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    July 2001 City Mgr. Letter Responded To JetBlue Requests For Airport Improvements & Services By Itemizing $55+ Million In City-Provided Marketing + Airport Improvements + Lakewood Blvd. Improvements Then Underway or Scheduled

    Update: No cc's or bcc's, City Hall says after double-checking

    (June 11, 2004, updated June 14) -- A July 2001 letter from the office of then-City Manager Henry Taboada responded to JetBlue requests for airport improvements and services by itemizing over $55 million (as valued by City Hall) in City of LB marketing activities, airport improvements and Lakewood Blvd. improvements then underway or scheduled.

    The letter to JetBlue Associate General Counsel Robert Land, signed on Mr. Taboada's behalf by then-Assistant City Manager Jerry Miller, cites items including construction of a $30 million parking structure to be completed in 2003, a holdroom addition and baggage claim enhancements to be completed in 2002 and an ongoing marketing/promotion budget (with increases requested) for items including mass media to promote Long Beach Airport and its airlines.

    "In order to assist JetBlue with a successful introduction of service to Long Beach Airport, I am pleased to provide you a summary of City responses to JetBlue requests concerning airport improvements and services, both underway and scheduled in the near future," the letter begins. sought and obtained a copy of the letter from LB City Hall after its existence was disclosed by JetBlue's Director of West Coast Operations Alex Wilcox during an extemporaneous public colloquy with LBHUSH2 founder (and now 8th district Councilwoman-elect) Rae Gabelich at the May 27, 2004 meeting of LB's "Airport Advisory Commission."

    We post the City Manager's 2001 letter in pdf form on a link below.

    The letter also said that based on 768 eligible new hires and $1.7 million in equipment purchases, JetBlue may be eligible for $14.9+ million in Enterprize Zone state tax credits over six years, and added that these benefits would be enhanced by City Hall's Workforce Development Bureau "which can provide presceening and assessment of potential new hires as well as automatic employee eligibility for Enterprise Zone tax credits." (The letter attaches eight pages of Enterprise Zone calculations which we have not posted.)

    The letter also says that as part of the Airport's Business Plan objective "to provide airport facilities to airlines at a very competitive cost" the city has "managed to keep our airport related fees in the low $4.00 per passenger range and we have no Passenger Facilities Charge (PFC)" and "the pricing of our public parking is significantly lower than our competing airports." [The Council has since raised parking rates slightly although they are still below other area airports...and has also imposed a PFC.]

    At the May 27, 2004 Airport Advisory Commission meeting, JetBlue (which holds 22 of LGB's 41 large aircraft flight slots) proposed that the City of LB expand LGB's permanent terminal area facilities to include 30,000 sq. ft. for post-security concession areas (compared to 25,460 sq. ft. recommended by Airport-hired firm HNTB) and 41,334 sq. ft for holdrooms (compared to 32,950 sq. ft. recommended by HNTB). HNTB and JetBlue's recommendations are both larger than figures cited in City Hall's Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project released in Sept. 2003.

    LB Airport management is scheduled to present its proposed facilities recommendations at the June 17 Airport Advisory Commission meeting...and the City Council will have the final say thereafter.

    The Council had been scheduled to vote in December 2003 on what issues to address in the EIR on the expanded terminal facilities. However, after sometimes acrimonious public comment at EIR scoping meetings, the Council sent the issue first to its Airport Advisory body...effectively delaying a Council vote on the issue past the April and June Council elections.

    In the April 2004 4th district City Council election, incumbent Dennis Carroll was defeated by challenger Patrick O'Donnell...and on June 8, Ms. Gabelich unseated 8th district Council incumbent Rob Webb. The new Councilmembers will take office in mid-July.

    Reaction to the City Manager's office 2001 correspondence with JetBlue is pending as we post.

    To view the letter, click here

    [update] On June 14, the City Attorney's office (per Mike Mais) followed up on a request by to check on whether the letter was cc'd or bcc'd to others. Consistent with what the city's Public Information Officer previously told us, Mr. Mais indicated that to the best of his knowledge page three of the letter is as it appears in a city staffer's file and doesn't indicate any cc's or bcc's.

    Mr. Mais also contacted JetBlue Airways (the letter's addressee) and said Kristy Ardizzone likewise indicated that the letter as received by the firm did not reflect any cc's. [end update]

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