battered credibility and trustworthiness. It's not as though they had
any to spare.
The reckless and bizarre accusations some gadflies and demagogues
level with regard to airport issues have often created unfounded
fears, needlessly muddling issues that are already phenomenally
complex. But each time airport officials pull a stunt like the
latest, it's doubly difficult for objective, rational and
well-informed members of the community to rebut even the looniest
Consider an example. When a self-appointed guardian of the
community soberly speculates that plans for a new terminal building
reveal a calculated, covert airport plan to one day boost the number
of gates it has by surreptitiously knocking out two walls, anyone
trying to refute such hysterical claptrap is implicitly in a position
of defending a body that actually did decide its high purpose
warranted ignoring basic building codes and regulations.
There have been countless situations like that pair. None of the
real-life situations have been quite as farfetched as the harebrained
plots some have claimed are underway, but they've come too close.
The Airport Authority has made life hard for anyone who wants to
advocate calm, rational discussion without hyperbole. An airport
official recently remarked that the public relations expert the
airport once hired to polish its image in the community largely
failed. But the same consultant has had much greater success
improving the image of Cardinal Roger Mahoney and the Catholic
Church's handling of child molesters.
There is no question that hyperbole over airport issues has been a
two-way street. An argument can be made that officials and activists
from the city of Burbank have been significantly more insulting
toward the airport, the rhetoric at times far exceeding the truth of
what has gone on. I've been guilty of that myself.
But the old saying about "sticks and stones" does come to mind.
For every intemperate, inaccurate and inflammatory accusation
Burbankers have leveled at the airport, it seems airport officials