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Clock ticking for FAA, city officials say

February 09, 2000

Paul Clinton

CIVIC CENTER -- Burbank has put the Federal Aviation Administration on

the clock.

Frustrated by FAA criticism of the proposed terminal deal, city

officials called off negotiations on the formal agreement Friday. The

federal agency has until the end of the month to clarify its position on

the project and offer guidance on how the parties can move ahead. The

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alternative? No deal, according to Burbank officials.

"The real purpose here is to get a clear and unequivocal answer from

the agency," Burbank's airport attorney Peter Kirsch said. "The point is

having the agency tell us that they'll help us implement the framework."

In a Feb. 3 letter to Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority

President Carl Meseck, Mayor Stacey Murphy announced the city was halting

work on a development agreement for a new terminal proposed in the Aug. 4

Framework for Settlement. That agreement -- negotiated by Murphy,

Councilman Dave Golonski and other city officials with members of the

authority -- calls for a 14-gate, 330,000-square-foot terminal suitable

for expansion if certain conditions are met.

City and airport officials have continued to hash out details of the

formal agreement with the airport and FAA staff, Kirsch said. But FAA

chief Jane Garvey blasted the framework, in a Nov. 22 letter published

Jan. 2 in the Los Angeles Times. In her letter, Garvey said elements of

the framework, which includes a proposal to close the terminal at night,

violate federal law.

On Tuesday, Murphy said Burbank's demand for further FAA guidance by

the end of February was reasonable, since the agency has been kept

abreast of the negotiations. Officials have even provided the agency with

drafts of the development agreement, officials said.

"This is no surprise to them and it certainly gives them enough time,"

Murphy said. "I cannot spend any more taxpayer money on something that we

don't know will go forward. That seems like a waste."

Former City Councilman Ted McConkey, who launched a

signature-gathering campaign for an initiative that would impose more

stringent conditions on any new terminal agreement, said Friday's

announcement was an attempt to muscle the FAA.

"Jane Garvey trumps a city council," McConkey said. "This woman has

the power."

City officials have been angered at what they say are contradictory

remarks from Garvey. Garvey visited Burbank in August 1998 and instructed

the city and airport to find a "local solution" to the terminal expansion

stalemate.

The framework is that solution, Murphy said.

"We did come up with a solution," Murphy said. "Now we need clear

guidance."

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