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    Mayoral Finalists Foster & Colonna Say Airport EIR Doesn't Sufficiently Address Neighborhoods' Concerns; We Post Their Verbatim Responses At Wrigley-Area Forum

    (May 6, 2006) -- Bob Foster and Frank Colonna -- one of whom will become LB's next Mayor -- have both publicly said they do not believe a city management-advanced Environmental Impact Report recommending a 102,000 sq. ft project to expand LB Airport's permanent terminal area facilities sufficiently addresses neighborhoods' concerns. posts the candidates' verbatim statements on the matter at a May 1 candidate forum sponsored by the Wrigley Association.

    Moderator Alan Tolkoff asked, "Do you feel the Long Beach Airport Environmental Impact Report sufficiently addresses the concerns of the neighborhoods? How will you go beyond the minimum requirements?"

    Mr. Foster: "No, it does not, it does not address all the concerns of the neighborhoods. It doesn't even really fully address the major issue of the Airport, and let me be clear about this because I think it's really important.

    "There's no doubt that the Airport needs modernization. It needs modern concessions. It needs modern baggage handling. It needs modern walkways, and bathrooms and places for passengers to sit.

    Photo credit: Neena Strichart, Signal Tribune

    "But we don't want to become a place that has an Airport at six million passengers a year. We're a little over three million right now. So we have to take it upon ourselves to be able to regulate passenger traffic through that Airport.

    "And otherwise, what will happen is, FAA in its planning process could come in and say 'You have capacity at that Airport. You have to take more passengers and more flights.' And we'll get into fight on our noise ordinance.

    "Every candidate during this election supported the noise ordinance, as do I. I want to support it. I want to defend it. I want to make sure it stays in place.

    "The best way to do that is to regulate the annual passenger traffic through that Airport, and the best way to do that is to limit the number of gates and parking spaces, so we take control of our destiny.

    "We don't want an Airport with six million passengers a year. It's not appropriate for Long Beach. It's not appropriate for those neighborhoods. It would be a grave problem.

    "We can do this ourselves by making sure we control that valve to regulate passengers. Thank you."

    Moderator Tolkoff: "Frank, do you feel the Long Beach Airport Environmental Impact Report sufficiently addresses the concerns of the neighborhoods? How will you go beyond the minimum requirements?"

    Photo credit: Neena Strichart, Signal Tribune
    Councilman Colonna: "Well, at our first run, it's not thorough and doesn't vet all the issues of our neighborhoods.

    And I'm very pleased because tomorrow evening [May 2] I'm going to be supporting Councilmember Gabelich who's in the back, and we're going to have a Planning Commission night meeting to make sure that residents of our city have their chance to speak about this Airport.

    "It is important to know that our City Council is the first City Council in sixty years that's having to deal with an airport terminal and what we need to do. And sure, we're under a lot of pressure, but the fact is that every single one of us has made a commitment to make sure that we preserve our noise ordinance, that we don't supersize this Airport, and we build what is adequate, appropriate and handles the needs of our passengers.

    "One of the things which I think is very important is that with these last two quarters, JetBlue has posted a loss, two losses, almost $80 million in losses. As you all know, because many of you fly out like I do, they're our largest air carrier at the Airport. We have to proceed with caution to make sure that the financial underpinnings of whatever we do there are not placed on the backs of you and me, the citizens and our children, because we could talking about a $100 million terminal if we aren't very careful.

    "And so as a result we're going to have to have to take it every step of the way to make sure that it's an Airport that can maintain what we absolutely have to maintain only, and not give cause for expanding the number of flights. Thank you."

    Related coverage:

  • Law Professor Warns Airport EIR's "Preferred" 102,000 Sq. Ft. Permanent Terminal Facilities Expansion Invites More Flights, Loss Of LB's Noise Ordinance

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