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    First On

    Follow-Up On What Was Discussed, And By Whom, At LB Airport Meeting Involving Mayor & House Aviation Subcommittee Chair

    (January 12, 2004) -- has obtained additional information following-up on the Jan. 10 Town Hall announcement by Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., LB-Carson) -- reported first by -- that the Congresswoman and LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill met on Jan. 9 at LB Airport with the chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee John Mica (R, Florida).

    Who else was present? What was discussed? How did the meeting come about?

    We began by phoning Congressman Mica's Capitol Hill office early Monday Jan. 12...and by late afternoon had responses from Cong. Mica's DC Chief of Staff Ruseell Roberts and City Hall's Manager of Public/Government Affairs, Carl Kemp.

    Mr. Kemp, who indicated he'd circulated in and out for parts of the meeting, said those attending were Congressman Mica, Congresswoman Millender-McDonald, two of the Congresswoman's staffers, Mayor O'Neill, LB Public Works Dir. Christine Andersen and LB Airport Manager Chris Kunze.

    Mr. Roberts and Mr. Kemp separately told that the Congressman's visit to LB had been initiated by Cong. Mica. Congressman Mica's office said that during his trip to California, he visited other area airports...and regularly visits airports to observe their security measures firsthand.

    Mr. Kemp said Congressman Mica's office contacted LB Airport directly not long before his visit...and specifically asked to meet with Mayor O'Neill. Short notice prevented having others (such as Councilmembers who would normally attend) present at the meeting. (Councilwoman Kell's office separately confirmed to that she didn't know about the meeting in advance and wasn't present.)

    Mr. Kemp said Congressman Mica was at LB Airport for about two hours, spending about an hour meeting with the LB officials above and about an hour touring the Airport.

    During their meeting, the LB officials briefed Cong. Mica on LB Airport's history and recent growth. Mr. Kemp said the main foci of LB officials' discussion were the runway 30/12 resurfacing project and TSA security screening which is now performed by hand...but which could be done more rapidly by machine (by an EDS or explosive detection system.)

    Mr. Kemp said Congressman Mica initiated discussion of LB's terminal facilities by commenting (paraphrase) that the terminal looked old. Mr. Kemp said city officials discussed Airport enhancements within the context of accommodating passengers, not increasing them or expanding the Airport.

    Mr. Kemp said Mayor O'Neill invited Congressman Mica (who with Congresswoman Millender-McDonald serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) to visit Long Beach again for a comprehensive look at the area's Port, freeway and railway transportation.

    Mr. Kemp reiterated that discussion of Airport facilities dealt with passenger accommodation, not Airport expansion.

    Mr. Kemp indicated that Cong. Mica visited Boeing's LB facility earlier in the day and not with the LB City Hall group above.

    [Jan. 15 update]: Mayor O'Neill tells us that her conversation with Cong. Mica involved mainly runway pothole repair.

    Related coverage:

    Mayor O'Neill Met At LB Airport With Powerful House Aviation Sub-Committee Chair...And City Hall Wants Fed'l Funds For "Facelift" At LB Airport

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