Rebuffed by its partner cities, the City of Burbank has abandoned efforts to change the regular meeting time of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority from morning to evening.
The Burbank City Council decided to give up its uphill battle after the authority last week voted down the proposed change, despite complaints from homeowner groups and council members that morning meetings prevent San Fernando Valley residents who work during the day from attending the sessions.
The authority's vote was the fatal blow in a monthlong battle by Burbank. Despite pleading and letters from Burbank council members, the Glendale and Pasadena councils refused to join the effort to change the meeting time.
Each of the three cities appoints three members to the panel, which sets policies for the airport.
Burbank officials refused to give up the fight without firing verbal volleys at the other cities.
"Glendale and Pasadena obviously aren't as interested in getting public input from their citizens as Burbank is," said Mayor Mary Lou Howard, who also sits on the nine-member authority.
But Glendale Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg criticized the Burbank council for even asking Glendale and Pasadena to agree to changing the meetings.
Comment From Bremberg
"We appoint people to the authority, and that's as far as it goes," Bremberg said. "We don't want them to tell us when to have our meetings, and we're not going to tell them when to have theirs. It's not our job or our obligation.
"And I don't like Burbank telling us what to do."
Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowner Assn., said the authority's refusal to hold evening meetings reflects a pattern of ignoring the public.
"Public input and debate interferes with the authority's goals," Close said, adding that the public will not have a chance to comment on agenda items until after the authority has taken action.
Burbank Councilman Michael R. Hastings, angered by the other cities' rebuff, encouraged residents to attend morning meetings when they can.
"If the authority thinks they're going to get less public input because of this, they're wrong, because I'm going to make sure they get more," Hastings said.
Hastings said the action by the cities was not unexpected. Authority President Robert W. Garcin had said that he opposed evening meetings and that the public had "ample access" to authority matters in the morning.
Hastings, meanwhile, said Glendale and Pasadena had demonstrated an indifference to public participation because both city councils hold their meetings in the afternoon. The Burbank council meets at night.
"For them to ask the authority to change the meeting time would have been like confirming that they're wrong for holding afternoon meetings," Hastings said.
Jo Heckman, one of Pasadena's representatives on the authority, said evening meetings would create added costs in staff overtime.
"It doesn't make sense to have meetings at 7 p.m. after everyone's had a hard day's work," Heckman said. "We're not as alert."
Officials have often claimed that the authority is not a public agency and is not as responsible to public views. But, Close said, most of the authority's actions affect the public, in terms of noise and safety. "They just don't understand that most of us have to work for a living," Close said.
Burbank City Atty. Douglas C. Holland said he would investigate whether selected meetings of the authority could be scheduled at night.