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    LBHUSH2 Tells City Council: Stop Marketing LB Airport And Remove Airport Advertising Costs From Budget

    (September 23, 2002) -- LBHUSH2, the recently reorganized homeowner and taxpayer group dealing with LB Airport issues, has told the City Council it wants further Airport marketing activities stopped and Airport advertising costs removed from the budget.

    Speaking at the September 17 Council meeting during the public comment period for non-agendized items, LBHUSH2 president Rae Gabelich said in pertinent part:

    I would like to ask that you cease marketing the Long Beach Airport. I would like to ask that you present a motion and vote to remove all the advertising costs related to the Long Beach Airport from the proposed budget.

    ...In [LB Press-Telegram] "Business Monday," [LB Airport spokesperson] Sharon Diggs-Jackson stated, "We won't be actively marketing the regional jets until after the noise study."

    We shouldn't be actively marketing the airport, period.

    A year ago May, 2001, we had 14 flights. Today, we have 33 flights. October 10, we will realize 41 plus 3 regional jets. That is a 300% increase in 17 months.

    How did we get here? From a lack of communication from our Council members..."

    As City Hall's policymaking body, the City Council has the power to direct City Hall policy on Airport matters. In October, LB will have 44 commercial flights a day -- an all time record -- due in large part to a May, 2001 voted Council policy action (8-1, Carroll dissenting and seeking two week delay) which invited more flights by making it easier for carriers to reserve and hold vacant LB flight slots although the city was under no legal obligation to do so.

    Last month, after city management publicly told Councilmembers they were under no federal mandate to do so, the Council voted 5-3 (Baker, Webb & Carroll dissenting; Reyes-Uranga absent) to proceed with construction of so-called "temporary" expanded LB Airport terminal facilities (which management elsewhere indicated have a useful life of up to ten years) to accommodate comfortably more than 3 million passengers -- an all time record level -- expected to hit LB as a result of the Council's previous marketing of the vacant large flight slots.

    In August, LBHUSH2 filled the Council chamber with supporters favoring a delay in both temporary and permanent expanded facilities pending additional study. The Council vote to proceed with so-called "temporary" facilities was met with chants of "Recall, recall" by roughly a dozen activists still in the room after several hours of testimony. The Council directed environmental review for the more permanent facility; city staff statements at last week's Airport Advisory Commission meeting indicate the public part of that process could begin in October.

    LB city officials have indicated that while the city will accommodate filling any of the 22 now vacant regional flight slots (for aircraft under 75,000 pounds) as it is legally obligated to do, the Airport is not currently taking affirmative steps to encourage filling them. However, it has not ruled out doing so later...a matter the City Council could control.

    LB Airport continues to run paid advertisements in local print media promoting itself as a convenient place from which to fly, encouraging Airport use. The Council can also control such advertisements by its own city agency..

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