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Is That All There Is?

  • Webb's Airport Item (August 13) Is Request For Council Resolution To Encourage Fed, State & County Lawmakers To "Explore Solutions" Using Outlying Airports
  • Meanwhile, Report Requested By Council In May On Airport's Environmental & Other Effects Is Again Not Agendized We include link to p.m. update from Councilman Webb

    (August 9, 2002) -- After telling the public and Council colleagues on August 6th that he would agendize an item "that will be a series of local communities joining forces not only in opposition but with a solution" on potentially serious challenges to LB's noise budgeted airport flight limits, 8th district Councilman Rob Webb has joined 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll and newly elected 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes-Uranga in requesting a Council resolution to encourage federal, state and County lawmakers to "explore solutions" to this regional [aviation] problem which will include the feasibility of utilizing outlying airports in less residentially developed areas."

    We provide the two paragraph text of the agendizing memorandum, below. For update from Councilman Webb, click here.

    Meanwhile, a report requested by voted action of the City Council on May 14 to request a "report from the City Manager and City Attorney "analyzing the environmental effects of 41 [large commercial] flights and possible economic impact upon adjoining property values" has again not been agendized.

    In requesting the report in May (jointly agendized by Councilmembers Webb, Carroll, Kell and now Vice Mayor Colonna), Councilman Carroll said in pertinent part, "I would like to hear from the City Manager and Mr. Shannon, and I would hope within 30 to 45 days, their opinions with respect to that issue [doing a full EIR], and perhaps include some of these items that we have discussed that may not be directly involved in an Environmental Impact Report, that is the economic dimensions of this problem, and perhaps some of the health issues that could be studied, bring in studies from other cities."

    Roughly 90 days later (the August 13 Council meeting will mark roughly a three month anniversary), City Hall has yet to deliver the Council requested report. The report's stated subject matter echoed concerns voiced by residents at City Hall convened Airport meetings in the 4th and 8th districts on May 2 and 8.

    The Webb/Carroll/Reyes-Uranga agendizing memorandum for the August 13 City Council meeting states:

    "Airport noise and flight issues are of local, regional, statewide and national concern. Due to recent national events and the apparent loss of El Toro as a possible new airport site, local municipal airports such as Long Beach are facing increased pressure from the Airlines and the FAA to accommodate additional flight activity. Outlying airports such as Palmdale, Ontario and Burbank have expressed strong interest in accommodating both regional, national and international flight activity at their under-utilized facilities. Given the regional nature of the problems associated with increased flight activity in the Southern California area, solutions must be explored that will minimize the adverse impact to cities that are being requested to bear the brunt of the increased activity.

    We are asking that the City Attorney draft a Resolution for Council's consideration that would encourage state, federal and county legislators and administrators to explore solutions to this regional problem which will include the feasibility of utilizing outlying airports in less residentially developed areas. Decentralizing the burden of increased flight activity will reduce the impact to Long Beach, which will be adversely affected by increased flight activity and its attendant environmental impacts."


    LB is facing potentially serious challenges to its airport flight limits as a result of a May, 2001 Council vote -- in which Councilman Webb ultimately joined, after initially voting with Councilman Carroll to seek a delay -- that amended LB Airport's flight allocation rules to let carriers reserve and hold flight slots longer before flying them. Within days of the Council vote, JetBlue airways took all 27 then-vacant large flight slots, filling the maximum 41.

    The Council's May, 2001 8-1 vote effectively hastened the day when some airline would request flight 42 and beyond (which American Airlines did in early 2002), which has now sent LB City Hall and America's biggest airline (and possibly others) on a possible collision course.

    LB was never under any legal obligation to fill vacant flight slots at the airport, just make them available.

    Until 1995, City Hall's policy was to treat 40+ flights as a worst case, judicially imposed burden. However, shortly after the election of Beverly O'Neill as Mayor in 1994, City Hall announced it planned to settle ongoing airport litigation, did so by adopting LB's current noise budgeted flight limits...and then reversed years of LB policy (without Council objection) by working to fill the vacant flight slots.

    In the May, 2001 vote, Councilwoman Jackie Kell made the motion to amend the flight slot procedures, acknowledging this could promote filling many of the now-unused 41 flight slots but arguing that letting airlines phase in operations over 24 months would give neighborhoods time to adjust and could attract airlines using newer, quieter aircraft. She stressed the need to adhere to the 41 flight limit.

    Council Carroll made a substitute motion, seeking a two week delay to permit presentation of the new flight allocation rules to the community for discussion. The motion failed 6-3 (Yes: Carroll, Webb, Grabinski; No, Lowenthal, Baker, Colonna, Kell, Richardson-Batts, Shultz).

    The motion to adopt the amended flight slot allocation rules then passed 8-1...with Webb among those voting yes. (Yes: Lowenthal, Baker, Colonna, Kell, Richardson-Batts, Grabinski, Webb, Shultz. No: Carroll).

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