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Council Support Melts : Burbank Ready to Pull Gee Off Airport Panel

July 24, 1986|GREG BRAXTON | Times Staff Writer

A majority of the five-member Burbank City Council said Wednesday they will vote to remove Burbank Airport Commissioner Margie Gee from the panel at next Tuesday's council meeting.

Mayor Mary E. Kelsey, Councilman Robert R. Bowne and Councilwoman Mary Lou Howard said in separate interviews that they believe Gee's effectiveness on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has been negated by her constant skirmishes with fellow commissioners over adding and subtracting comments from the minutes of past meetings.

They also cited the possible conflict of interest stemming from her role in an anti-noise lawsuit against the authority.

"I think she represents Margie Gee and not the interests of the majority of the people of Burbank," Bowne said. "There is a complete history of conflict and accusations from her. Her demeanor at meetings has provoked hostility and rancor from the other commission members and the staff, and it's alienated them towards the citizens of Burbank."

Will Not Resign

Gee said Wednesday that she will respond to the accusations against her "when and if the council decides what to do."

But she added: "I will not hand my detractors a present of a resignation. Peace comes at a price. What do they want, representation or peace? What does the community want me to do, be peaceful and do nothing when something needs to be said, or to represent them?"

The three council members said they were particularly angered by Gee's behavior at an authority meeting Monday.

In that episode in a continuing battle, Gee clashed with the authority's president, Robert W. Garcin, and airport officials when she said the minutes of the meetings misrepresented her views. She said the minutes, compiled by the staff, "reflect prejudice against me and my participational remarks."

Gee also complained that her requests for transcripts of board discussions had been ignored, whereas similar requests from other commissioners had been honored.

Councilman Michael R. Hastings, who nominated Gee for the commission post last year and has been a consistent supporter of her, said he may side with the council majority next week.

"The jury is still out, but if there's no support for Margie on the council, then I don't see holding out for the sake of holding out," Hastings said.

Councilman Al F. Dossin said he had not decided whether he would continue to support Gee.

Gee could be removed from the airport panel if three members on the five-member council decide she should be replaced. The city councils in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena each appoint three members to the commission.

The council almost voted on Gee's fate at a Tuesday night meeting when Bowne moved to remove her but delayed action for a week after Hastings said he wanted to contact Gee and "explain my vote."

The expected ouster would mark another in a series of reversals of council sentiment on Gee.

Lawsuit Conflict

Five weeks ago, the council voted to keep Gee on the commission despite her possible conflict of interest because of the lawsuit, which seeks damages from the airport because of airplane noise. Bowne was the only council member to vote against retaining Gee.

For several weeks preceding the vote, several council members had expressed doubts about Gee's effectiveness because airport authority lawyers had said she cannot vote on issues affecting her lawsuit.

Howard said Wednesday that Gee's possible conflict was no longer the concern of the council.

"Margie's presence on the commission creates a cloud, and it's not going to go away as long as she is on the board," Howard said. "We need to get on with the business at hand. Margie could have been very effective on the board, but she cannot work within the system."

Howard said the repeated skirmishes provoked by Gee "were something to be ashamed of. It's a laughingstock. She alienated everyone right off the bat when she got on the board and created a hostile environment. We need to have a good working relationship with the other cities that own this airport."

'Time to Stop Bickering'

Kelsey said Gee's behavior Monday convinced her that Gee should be removed from the panel. "When I voted to keep her the last time, I said it was time to stop the bickering and get something done. It doesn't seem to me that it's gone that way at all. The airport is a large, large corporation, and they spend two hours arguing over minutes."

Defending her actions Wednesday, Gee said, "I know that it's a concern that fussing over the minutes is trivia, but I know that what is recorded in the minutes is the official record of what has or has not transpired at the authority, and that is very, very big business."

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