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Airport approves security addition

August 21, 2002

Laura Sturza

Airport Authority commissioners approved immediate expansion of

the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport for security needs, though city

building permits have not been issued.

Construction preparation is expected to start this week, following

Monday's vote to award the $10.5-million construction phase to

Glendale's George Hopkins Construction Co. Other aspects of the

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$25-million project include design and consulting fees, equipment and

surveillance systems.

The six Pasadena and Glendale commissioners approved the project

while Burbank commissioners Charlie Lombardo and Bill Wiggins opposed

it. Burbank Commissioner Don Brown abstained.

"I need to have permits first," Lombardo said.

Lobbying for delay, Wiggins said "we're a week and a half away

from having Measure A be overturned," referring to Friday's scheduled

hearing to decide the legality of a voter-approved measure limiting

airport noise and expansion.

City officials have withheld permits until the court rules on

Measure A.

The Transportation Security Administration has outlined its

recommendations for additions of 25,000 square feet for security

equipment, baggage and passenger screening areas. The airport's

proposal for another 15,000 square feet includes 8,000 square feet to

widen the Terminal A hallway for emergency evacuation. The other

space is for Burbank Airport Police Officers, bomb-sniffing dogs and

additional passenger screening in the boarding area.

Though Airport Authority commissioners wrestled with their

decision -- citing the need to obey federal and local laws -- the

decision was approved, particularly since a Measure A decision is not

guaranteed Friday, Airport Authority President Chris Holden said.

"There is a tremendous responsibility to not wait on the

assumption that something preferable might happen," Holden said.

A federal deadline of Dec. 31 has been set for all airports to

improve security.

But Burbank City Manager Bud Ovrom asked later that day, "Why does

anyone need to force a legal crisis when this is so close to being

resolved?"

The Burbank City Council was scheduled to hear three items about

airport security and permits at Tuesday's council meeting.

"I have never heard of any governmental agency or any responsible

contractor doing work without a permit," Ovrom said.

With Friday's Measure A hearing and a mid-September final

development review of the airport's plans scheduled, Ovrom questioned

the airport's sense of urgency, especially since "a lot of airports

in the nation are not going to meet these deadlines and Congress is

considering extending the deadlines."

"Is the airport and is the contractor going to proceed illegally

when it only takes one to three weeks to clear these matters up?" he

asked.

Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird said Monday that no prior,

formal talks between that city and airport commissioners about it had

occurred.

"Until the action [Monday], I don't think from our perspective

that it was an issue," Starbird said.

The Glendale City Council is likely to review the decision in two

weeks, Starbird said.

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