Support the LB businesses you see here:

Carter Wood Floor pic
Carter Wood Floors, a LB company, will restore your wood floor or install a new one. Enhance your home. Click pic.

Lovelace pic
Who is this guy, Bill Lovelace? Click on picture to find out.

NetKontent Digital Video Cutting Edge Services For The Internet, Broadcast and Multimedia. Click For Info

Tank pic
This vehicle in Iraq (courtesy USMC) is well insured. Are you? For auto, home, business, health, boat, motorcycle coverage, call Pollman's Insurance: 23 yrs. in business, 4th generation LB family. Info, click photo

Nino's Ristorante: A delicious treasure in Bixby Knolls. Click here if you're hungry or for catering!
3853 Atlantic Ave.

The Enterlines
Bill & Karen Enterline are ELB realty experts. Click here for info on area property values.

Your E-Mail
Click here

  • Neighborhood Groups/Meetings
  • How To Recall a LB Elected Official
  • Crime Data
  • City Council Agendas
  • Port of LB Agendas
  • E-Mail Your Councilmember
  • Council District Map
  • LB Parks, Rec & Marine
  • LB Schools
  • LB Airport
  • Sacramento
  • Washington
  • References & Archives
  • Lost, Found & Adoptable Pets


    Intense Two Hour Airport Discussion, Near End of Lengthy Council Meeting, Stretches Past Midnight; Speakers Seek Health, Pollution Risk Assessment

  • Report On Airport's Effects On Health & Property Values -- Requested 9-0 By Council In May 2002 -- Still Not Presented
  • Council Votes To Ask City Mgr. To Return Dec. 2 With Suggestions On Further Health and Economic Analysis Options, Either w/in Scope Of EIR For Permanent Expanded Airport Terminal Facilities Or As Separate Study
  • Council Approves Floor Motion by Richardson To Seek LB Air Quality Assessment Encompassing Port, 710 & Airport
  • Council Receives Report Showing Airport Noise Budget Full, No Add'l Large Aircraft Flights Added For 2004
  • Council OK's Request By Carroll For City Mgt. Report On Options For Stricter Nighttime Curfew Enforcement @ Airport

    (Updated October 18, 2003 from initial Oct. 15 post) -- An intense Council discussion of three Airport-related items, scheduled near the end of a lengthy Oct. 14 meeting agenda, extended from roughly 10:00 p.m. until 12:10 a.m.

    Data was presented indicating large commercial flights as a class had exceeded the Airport's noise budget for the past twelve months, meaning additional flights won't be added in 2004. An item by Councilman Dennis Carroll seeking stricter enforcement of the Airport's nighttime curfew was approved (with a resolution deferred to the next Council meeting).

    However these items were effectively eclipsed by debate over an item agendized by Councilman Rob Webb, inquiring about a report on the Airport's effects on the public which was requested by the Council on a 9-0 vote in May 2002...and has still not been delivered.

    We provide a "click and jump" hyperlink index below to parts of this article:

    Council speaker LGB item Oct 14/03
    Screen save courtesy HTTV Channel 21
    Members of the public -- many of whom had waited since 5:00 p.m. to be heard -- learned at about 10:00 p.m. that Mayor O'Neill intended to combine discussion of the three major items.

    The Mayor also announced that she planned to leave the item by Councilman Webb -- dealing with a report on Airport effects requested by the Council in May 2002 and not provided -- until the last of the three.

    Despite the late hour, the public lined up to speak in large numbers. Testimony began at about 10:40 p.m. and lasted roughly an hour.

    Many speakers were furious that the Airport report -- requested on a 9-0 Council vote nearly a year and a half ago on a 9-0 vote -- had not been delivered. We provide an illustrative sound clip among the public speakers below.

    Public testimony went beyond noise. Many speakers focused on health and pollution. Several urged a health risk assessment...and the Long Beach Council of the PTA delivered a letter calling for inclusion of a health impact study.

    City management didn't produce the Airport report...and instead delivered a memo -- circulated at roughly 10 p.m. -- listing environmental issues, mainly related to the terminal project itself, that it could discuss by December 2...the same date management is scheduled to present recommendations to the Council for the scope of an EIR in connection with expanding the Airport's terminal facilities.

    The issue then turned into a dispute over whether the overdue report would be presented as a stand-alone item or, as suggested by city management, part of an EIR accompanying permanent Airport terminal facilities expansion. Vice Mayor Frank Colonna favored city management's approach and urged treating the issues in the context of the terminal facilities expansion EIR. In May 2002, Colonna was one of four Councilmembers (with Councilmembers Kell, Carroll and Webb) who joined in agendizing the request for a report on the Airport's effects on residents...which at that time was represented as being separate from an EIR.

    At about 12:10 a.m., the Council took the following actions:

  • Voted to receive and file a report reflecting empirical Airport noise monitoring under LB's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance that showed from Oct 1/02-Sept. 30/03 commercial air carriers as a class (aircraft over 75,000 pounds) exceeded the Ordinance's noise budget. That means no additional flights (beyond 41 slots for aircraft over 75,000 pounds) are being allocated in 2004. (For coverage, click here

  • Voted to ask city management to return with options on how best to study LB air pollution encompassing not only the airport, but the Port and 710 freeway. The motion, made on the floor by Councilwoman Laura Richardson, was spurred by the public testimony.

  • Voted to seek a city management report on items related to stricter enforcement of the Airport's nighttime curfew (agenda item by Councilman Carroll).

  • Vote to (motion by Councilman Webb) ask City Manager to return on Dec. 2 with suggestions for the Council to review that will discuss further health and economic analysis options, either to be included in the proposed scope of the EIR related to expansion of the Airport terminal facilities, or as a separate study.

    In a related development, City Attorney Bob Shannon indicated during the Council discussion that city officials planned to travel to New York City shortly to discuss with JetBlue Airways its nighttime transgressions of the city's 10 p.m. (normal limit but can be excused in certain circumstances) and 11 p.m. (automatic violation) LB Airport limits. (For coverage, click here)

    Our transcript below is unofficial, prepared by us. Not all speakers or their statements are transcribed; ellipses indicate delations; bracketed material is by us for clarity.

  • Councilman Rob Webb

    [Mayor turns to Councilman Webb's agenda item]

    Councilman Webb: Well, I wanted, perhaps maybe we should hear from the City Manager at this point in time how they'd like to proceed. I want to see the report come forward that was requested. We probably need to define at some point in time exactly how...

    Mayor O'Neill [interrupted]: OK, that's all I need to know. Councilmember Carroll, did you have a comment?

    Councilman Dennis Carroll

    Councilman Carroll: ...With respect to Councilman Webb's issue, I do have a couple of comments if this would be the appropriate time.

    I think it's helpful to have a context within which that report was requested before we can make an informed decision about how we should proceed this evening.

    And the context is American Airlines in February of 2002 and then Alaska Airlines in March came knocking at our door demanding slots that we didn't have to give, and everyone became in a panic, including myself. And it became apparent that if American, who was the airline who basically dragged us through court and beat us over the head and won last time was prepared to go to court, we had a big problem on our hands, and that was the context within which I gave a speech, and I reviewed it on the tape the other day, about the potential calamitous effects on this community if that was done, including issues with respect to our health and issues regarding the economic consequences.

    The immediate rallying point became not those two issues, the environmental issues, but how can we stave off a lawsuit, how can we marshall our resources to possibly secure an agreement among the airlines, the FAA and ourself and protect our noise ordinance, and we spent the better part of the last 18 months doing that.

    And I think what happened was the environmental consequences of this became not front and center, because we were trying to preserve the 41 flight limit, and I think now it is appropriate for us to proceed with that consideration inasmuch as I think we have prevailed. We have established that there is such an agreement that the FAA is willing to recognize, that we're grandfathered in, and now it's appropriate for us to address the environmental issues. We in at least one context are going to be exploring that with respect to the facilities enhancements that are underway, and I'm going to be bringing a motion in two weeks to consider establishing an airport study group.

    From my perspective, this issue has become so complex and polarized, and we have signs here tonight [from LBHUSH2, "Say NO to Airport Expansion. It will INCREASE noise and pollution & DECREASE property values."] that there's becoming more heat than light with respect to this issue. This is a city issue. It's a city airport. And it's my view, and I'm going to present it to the Council and the public, that what we would benefit from is a study committee of a cross-section of our community and several from each Council district who can assist us in trying to bring some resolution to the problems that we have, rather than beating each other up over these issues.

    It may slow down the Environmental Impact Report. It may delay the plans that the airlines hope to implement in terms of enhancing the passenger storage rooms, but I think it's worth it if the community can come together and resolve these issues rather than the course we appear to be on now...

    It seems to me those environmental concerns can also be placed before such a study group and the public and appropriate experts can be brought forward to try and resolve this issue in a way we can all live with and protect our ordinance.

    The Mayor then turned to city management. Although Councilman Webb's item related to an Airport report separate from an EIR, city management gave a verbal presentation that discussed the EIR to be used regarding proposed permanent expansion of the Airport's terminal facilities. This was preceded by a written memo from city staff on the same subject distributed at the Council meeting and not available for prior public review.

    The EIR on the proposed permanent expansion of the Airport's terminal facilities was directed by the Council in Aug. 2002 after public outcry on learning (in a story first reported by that city staff did not plan to do any environmental review for the temporary or permanent terminal expansion projects. was the first LB media outlet to report City Hall's plans in July 02. The Council ultimately allowed the temporary facilities to stand...but required an EIR for the permanent facilities.

    At the Council's Oct. 14, 2003 meeting, Mr. Kunze said the proposed scope of the EIR for the permanent terminal facilities expansion is scheduled to come to the Council for a vote on or about Dec. 2, 2003 -- with the completed EIR most likely not available before January 2005. He continued:

    Mr. Kunze: Given that the project under consideration does not include a reassessment of the airline and other flight activities levels at the airport, and that it specifically gives consideration to facilities to accommodate current permitted activity and nothing more, it appears as though the scope of the proposed EIR may not be broad enough to address the questions regarding impacts beyond those resulting from the defined project.

    However, it is our recommendation to continue the public scoping process and identify the proposed EIR scope for a report back on Dec. 2. If the final proposed EIR scope does not cover all of the issues we have been led to understand them to be, we will provide additional options for the City Council's consideration at that time.

    The Airport terminal area enhancements EIR will provide a broad base of information from which project decisions can be made. In addition, other opportunities to solicit community input, including public meetings and even options such as developing a ballot measure to obtain formal constituent advice or direction, and the like, will certainly be within the future discretion of the City Council...

    Councilman Rob Webb

    ...With all due respect, and I'm qualifying how I'm going to say this here, I think the policy has been set,...four Councilmembers here made almost a year and a half ago made pretty strong remarks that, and I'll even quote here from Councilman Carroll at the time:

    [quoting Carroll from May 02] "It is my belief that those burdens can become so substantial that not only the health of our citizens there can be compromised, but ultimately the economic base" and it goes on to state "[This] is my belief that limiting this discussion to noise does a great disservice to the human dimensions of this issue." [applause]

    We had requested this information either in a separate report, I had suggested it could be folded into the EIR, but certainly a separate report that can be reviewed when it is completed.

    Then that's I guess the case. If we decided that we're not going to go forward with this and do an EIR, then we need to have a public meeting and just say that in public in front of everybody, 'cause I don't recall us setting that policy.

    [turning to management] And I want to be able to give you an opportunity that we're going to move forward with an analysis that the Council asked for a year and a half ago. I realize that you have only 45 days now before we give you direction based on what the entire scope of the EIR will include, so I'll defer to you for your suggestions at this point in time...

    Vice Mayor Frank Colonna (incl. colloquy w/ Councilman Webb)

    Vice Mayor Colonna: ...On the item of the environmental review that was just passed out to us [management's memo], and I believe that it came to us now and I don't know if we're going to get any conclusion to Councilman Webb's request regarding to preparing a report, and I'd like to hear from the city manager...

    This particular item that we just received, it does indicate that the EIR will provide an inventory of existing pollutant emissions by source in the vicinity of the airport and then measure any change to those pollutants created by the proposed project. I presume that to be what we're discussing here in terms of trying to add the facility space to accommodate the existing flight agreements that we have with the FAA. Is that correct? [turns toward management; response off mike apparently affirmative]. OK. And then the other is, determination of existing ambient air quality in the vicinity of the airport and the quantification of existing emissions at the airport.

    So that's also going to be included in this EIR, the information, correct? [response off mike, apparently affirmative.

    So Councilmember Webb, in terms of what your interest is, your expectations are to develop a separate report aside from what this EIR is calling out to be presented to the public and for us to digest when we get to that point?

    Councilman Webb: What I'd like to see, first of all I don't know that the report, the environmental health impacts and the economic impacts that the EIR is calling for is sufficient compared to the request that we had put in back in May of 2002.

    Vice Mayor Colonna: But the item that we're speaking on is the issue regarding the structural components that we have that we're working forward to accommodate what our FAA requirements are...

    ...I see signs up here that say, "No Airport Expansion" and for the life of me, I've been on this Council for five years, I've never supported airport expansion and I'm seeing signs over here.

    Is this a referendum that's on the ballot in November?

    Councilman Webb: The EIR that you were referring to is dealing with the facilities, and certainly what the signs are talking about. The report that we requested is not necessarily the EIR that we requested. Back in May 2002, we asked for an environmental report from the staff on the environmental effects on humans as well as the economic impacts on folks that are impacted by the airport.

    We're doing an EIR right now that is going to discuss the issues that you were referring to, but if we want to add that report that the Council requested, that you had requested back in May of 2002 to the EIR, that's fine, either that or we will have that report separately...

    ...If we are going to include this health risk assessment that we're talking about here in the EIR we need to be able to get that into the scope of that EIR by December.

    Vice Mayor Colonna: ...It appears to me that we I think need to be legitimate about our discussion here tonight. And the legitimacy is that we're dealing with an EIR that is going to deal with human impact, and we are going to be bringing that forward. If your [Councilman Webb] interest is to have a separate study, I don't know what that study is going to do, personally. And we're had plenty of EIRs that we've had discussions with on this Council.

    I just want to make sure that we could stay within what our objective is here tonight which is getting something accomplished, but if we continue to take tangents and move off the road of discussion just because we have concerns that we aren't meeting what our obligations are, I think our obligations are going to be fulfilled by what the EIR is going to be calling out for, which is specifically by a proposed project that we have voted on on this Council.

    And if you're looking for what some of the other airports have had discussions on, and I've had conversation with the City Manager about, then I believe that that's what we ought to do and let's cut to the chase and find out what we're going to be doing in terms of providing that information as part of this EIR.

    City Manager Miller:...[Refers to memo to Council re scope of environmental analysis planned for EIR] The issue of adding further health-related analysis than may ordinarily be required for such an environmental impact report is the subject of that memo also obviously of a lot of discussion here tonight. It seems to me that if the City Council wants to add further health or economic analysis, then we'd be ready to offer some suggestions concerning that at the meeting of December 2 and further discuss at that point in time what the scope of the environmental review might be.

    I think with regard to the comment that there should be some additional comprehensive air quality review that transcends the effects of the airport so as to look at the I-710, the Port of LA-Long Beach, we're just not in a position to comment tonight as to the technical feasibility or the potential for engaging in such a study.

    Vice Mayor Colonna: ...I think that what Councilmember Carroll brought up just a little while ago, regarding the fact that perhaps we do need some type of a citizens advisory committee...because there is a lot of misinformation going on about this airport right now. And my concern is, is that there are people who are misunderstanding and misinterpreting what we need to stay with in terms of staying on course without colliding with the FAA. And I've had people tell me up to 200, 300 flights coming out of this airport. I don't know, I've never heard of that myself. There's a lot of misinformation coursing through the community right now, and I think we need to get back to where it belongs.

    ...I had that problem in my district with, we came up with an Alamitos Bay study group because it finally was tearing my district apart. And actually, by the time it was concluded with 19 citizens, we came up with getting the right information out to the public, the people understood clearly where we were going, and we achieved a comfort zone that resolved a lot of problems.

    But these issues coming up before this Council, probably now every third or fourth Council meeting, we're accomplishing nothing.

    Councilman Webb: With all due respect Councilmember Colonna, this is issues that this Council requested back in 2002 that is [applause] not significantly being addressed in the EIR.

    And if I can quote you from May 2002, you at that time said it was important that we not only [more applause] deal with the noise effects but of the other issues that come into play with the significant airline traffic that's coming into our community...

    Vice Mayor Colonna [interrupts]: Well Councilmember Webb, then you waited 16 months to bring that forward on the agenda...

    Councilman Webb: [continuing]...Well thank you. That significant airline impact is still coming into our community. This afternoon you made a suggestion that we model ourselves after what LAX has done, and Orange County and look at some of those models. I think that's an excellent suggestion...I would like to come back to the staff and ask if they would like to come back and give us some of these suggestions that we could either put into this report separately, or within the EIR, or both...

    Mayor O'Neill: ...Please help me with [the wording your motion] Councilmember Webb, this would be to prepare a report? Or to say that what you got this afternoon gave you some guidance for the December...

    Councilmember Webb: I'd like to ask the staff come back prior to give us...

    Mayor O'Neill: Is this before Dec. 2?

    Councilmember Webb: Yes. To be able to give us an opportunity to adjust, because I think you have a deadline, and I don't know how firm that deadline is of Dec. 2, but I would like to see some information, we have some opportunities to review some options so we can get it in either a separate report or within that EIR when we determine the scope on Dec. 2.

    Vice Mayor Colonna: Madam Mayor, if I might just comment. I spoke with Councilmember Webb earlier this afternoon about the possibility of looking at what LAX and Burbank and Ontario have done in terms of their risk assessments, so that we could bring some rational approach to what we have limits, and at the same time understand what these other airports are doing...

    Mayor O'Neill: You mean just to find out what they're doing, to find out things, not to use them as a model...

    Vice Mayor Colonna: Absolutely, to find out what is it that they have been doing because obviously they have been reporting to the FAA just like we would be reporting to the FAA...

    Public testimony
    Not all speakers or the comments transcribed

    [Bixby Knolls resident, name spelling uncertain]

    ...I was able to get the noise level and the time of every flight that's taken off from Long Beach Airport from 1998 to the end of 2002 through Mr. Kunze's staff [shows chart]...Every flight emits a certain noise level. I summed up that noise level for every hour for each year...What this chart shows you is how the quality of life of our community has changed since 1998...

    ...Especially in the area of the late evening hours, you can see that the 9 to 10 p.m. noise has increased 264% from 2001 to 2002. 75% of the noise after 10 p.m. is due to JetBlue in 2001 and 2002.

    Whatever noise weightings we have in our [airport noise] budget, whatever penalty structure we have in place, it's not affecting the situation...I don't know how a city government allows its prosecutor to negotiate away its power to manage the airlines, but in effect as I understand it, that's exactly what happened. And for the City Council to say now they're going to turn to the 'court of public opinion' [expression was used by Councilman Carroll] to solve this problem I think is disingenuous.

    Because it is the job of the City Council to manage the quality of life of its community, and quite frankly, you're not doing it. Because this chart shows the penalty that my children are living with as they try to go to sleep at night. You're not taking care of your community, and if you don't do so, the community is going to leave.

    Mayor Beverly O'Neill: Thank you very much for this. This was very, very well researched and thought through and I appreciate that very much.

    City Attorney Shannon: Excuse me Madam Mayor, could I make a brief comment with regard to what this gentleman just said. And by the way this is a very interesting chart.

    I think we've been proceeding from the underlying assumption all night that the only remedy against the airlines that do violate the noise ordinance is a criminal remedy. Yes, it is true that for three years with regard to American Airlines and JetBlue, our criminal options are limited, they're basically non-existent because of the Consent Decree.

    But there is another side to the law and that's the civil side. Now I'm not going to get into the legal remedies that we have from the civil and the administrative side because I think that would be a little bit premature, but I will just tell you that as City Attorney we do have civil legal remedies.

    Now before we resort to those civil legal remedies, we want to do everything we can to get voluntary compliance from, first of all, JetBlue. And in that regard, I want to advise you that the City Manager, and of course the City Council and the City Attorney, share your concerns about the late night flights.

    And to that end, we are meeting with Mr. Neeleman [JetBlue CEO] in New York at the end of next week, and we hope to achieve some sort of an understanding that continued late flights are not acceptable to the public, and they're not acceptable to the city, and I think that responds to your issue.

    Patrick Mulligan (Los Cerritos area)

    ...The proposed airport expansion is not in the best interest of Long Beach nor the surrounding communities of Lakewood and Huntington Beach. More expansion will mean more noise and more pollution. We hear that the current plans for the current building include preserving the historic nature of the terminal building, but what about the communities that surround it.

    The city should be equally concerned with preserving the heritage of the citizens who live in the areas surrounding the airport...

    ...Sound alone is not the only problem. Sometimes when I walk outside in the morning and I find fresh oily stains on the paint work of my car, I wonder about the pollution from the planes. When I look down the streets and see bikes and toys laying on the lawns of my neighbors' houses, I wonder effects the pollution has on the children...

    Lewis Lester

    Vice Mayor Colonna spoke to looking LAX and Orange County and other airports have looked at issues relating to EIR and the scoping and assessments of the impacts and the risks associated with such plans.

    For three and a half years I worked for Los Angeles World Airports under the direction of Lydia Cunnard [sp?] who is the outgoing Executive Director. We were hired to handle what they called "terminal modernization." And I just want to let Mr. Colonna know, whether you call it "enhancement," whether you call it "modernization," it is expansion in all respects because it has impacts that are both environmental and community based, whether it be in traffic, whether it be in air or noise.

    And when LAX decided to make a commitment to do an earnest job of looking at those assessments, the result was a 12,000 page EIR...[T]hey paid a lot of high priced consultants to do research about airports like Long Beach, and as a result of that research, which is available go to L.A. World Airports and ask for it, you would find out that they did a slew of environmental studies as it relates to the city of Long Beach because they needed to prove that Long Beach could not handle the traffic, could not handle the noise, could not handle the air, and so that Long Beach was not an ideal place for airports to go, and that they should support LAX expansion.

    ...There is information that has been put together by independent sources like the AQMD, like the Air Resources Board, like Cal EPA ninth district, that have looked at that information, that have vetted it, and have said there are problems in Long Beach.

    ...There's tons of research out there. If you guys want to do a good job, all you have to do is hire people who know what they're doing and we will know all the impacts of airport expansion in the city of Long Beach.

    Diana Mann

    ...All of this discussion here is talking about noise. Noise doesn't cause cancer. Noise doesn't cause premature births or birth defects...We have a real serious problem of air pollution in this city, and I think that my concern is that the EIRs that I have looked at, especially coming from the Port, they look at air pollution as something that's not -- they don't know how to mitigate it. So they just don't.

    And they just say it's overriding circumstances. And I have a real concern because I think that the public has been constantly and consistently deceived, and I think we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere...

    Now we also are looking at airport expansions, and 710 expansions, and shipping port expansions, and we just can't take this anymore...

    And I would like to strongly suggest that you put a breast milk study involved with this EIR. A breast milk study is very accurate as far as what is exactly in the air, as you'll find exactly in the breast milk. And you will find exactly what kinds of carcinogenic chemicals that are in our air...

    ...This is public safety in the biggest and the broadest sense of the word. And I would like to see the commitment of this Council work on a health study not just for the airport but for the accumulation of all these assaults on the public...

    Rae Gabelich

    ...I cannot express to you how upset I am...[The Airport report] is something that we have come back and asked for time and time again, not in front of the Council but individually. this was something you voted on nine-zip a year and a half ago. The health risks and the health concerns for this community should be your number one priority...

    Frank [Colonna], I'm disappointed, it felt like you were attacking Councilman Webb. I don't understand why everybody isn't working together. This is about the health and welfare of our community.

    ...Laura [Richardson], before I came down here tonight, I had the opportunity to turn on Channel 21 [City Hall channel] and you were talking to Dr. Nicholas [sp?] from the childrens' clinic, and what she said to you was that asthma and the conditions that are responsible for its increase can be improved by community action. This is part of the community action. You need to take responsibility for the people that live here and support you. Their health should be number one. Not the business in the community, not the airport's growing, not what JetBlue can or can't do for us, the welfare of the citizens of Long Beach.

    Councilwoman Richardson: I'm sorry Madam Mayor, I'd like to respond to that. I'm kind of frustrated you know. I don't really agree with the personal attacks I think that are done on Council members. For the record,...

    Ms. Gabelich: (interjecting): That was not a jab at you at all. I actually am very respectful of the fact that you had her on your show, and you were very much a part of that conversation and acknowledging that we do have a problem. It was not an attack on you at all.

    Councilwoman Richardson: But I think the way you said it, that's not how it came off the first time. And I think there are many of us who are working as hard as we possibly can and are supportive of what we need to do in the future and I just think we need to convey all that, but thank you for clarifying that, I appreciate it.

    Traci Wilson-Kleekamp

    The first thing I want to talk about is process. I have a real problem with getting a document at 10 o'clock [city management memo, distributed on Council floor at 10 p.m.] when we asked for a report in May of 2002. That's on you guys...

    The fact of the matter is, you guys promised us the report, 35 to 45 days after you voted on it in May...[I]t's a little ridiculous to find out 18 months later, oh we're going to talk about this again, or we want to have a committee, or something like that.

    If you guys were listening to the public and you really cared, you would have heard us the first time 18 months ago. If you guys were really listening, you wouldn't have waited til; the 710 freeway blew up in everybody's face.

    The fact of the matter is, it's no secret that we have an air quality problem. We have a problem at the port. We have a problem with the freeways. And we have a problem at the airport. Everybody's been saying since the very beginning, we have a multi-layered air quality problem.

    We want you to do a report that looks at the cumulative impacts of what it's doing to our community. We said that before May [2002]...

    I don't appreciate people trying to make us feel bad because we had to get signs to get your attention. That's why we have signs. We're trying to wake you guys up. We're trying to get you guys to work together...

    ...And I should say in closing, you have to dramatically change the way you operate in communicating with this community because I'm going to tell you what: this meeting tonight you guys have absolutely failed.

    Bry Myown

    [To hear Ms. Myown's rapid fire extemporaneous delivery, switch your speakers one and click here to launch MP3 file.]

    ...I want to say that I believe everybody in these chambers feels personally attacked by the air they breathe. I think they feel personally attacked by what's happening to their real estate which is for most people 100% of their net worth.

    And I think that we all feel very personally attacked when we have to work for months to lobby a Councilperson to get something on your agenda, when God bless him he does it and you vote and you tell us you're going to do it, and it does not matter what the issue is, when it comes back 18 months later and we think maybe we're going to hear OK maybe we're two weeks away from being finished -- no, we hear that something that is that important to the community, of that serious a nature, that controversial, that there's not even a staff report until ten o'clock in the middle of the night on that subject.

    Now I don't know which is worse: that you're that far behind dropping the ball, or that you're trying that hard to hide it from us...

    ...I do not live underneath the flight path...When I look at those redevelopment expansion maps, I have nightmares of the strip bars and motels that are probably going to be in between me and the airport one of these days.

    But the community has been asking for a study of the overall effects on the health and property of this community of the airport operations which is something you all should have considered before you amended the ordinance and let JetBlue in here.

    Now that we have this problem, you have been telling us since day one when we asked those questions that they're not going to be looked at in the EIR because all the EIR is going to look at is the new terminal facility you're building.

    So you can't have it both ways. You either already know the scope of the EIR and you already know this is important to your community or you already have the health impact report that you should have been working on for the last 18 months.

    John Delatorre, LB Council of PTA

    I have a letter here, Madam Mayor and Honorable City Council, from the Long Beach Council PTA addressed to you.

    [begins reading text]

    Since the founding of PTA 107 years ago, our national organization's objectives have directed us to advocate and promote the welfare of children and youth in home, school and community.

    The Long Beach Council PTA is part of the largest child advocacy group in the nation. In Long Beach, our membership includes 16,000 adults who share the same concerns for the life of children everywhere.

    We, the members of the Long Beach Council PTA, are greatly alarmed by the increasing levels of pollution in Long beach as evidenced by the latest study by the AQMD. As leaders of this city, your vision of the future must include a plan today on how to halt and reduce the current state of environmental deterioration.

    The Long Beach Council PTA members are greatly concerned about the growing and insufficiently managed pollution generated by industry and transportation in general and by the Long Beach airport in particular.

    We are convinced that the environmental impact report currently under way, first and foremost, must include a health impact study. In particular, you must recognize that air pollutants are more of a risk to kids than to adults. An alarming increase in cancer rates, respiratory illness and other severe allergic reactions to air pollutants result in an ever growing negative impact on our childrens' ability to reach their potential in their personal lives and in school. Any health impact study therefore, must focus on children and their great risk exposure.

    In addition to physiological health risks, the scope of the current EIR must include an assessment of the increased stress and anxiety levels in children as a result of pollution related ailments, as well as the impact of high noise levels on their ability to learn. A number of our Long Beach schools, whose PTAs we represent, have reported noise levels so great that instruction must be stopped when a plane flies overhead. In addition, parents report that their children's sleeping patterns are disrupted by excessive airplane noise.

    Moreover, any environmental impact study must be based on the most current scientific information, as well as the most recent, actually measured, noise levels. The latest EIR of the airport, conducted in 1995, did not recognize diesel emissions as a regulated, toxic substance.

    In addition, having seen a dramatic increase of flights, we must ask what is the current condition of our ground water as far as toxic substances are concerned?

    Finally, as indicated by current studies, there is an alarming increase in respiratory illnesses and cancer among children. It seems we have reached the limits of our carrying capacity, and any kind of development in this city cannot be analyzed in isolation.

    The cumulative impact of pollution, including its dispersion from other pollution sources in Long Beach, must be scrutinized. Therefore, the EIR associated with the planned airport terminal expansion must include the adverse health impact of the airport operations as a whole as well as other polluters, such as the port and the freeway system.

    The city leaders must also recognize the pressure for more growth in the future at the airport and elsewhere and in their instruction as to the scope of the upcoming study, must take a proactive stance.

    We hope that you will come to agree with us that commercial growth without fully and honestly considering the effects of the quality of life is not worth it. For the sake of our childrens' quality of life today and in the future, we urge you to give health concerns at least as much consideration as a commercial interest.

    Mike Kowal

    ...The discussion is always about noise, and that's what the noise ordinance is based on, that's what the FAA will talk to you about...As you've heard tonight, maybe you're starting to get it I hope, it's a lot more than just about noise here. We're talking about health. We're talking about respiratory, we're talking about heart...and you're going to hear more and more about it as the days go on...

    ...Don't grow that terminal or you're going to grow the number of flights. There's no question about it. That's the only control we have over at that airport.

    Jane Nadeau (Bixby Knolls area)

    ...I can't begin to tell you in three minutes allotted how frustrated, disappointed and annoyed I have become with the proposed airport expansion and the recent noise budget issues, how they've been handled.

    I hold you responsible for ignoring public concerns regarding noise, pollution and decrease in quality of life...My peace and quiet as well as quality of life have been affected because of your focus on alleged incoming tourist dollars instead of the importance of residents' lives.

    In my opinion, the upcoming EIR will determine if most of Long Beach is to become a depressed area like around LAX...

    We're the ones who decides who stays in office and who goes. In light of recent events, I believe more people are recognizing that their vote can make a difference.

    Councilman Webb: ...I'm slow, but I get it right now, and what our constituents are wanting to see is some kind of real time information about the environmental effects on our health from the airport, from the 710, from the port, and I think we do owe them some response to these issues.

    It's almost like an informed consent kind of a deal. I don't think anybody here expects to close down the airport with that information, I don't think they expect to close the port with that information, but they feel like you gotta know where we're at to know where we're going to improve things and it's a piece of the puzzle that, as I said, was asked for a long time ago...

    ...I will now defer to our city manager...

    Vice Mayor Colonna: I just actually am eager to hear what the city manager has to say, because I definitely would support scoping this in a fashion that meets the needs of what our neighborhoods are concerned about because at the end of the line here, that's the make up of this entire city and I believe that what we need to do is get to the heart of the matter here, literally, and find out just what these issues are in terms of assessing the impact on the people who live in the city and I think we should fold that into this study.

    Councilwoman Jackie Kell

    ...Let's get on with this health report. They've asked for it. Councilmember Webb's asked for it, and I'm all for including it or adding on, so let's vote it in.

    Councilwoman Laura Richardson

    ...I'm prepared tonight to make a motion that we do an overall health report for the city of Long Beach that would encompass the 710 freeway, the port and the airport. I think that's a reasonable request. We do need to know comprehensively because, the point was made -- and it was very well taken -- looking at one piece, and then we make decisions on that piece and then we make decisions that piece, and we're not putting all these buckets together. I think it's absolutely correct...

    ...I'd like to make a motion that we request the manager to bring us back a report of what would be the cost feasibility of doing such a study. What would be the potential options of where we would get funding to do so. And if we're able to do that, let's go ahead and do it...

    Councilmember Dan Baker

    I support that [Richardson's motion]. I think it's a great idea...

    Voted actions

    The Council took the following actions:

  • Voted to receive and file a report reflecting empirical Airport noise monitoring under LB's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance that showed from Oct 1/02-Sept. 30/03 commercial air carriers as a class (aircraft over 75,000 pounds) exceeded the Ordinance's noise budget. That means no additional flights (beyond 41 slots for aircraft over 75,000 pounds) are being allocated in 2004. (For coverage, click here

  • Voted to ask city management to return with options on how best to study LB air pollution encompassing not only the airport, but the Port and 710 freeway. The motion, made on the floor by Councilwoman Laura Richardson, was spurred by the public testimony.

  • Voted to seek a city management report on items related to stricter enforcement of the Airport's nighttime curfew (agenda item by Councilman Carroll).

  • Voted (motion by Councilman Webb) to ask City Manager to return on Dec. 2 with suggestions for the Council to review that will discuss further health and economic analysis options, either to be included in the proposed scope of the EIR related to expansion of the Airport terminal facilities, or as a separate study.

    Return To Front Page

    Contact us:


    Copyright © 2003, LLC. All rights reserved. Third parties may cite portions as fair use if attributed to "" (print media) or "Long Beach Report dot com" (electronic media). Terms of Use/Legal policy, click here. Privacy Policy, click here