(May 11, 2005) -- LB Mayoral candidate Randal Hernandez (former Chief of Staff to Mayor O'Neill, former senior staffer with Gov. Schwarzenegger) attended a May 7 public meeting called by city officialdom to seek public input on the scope of an Environmental Impact Report on City Council-approved evaluation of expansion to LB Airport's permanent terminal area facilities.
Mr. Hernandez wasn't among those attending an April 27 press event by the "Long Beach Alliance" (attended by Mayoral candidate, former Vice Mayor/Councilman Doug Drummond) at which the Alliance introduced itself publicly and expressed dissatisfaction with expanded Airport facility sizes approved for EIR consideration by the City Council, favoring inclusion of larger facilities for Council consideration.
We were interested in knowing what Mr. Hernandez thinks of the "Long Beach Alliance." So we asked him.
Mr. Hernandez: I've been dealing with this issue for over twenty years, when I was working with [former 8th district Councilman] Jeff Kellogg. I was there when the noise ordinance was put into place, so I feel pretty confident that it's a pretty solid ordinance.
But with that said, we also need to be realistic that this Airport is part of a national transportation system and it's not going to go away. So within that context, I think we need to do the best we can to find some kind of compromise so that we can make improvments out at the Airport.
And I think it was clear today that the EIR process in and of itself won't impact that noise ordinance. So we need to keep aware of that but improvements need to be made at the airport. But we need to make sure we maintain the integrity of that noise ordinance at all costs. And I think that'll happen and that it's going to be there.
I'm hopeful that a referendum won't be necessary and that all sides will put the rhetoric aside and come to at least a handshake agreement on this proposal.
LBReport.com: Which proposal?
Mr. Hernandez: Um, the Plan B proposal.
LBReport.com: You mean the 102,000...
Mr. Hernandez: [nods in agreement] the 100-thousand-square-foot that seems to be agreeable to everyone. But that assumes that there's no major environmental issues. And I think we're all pretty confident that any environmental issue ought to be mitigated. But, I think there's such a distrust going on on both sides right now. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and we'll come together as a community and come to consensus on this issue.
As I simply said, the Airport's not going to go away and the Airport needs to be improved.
LBReport.com: It's not accurate to say you're part of the "Alliance" at this point? .
Mr. Hernandez: I'm not part of the Alliance.