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Bremberg and Burbank Official Exchange Barbs on Airport Issue

January 07, 1988|T.W. McGARRY and MARTHA WILLMAN | Times Staff Writers

Burbank Airport Commissioner Mary Lou Howard and Glendale Mayor Ginger Bremberg traded barbed remarks this week over Bremberg's statement that Burbank "groveled" for help from Glendale to keep the airport alive in 1978.

"That's an outrageous statement," Howard said at a meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday.

"I am offended by that statement. I don't think Burbank ever groveled to Glendale."

Fellow commissioners suggested that perhaps news reports had misquoted Bremberg, but Howard brushed them off.

"No, I know the mayor of Glendale, and I can just imagine her making that statement," snapped Howard, who is also a Burbank city councilwoman and was mayor of Burbank in 1985-86.

Mayor Confirms Remark

The authority president, Robert Garcin--himself a former mayor of Glendale in 1978-79 and 1982-83--ended the discussion by telling Howard that because she knows Bremberg, she should express her annoyance to her directly "rather than indirectly through this commission."

Bremberg, when asked for comment, said Howard "wasn't on the Burbank City Council at the time" and "doesn't have any idea of what went on."

"In the thesaurus, grovel is another word for beg, and beg is another word for grovel, and that's what they did."

Bremberg, who was elected to the Glendale City Council in 1981, said she was sitting in the audience in 1977 when Burbank officials "came begging" for Glendale's aid when the three cities agreed to buy the airport in 1978 from the Lockheed Corp. to keep the facility from closing. Howard was elected to the Burbank council in 1979.

Bremberg, annoyed at what she regards as a high-handed attempt by Burbank officials to exert greater control over the airport, last week offered to sell Glendale's share of the airport to Burbank.

Burbank officials responded that they might take her up on the offer.

Except for a small area that stretches into the City of Los Angeles, the airport is in Burbank.

Willing to Negotiate Sale

Bremberg complained last week that when the airport was in danger of closing 10 years ago, "Burbank came to us on bended knee and groveled for our help. Now they want to get terribly involved and try to control it. . . . We are more than willing to negotiate the sale of our one-third interest back to the City of Burbank."

In an unrelated action, the airport authority voted to declare formally that its three standing committees--on legal affairs, operations and finance--are limited to giving advice to the authority as a whole, which must make all final decisions.

The declaration was made on the advice of the authority's lawyers, after Howard and Burbank City Atty. Douglas C. Holland questioned whether the committees violated the Brown Act. The act, a state law, requires legislative bodies to make decisions only in public sessions.

A spokesman for the authority said the committees always had been limited to offering advice, but it was decided that their role should be spelled out in a formal motion.

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