Advertisement

Ron Kaye: A community of scale

January 28, 2012

Discussing American Airlines pulling out of Bob Hope Airport, Executive Director Dan Feger told airport commissioners how, in a recent team-building exercise, senior staff had reviewed the book, “Who Moved My Cheese” — a story about two mice and two mouse-sized people caught in a maze together.

“It’s a very cute little book,” Feger said. “It talks about change and sometimes people don’t want to change, but if you make the change, the change actually yields a much better result. If you keep doing the same thing, stay on the same path and hope the world will change around you, it probably won’t happen.”

American’s departure could mean a loss of up to 7.5% of the airport’s passenger traffic and millions of dollars in revenue, forcing yet another re-design, yet another scaling back of costs, for the planned $100-million-plus intermodal transportation center and parking structure.

Advertisement

“The world has changed,” Feger said.

The Bob Hope Airport world has changed a lot over the last 20 years, but it took a bruising and costly political and legal war to bring it about — a war sparked by a grassroots movement that is a model for how ordinary citizens can stymie rich and powerful interests and change the political culture of their communities by fighting for what they believe in.

What had been a push for a massive expansion with a new 27-gate terminal — even talk of making it an international airport — has given way to a voluntary curfew by the airlines, the sound-proofing of nearby homes, an agreement with the city to put off the terminal issue until 2015, and the completion of a study that officials said justified a permanent curfew.

Expansion has given way to fixing traffic flow and parking problems around the airport, and to plans to connect Metrolink and the Orange Line Busway to the airport. The airport has tried to mend its relationship with City Hall and with the community through outreach. A survey of residents is now under way to help guide future decisions.

“What you’ve seen over time is that it finally dawned on the airport that it really is the Burbank community that will make those decisions, the community who is in control of whether or not they will get a new terminal,” said long-time Burbank City Councilman Dave Golonski, who played a key role over the last 18 years in helping to bring about the changes.

Burbank Leader Articles Burbank Leader Articles
|
|
|