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El Segundo Council Rebuffs Mayor on LAX

August 20, 1987|SEBASTIAN ROTELLA | Times Staff Writer

Four El Segundo city councilmen this week rejected Mayor Jack Siadek's claim that he spoke for them when he told Los Angeles International Airport officials that the council approved of an airline's plan to fly out of LAX's Imperial terminal.

Siadek, who was at a seminar in Colorado, did not attend Tuesday night's council meeting and could not be reached for comment.

He has been criticized about his role in MGM Grand Aviation's efforts to use the terminal directly across Imperial Highway from the northern edge of El Segundo. Although city officials and residents have been fighting for more than 10 years to shut down Imperial terminal because of aircraft noise, Siadek said last week that he spoke for the council when he appeared before the LAX board on MGM's behalf.

"The council has never voted for or authorized resolution of the city's conflicts with the airport by approving of or agreeing to the MGM proposal to use Imperial terminal at any time," said City Atty. Leland Dolley, reading from a statement unanimously approved in closed session Tuesday by Councilmen H. R. (Bob) Anderson, Carl Jacobson, Keith Schuldt and Alan West.

The council met in closed session Tuesday because the city is considering its legal options against the airport to stop MGM's plan to begin two flights a day from the Imperial terminal to New York starting Sept. 8, according to the statement.

The statement did not mention Siadek, but it was a clear rebuff of his version of events concerning Imperial terminal.

Siadek told the Board of Airport Commissioners on Dec. 3 that the council had approved MGM's plan for scheduled service out of Imperial, which is currently used by charter flights.

Acting largely on Siadek's testimony, the board gave tentative approval to MGM's proposal for up to 10 flights a day to New York and London from Imperial terminal. The luxury airline has spent more than $1 million refurbishing the terminal. Commissioners will decide whether to grant MGM operating authority when an environmental impact study being contested by El Segundo is completed.

Vote Claimed

Siadek has been on the defensive since MGM executive Mark Nathanson said at a public hearing July 28 that Siadek told him last year that the council had voted 3 to 2 in favor of MGM. No such vote occurred and Siadek denied Nathanson's statement.

But Siadek also argued last week that divulging contents of closed council sessions would prove that council members agreed with him at the time that the airline's plans to mitigate noise were the best option for Imperial. He also said the attacks on him for "selling out" to MGM were politically motivated.

In interviews last week, Councilman West agreed with Siadek, but Schuldt and Jacobson said the council records would show that Siadek did not speak for the council. Anderson was on vacation until Tuesday.

Citing the possibility that the city may sue the airport, Jacobson did not request public discussion of past council sessions concerning MGM, as he had earlier planned to do. But he expressed satisfaction with the council statement.

'United Front'

"Now we have to show a united front to the airport," Jacobson said.

At least three councilmen will join city staff in protesting the MGM plan at a Sept. 3 Board of Airport Commissioners hearing, Jacobson said.

Siadek reversed his position and began opposing MGM's plan last month. He said he changed his mind when he realized that MGM would not keep earlier promises to use quiet aircraft and take other noise mitigation steps. But Nathanson insisted last week that MGM's plan has not changed since he first met with Siadek in late 1986.

City officials said the possibility of a lawsuit against the airport will hinge on how LAX commissioners react to their complaints about an environmental impact study on the MGM plan.

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