Community Commentary

July 22, 2000

Don Elsmore

I would like to see a modern terminal building and comfortable

boardings for passengers at Burbank Airport, but right now the price is

too high.

It doesn't matter whether the proposals come from the

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, the city of Burbank or the

city of Los Angeles. Every agreement starts off with building a new


terminal first, then spending an indefinite period of time seeking

regulations aimed at sweetening the deal. In the real world, the

regulations probably are impossible to achieve.

The Restore Our Airport Rights initiative had flaws, but one element I

would never quibble over is the one requiring a curfew from 10 p.m. to 7

a.m. to be established before construction of the terminal. If the curfew

is not in place, there would be no construction. Current proposals

including the provision to establish the curfew, but it is always stated

to be a future event.

All of the deals so far have had bogus goals. Even if the airport

endorses the application for a curfew, it will leave no stone unturned to

see that it places no restrictions on its operations.

The Airport will always say the curfew is too costly because it

prohibits nighttime transportation of bank transactions. It doesn't occur

to them that substituting daytime flights could be done at no additional


Limiting the number of gates to 14 is not a restriction. The Airport

has never maxed-out using what they have now. The inconvenience of tight

gate approaches would be eliminated with wider spacing and additional


The city of Burbank talks about having a noise budget in the second

phase (if we ever get there). During mediation three years ago the

authority totally rejected the city's proposal. They said it is

particularly vulnerable to attack on grounds of discrimination and

interference with interstate commerce.

The Burbank City Council says it plans to let the voters have the last

word on approving any agreement. The airport response is to propose

building 14 gates without having a Public Utilities Code hearing. It

would only be required if they want more than 14 gates.

What utter nonsense. Both the city and the Airport know Judge Carl

West would not allow the airport to buy the coveted adjoining property

until Burbank conducted a PUC hearing. By what stretch of the imagination

do they think the latest agreements can sidestep the process?

Expansion opponents are blamed for finding all manner of objections.

That isn't necessary. All they have to do is read these ridiculous

proposals any responsible person would reject.

As repugnant as it may be, perhaps we should accept our blessings and

just walk away. Can maintaining the status quo be that bad?


DON ELSMORE is a 35-year Burbank resident. Reach him at 845-7569.

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