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Vice Mayor Baker Issues Statement re LB Airport, Calls For Referendum on Any Plan That Would Expand Airport Capacity

We post written statement verbatim

(May 29, 2002, initial post 10:50 p.m.) -- With a potential legal storm gathering over LB Airport, and a three-way Mayoral showdown election less than a week away that could turn on ELB and Bixby Knolls/Cal Hts. votes, Vice Mayor Dan Baker has issued a written statement calling for a referendum -- a vote of the people -- on any plan that would increase airport capacity.

We post the statement verbatim, below. Reaction is expected and pending as we post.

Vice Mayor Baker's statement follows up on comments he made earlier tonight during LB's final Mayoral candidates forum held at Hughes Middle School in Bixby Knolls [separate detailed coverage forthcoming on LBReport.com]. During the Mayoral forum, Baker said:

"Orange County showed us that voters can and do set policy as it relates to airports. I believe that any discussion of expansion at the airport, and that includes expansion of facilities that will allow more flights in, should go to a vote of the people."

Vice Mayor Baker's written statement, faxed to LBReport.com at roughly 10:10 p.m., follows.

[Begin text; boldface as indicated in original text.]

I am deeply concerned about the impacts of the Long Beach Airport on the neighborhoods and residents that surround it. I am strongly committed to protecting our residents and neighborhoods. A recent Air Quality Management District (AQMD) report shows chilling evidence of the impact of the airport on the health of Long Beach residents.

The possible expansion of the Long Beach municipal airport poses a serious health and financial threat to our neighborhoods and residents. The City of Long Beach and its elected representatives need to do everything we can to protect our residents from the impacts of noise and pollution associated with increased air traffic. The unanimous vote of the City Council to defend the Long Beach City Noise ordinance against any challenge by airlines is a good first step, but it is only the first step of many that are needed to protect the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

We must do all we can to preserve local control of the airport and prevent the federal government and the air carriers from dictating the terms of this debate.

To achieve this, I believe that the resident of Long Beach need to have an opportunity to directly express their will on this issue. There is precedent for a referendum on airport expansion. Long Beach voters approved a measure that extended the runway to retain the McDonnel Douglas manufacturing plant several decades ago. Certainly today, voters should have an opportunity to vote on any plan that would increase capacity at the airport. Orange County voters got to express their views on the El Toro airport issue on and the federal government paid attention to their wishes. Long Beach residents deserve nothing less.


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