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9th Dist. Councilman-Elect Lerch Adds Airport Views

(June 6, 2002) -- 9th district (NLB) Councilman-elect Val Lerch has provided with additional views on LB Airport in the wake of an interview published in the June 4-17 edition of the Long Beach Business Journal.

While confirming that the Business Journal quotes are accurate [we post them below with that publication's permission], Councilman-elect Lerch told he hoped readers would not draw inferences from his words that he did not intend to convey.

Councilman-elect Lerch said he supports the City Council's two May 14 resolutions affirming support for LB's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance, including the city's current noise budgeted flight levels, as well as the Council's request for a City Managerial report on a broad range of the airport's environmental and human impacts. ( coverage: May 14: Council Adopts Three Items Supporting City Hall Defense and Advocacy On Airport Noise Ordinance)

Councilman-elect Lerch said he believes there might come a time in the future when "new technology and good old American ingenuity" may be able to significantly reduce Airport related noise and pollution, but "we're not there now. I know that. That's why I believe LB's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance and current noise budgeted flight limits make sense and should be maintained and defended. I agree with the Council and Mayor on this."

Lerch said his Business Journal remarks show his personal airport concerns go beyond noise and include pollution. "That's why I mentioned the two issues together when I spoke with the Business Journal," he said.

The following is excerpted from Councilman-elect Lerch's interview appearing in the Long Beach Business Journal, June 4-17, 2002. The interview begins on page 1; the segment we quote appears on page 21. Bracketed material is reproduced below as it appears in Business Journal text:

"I understand that the 41-flight issue is not more than an arbitrary number they've figured based on the decibels of sound coming across the city. It's one of those double-edged swords. We're saying that we're the city of tourism -- one of our three T's. We have the Queen Mary and we're going to have Carnival Cruise Lines, so it doesn't make sense to me to bring Carnival in without cutting a whole bunch of deals with our airport and our flights [in and] out of the airport bring [tourists] in."

"Do we need to increase our airport as an international airport and make it a desirable place to fly into? I think so. Do we do it at the expense of the citizens and the neighborhood and the area being blown out because there's an airplane going over every 15 minutes? Well, that's a noise problem. If we can solve the noise problems and get 100 airplanes going in, I would support that. And it's the noise that we really look at. I understand that some of the airplanes made in Europe are so quiet, you don't even know they're [flying over].

"I can tell you as an experienced real estate manager, we've had an apartment on 104th and Normandie, which is right under the flight pattern going into LAX, whose roofs we've had to change twice as fast as any other roofs in our opinion because of kerosene fuel landing on top of our apartment buildings and just absorbing all of the wetness and all of the dampness and never evaporating.

So I know there's a big problem with that. How we solve that, I'm not sure. I don't know enough about it, but I believe we Americans solve all of our problems with the right time and the right opportunity to do so."

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