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L.A. in Holding Pattern Over Joining Airport Authority

June 27, 1987|DOUG SMITH | Times Staff Writer

For the second time this year, a Los Angeles City Council committee Friday failed to decide whether the city should consider joining the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, chairwoman of the Industry and Economic Development Committee, told city staff members that the committee still doesn't have enough information to reach a decision.

Although Los Angeles has twice declined membership on the independent authority that runs Burbank Airport, Councilman Joel Wachs revived the question in January.

More Influence

Wachs asked the city attorney to determine whether joining the authority could give the city more influence in decisions affecting noise in Los Angeles neighborhoods caused by jets taking off from the East Valley airport.

In April, Deputy City Atty. William L. Waterhouse told the committee that voting membership would give the city a greater voice on the authority, but cautioned against assuming that greater protection against noise would necessarily follow.

At the time, Flores asked the city administrative office to come up with a clear recommendation.

However, in a report delivered at Friday's meeting, City Administrative Officer Keith Comrie said the department could not make a recommendation without knowing more clearly what the council wants.

The question, Comrie wrote, is "whether to mitigate the noise impact of the airport, or to pursue a broader balance of interrelated issues" such as air pollution, ground transportation, land use and balancing the region's air transport services among Southland airports.

Comrie said that, if the city wants only to deal with noise, it should probably continue other avenues, such as its involvement in a federally mandated noise study being conducted by the authority.

He said further study would be required, however, if the city wants to influence decisions on all matters.

Comrie listed three areas that need study before the city could begin to negotiate with the authority for admission:

Risks to the city from pending legislation affecting the airport.

Current and planned financial obligations underlying support of the authority.

Organization of the authority, including selection of members, hiring practices and collective bargaining agreements.

"I don't think we have enough information at this point to say it's worth the time and the effort to go ahead," Flores said.

She asked the staff to spend 30 days preparing a "matrix" of issues that would "make it a little easier for us."

The meeting will be the committee's last before a City Council reorganization Wednesday, when new committee assignments will be made.

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