.

The remote check-in center was considered a centerpiece of Hahn's plan.

In the first study, Rand will identify security weaknesses at the existing facility, including scenarios for how terrorists might attack LAX, which targets would probably appeal to them and the estimated damage should they attack those sites.

The think tank will also conduct a cost-benefit analysis on improving security at LAX.

Hahn and Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who drafted an implementation plan that postpones the most controversial elements of the mayor's proposal, disputed Harman's assertions, saying the first Rand study would answer the significant questions.

"The mayor is confident that the study conducted by Rand will provide ample information to the council prior to their vote," said Elizabeth Kaltman, a Hahn spokeswoman.

In addition, Miscikowski's implementation plan requires the city's airport agency to conduct a security analysis of each project in Hahn's plan before the projects are allowed to move forward, said David Kissinger, the councilwoman's airport relations deputy.

Harman also forwarded to the mayor a legal opinion she solicited from Santa Monica-based law firm Chatten-Brown & Associates, finding that Miscikowski's compromise plan could subject the city to litigation because it postponed projects that were essential to mitigate noise, air pollution and other effects.

For example, if Los Angeles were to defer building a remote check-in facility, as Miscikowski proposes, the city could be subject to a lawsuit that would require officials to build the center because it was considered a mitigation measure, wrote environmental attorney Jan Chatten-Brown.

But Miscikowski disagreed, saying her plan didn't remove elements from Hahn's proposal precisely because doing so would require the city to redo its environmental analysis.

Chatten-Brown's opinion "really purports to say exactly what I've been saying all along, and that is that you can't take out parts of the master plan and keep the environmental documents whole," the councilwoman said.

From: COUNCILWOMAN CINDY MISCIKOWSKI'S

JUNE-JULY 2004 ENEWS

 

AIRPORT UPDATE- On June 14, a joint hearing of the Board of Airport Commissioners and the City Planning Commission certified the LAX Master Plan which included my Consensus Plan for LAX. Now it goes to the Los Angeles County government for review and then Los Angeles City Council. It is important to remember that the Consensus Plan for LAX is still a work in progress and I am continuing to consult a wide variety of stakeholders for their input on how best to put forward a plan that gets something done at LAX and that meets the needs of the residential and business communities impacted by the airport. City Council will likely vote to certify the plan in the Fall, after which it will go to the federal government for approval.

 

I am grateful to have received feedback from so many people and groups on this plan, and I'd like to take a moment to clarify a key question that I have heard a few times. The Consensus Plan consists largely of a "specific plan", which is an urban planning tool that is actually a law. Under the specific plan, the airport cannot build the more controversial parts of the plan, such as the Manchester Square terminal which I oppose, without extensive public review, new environmental studies and mandated feedback from a stakeholder group consisting of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, including local residents, local businesses, government, the aviation industry and others.

 

This means that even though I will be leaving office in a year, the law will remain in place and enjoy all the strengths and powers of any law. The specific plan's legal standing will force future councils and administrations to consult the communities before proceeding with capital development at LAX.

 

I feel that this plan is the strongest legal tool possible that will protect communities around the airport from additional capacity and geographical expansion. For more details on the Consensus Plan for LAX, please contact David Kissinger of my staff at (310)568-8772.

 

Response to Cindy Miscikowski's Newsletter:

 

Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, ARSAC, is the organization whose no expansion pledge was signed by Mayor Hahn.  LAX expansion is controversial since the Mayor is failing to meet his signed campaign pledge to limit LAX and to foster a regional solution to airport capacity needs. 

 

ARSAC agrees that the present LAX Master Plan expansion is a critical issue of importance to the entire City and region because it is the largest public works project ever undertaken.  The economic impacts of the Mayor’s Plan on the entire region can be devastating. 

 

Implementation documents approved by the joint Commissions appointed by the Mayor this month were released to the public the same day that they were approved.  Despite strongly antagonistic positions to the Mayor’s plan by numerous surrounding Cities and other governmental entities, community groups, and all but one bankrupt airline and it’s affiliates, LAX Expansion plans are being ushered through the approval cycle with the objective of finalization this fall before the next Mayoral race and before a full cost-benefits evaluation by RAND Corporation. 

 

ARSAC opposition to the plan fostered by Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski focuses on a call for first approving all of Alternative D including all of the most onerous parts.  Councilwoman Miscikowski tells us that the LAX specific plan is a LA City law.  Any city law can still be changed by a simple majority of the City Council.  We continue to await an explanation how a specific plan will be more protective than the entire master plan process during which over 3000 sets of comments resulted in no changes to Alternative D. 

 

We and others continue to wonder aloud if the approval of the entire Alternative D would be negated if any of the many onerous aspects of Alternative D such as the building of Manchester Square or the demolition of perfectly good terminals on the north side to add new taxiways are eliminated in the future.  We expect that those who might benefit from Alternative D construction will sue to force completion of Alternative D once it has been approved. 

 

The Miscikowski Plan is really "the insiders’ compromise plan" rather than "consensus plan" because there is no consensus for the items being approved.  The Miscikowski Plan provides a false expectation to the public that only the "green lighted" projects will be built.  Nothing in the documentation we have seen to date actually says that.  Further, the Miscikowski Plan provides an easy way for other Councilmembers to say that they oppose Alternative D and yet vote in favor of it.

 

We are circulating a petition noting that Alternative D or its derivitive is a bad plan.  We urge you to help us collect signatures and to contact your Councilmembers and tell them that we want a plan that is done right the first time--not a plan that spends several billion dollars and hopes that the rest will be done correctly.  The web address for a copy of the petition or for our speaker’s bureau to answer any of your questions is http://www.regionalsolution.org .  

 

Sincerely Yours,

 

Dennis J Schneider, Vice President - ARSAC

 
To the LA Neighborhood Councils, from Mayor Hahn and Councilwoman Miscikowski:
 

June 23, 2004

 

Dear Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils:

 On June 14, 2004, the Les Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners and the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to advance the Consensus Plan as part of the LAX Master Plan process. As the extensive media coverage indicates: the emerging consensus o n implementation of the LAX Master Plan has moved us an important step closer to City Council review and action by year-end.

 It is important for the neighborhoods of Los Angeles to understand this important public works program and how it relates to our overall commitment to a regional approach to airports. We asked the staff of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to offer all Neighborhood Councils informational briefings ever the next several months.

 If you would like your Neighborhood Council to receive a tailored presentation (anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes) at a future meeting, please contact Barbara Yamamoto at (310) 417-0445 or at byamamoto@lawa.org .  Please provide your first and second choice for a meeting time and date. Prior to the briefing, LAWA will follow-up with you to determine areas of interest so the briefing can address the issues that matter most to your neighborhood.

 The Neighborhood Council system was created to empower stake holders to represent the voice of their community. That is why we are, committed to ensure you are, kept informed on important projects and programs underway in our City.

 Thank you for your attention and interest. We hope you will take this opportunity to schedule an LAX Master Plan briefing at one of your future Neighborhood Council meetings.

 

Very truly yours, [original signed]

      JAMES K. HAHN,

      MAYOR

 

      CINDY MISCIKOWSKI,

      COUNCILMEMBER, COUNCIL DISTRICT 11

 

A response to Mayor Hahn's and Councilwoman Miscikowski's letter to the LA Neighborhood Councils
 

Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion 

322 Culver Boulevard, Ste. 231 Playa del Rey, CA 90293

(310) 827-7411 info@regionalsolution.org

 

June 28, 2004

 

Department of Neighborhood Empowerment

Greg Nelson, Department Manager

 Ref:  Your e-mail Friday, June 25, 2004 4:49 PM Subject: DONE: LAX Master Plan

 

 ARSAC agrees that the present LAX Master Plan expansion is a critical issue of importance to the entire City because it is the largest public works project ever undertaken.  The economic impacts of the Mayor's Plan on the entire region can be devastating.  This issue is controversial since the Mayor is failing to meet his signed campaign pledge to limit LAX and to foster a regional solution to airport capacity needs.

 Despite strongly antagonistic positions to the Mayor's plan by numerous surrounding Cities and other governmental entities, community groups, and all but one bankrupt airline and it's affiliates, LAX Expansion plans are being ushered through the approval cycle with the objective of finalization this fall before the next Mayoral race and before a full evaluation by RAND Corporation.  Implementation documents approved by his joint Commission hearing this month were released to the public the same day as their approval.

 This past year DONE advanced a training session to address the LAX issue at its citywide conference in the Convention Center.  All sides of the issue were discussed.  Your most recent e-mail fails in that fairness test.  Your e-mail calls for NCs to directly contact LAWA for a presentation.  LAWA presentations are very polished to support their recommendations, but offer no alternative information.  We have found that it is not only what is presented that is of concern, but what has been neglected.  Several NCs have already passed resolutions opposing the Mayor's plan and the attempt to keep it alive by deferring decisions on parts of it.

 Since DONE's primary purpose is to foster grass roots participation in government, we call upon you to distribute this letter, the attached petition noting why this is a bad plan, and an e-mail address for our speakers bureau info@regionalsolution.org.

 In case we would like to provide more information on request of a neighborhood council leader, we request a copy of the e-mail list you have used for your distribution of the Mayor's letter. 

 

 Sincerely Yours,

 Dennis J Schneider, Vice President

 

P.S. 

Under the California Public Records Act, you have ten days to determine whether to comply with the request, as follows: 

California Government Code 6256. Any person may receive a copy of any identifiable public record or copy thereof. Upon request, an exact copy shall be provided unless impracticable to do so. Computer data shall be provided in a form determined by the agency.  Each agency, upon any request for a copy of records shall determine within 10 days after the receipt of such request whether to comply with the request and shall immediately notify the person making the request of such determination and the reasons therefore.

 
 
 

 

The following is from:

BERNARD C. PARKS

COUNCILMEMBER 8TH DISTRICT

 

DEAR SUPPORTER,

 

I HAVE RECENTLY TAKEN AN ALTERNATIVE POSITION ON THE AIRPORT MASTER PLAN. THIS PLAN WAS RECENTLY SUBMITTED TO THE JOINT MEETING OF THE BOARD OF AIRPORT AND THE CITY'S PLANNING COMMISSIONS.. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE 8TH DISTRICT'S EFFORTS..THE REFERRED ATTACHMENT "TASK FORCE" REPORT CAN BE LOCATED ON THE 8TH DISTRICT WEB-SITE..

BERNARD C. PARKS

COUNCILMEMBER 8TH DISTRICT

LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL

200 N. SPRING ST. #460

LOS ANGELES  CA. 90012

213-473-7008

213-485-7683 (FAX)

WWW.LACITY.ORG/COUNCIL/CD8

 

The Council member is opposed to the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) and the Final Master Plan (Alternative D) which were submitted for approval and adoption to the Board of Airport and Planning Commissions.

For more go to:

http://www.lacity.org/council/cd8/Community_Reaction_Report.pdf

 

Dennis J Schneider, Vice President - ARSAC

on Councilman Park's plan:

 

Councilmember Parks believes that it is a more honest approach to the LAX Master Plan questions to actually make a decision--now--about to what will be done with LAX.   Further, his plan is consistent with the compromise, smaller changes, proposed by many community organizations and the airlines who agree that LAX needs to be updated but without creating the largest public works project ever.

 

I would like to add that when Councilman Parks gave testimony at the Joint Commission Hearings on LAX Expansion, he said that the environmental reports were outdated and not properly done. He said that the noise and air pollution on LAX neighboring communities needs to be better mitigated. (Martin Rubin)

 
__________________

LAX Expansion

A letter from

CONGRESSWOMAN JANE HARMAN

36TH District, California

 

 Dear Neighbor:

 

 

  Last week, Mayor Hahn and Los Angeles World Airports released its final draft EIR/EIS for the LAX Master Plan.   I am gravely disappointed with the final product and consider it a failure for everyone who uses, lives near, or appreciates the economic significance of Los Angeles International Airport.

  I was saddened to see that after receiving more than 3,000 comments from public officials and concerned residents, the mayor and airport officials made no substantive changes to their plan. They turned a deaf ear to you, to me, and to countless others who want to see LAX fixed right and fixed now.

  I remain deeply concerned that Alt D does not adequately address security concerns.  Any proposal billed as "the Enhanced Safety and Security Alternative" must insure that every dollar spent on security is being used to its maximum benefit.  Mayor Hahn and LAWA officials have repeatedly refused to hire a reputable firm to perform a cost-benefit analysis examining security improvements at LAX, including the need for and location of an off-site passenger facility.

  Surely area residents would benefit from an analysis that could demonstrate Alt D's security safeguards could be achieved with less effort and money - or that additional protections could be won for the same amount of money with a modified design.  Supervisor Knabe and I are urging the City Council to commission such a study to better inform its deliberations in the coming months.

  I also see no reason to believe the Mayor's contention that Alt D constrains growth at LAX to 78 MAP.  The plan contains absolutely no verifiable means of limiting growth at LAX.  Absent such constraints, commitments to a regional aviation system are non-existent.  And we all know that any long-term solution requires an aggressive and immediate build-out of a regional system of airports to reduce the burden on LAX and surrounding communities.

  It is still entirely possible to salvage this EIR/EIS and proceed expeditiously with modernizing and securing LAX.   I have called on the council to modify and approve an EIR/EIS that includes a first phase of immediate safety, security, and traffic improvements; and a second phase with enforceable constraints on facilities that limit growth to 78 MAP and promote a regional build-out.

  I am also deeply concerned by our Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski's airport proposal.  While I share her goals and laud her commitment, I cannot support her process.  The first step of her proposal requires adoption of an unmodified version of the mayor's EIR/EIS - which I simply cannot support. And while Councilwoman Miscikowski hopes to defer or halt the more onerous aspects of Alt D through technical changes in city planning documents, those documents are too easily amended to provide the ironclad commitments we need for security and capacity constraints.

  The sensible solution is for the Los Angeles City Council to amend the Mayor's EIR/EIS to reflect the changes you and I have been demanding for the past year. Supervisor Don Knabe, former El Segundo Mayor Mike Gordon and Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss have joined me in this call. I invite you to do so as well.

I look forward to continuing to work with you on a sensible solution to the problems of modernization, security, and capacity constraints at LAX.

 

 Regards,

 

 JANE HARMAN

 Member of Congress

___________________

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