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Letters: Saving the Proud Bird

November 13, 2013
  • A display that features the exploits of aviatrix Amelia Earhart showcases some of the memorabilia at the Proud Bird restaurant in Los Angeles. Located beside the southernmost runway of LAX, the landmark eatery is set to shut its doors next month.
A display that features the exploits of aviatrix Amelia Earhart showcases… (Los Angeles Times )

Re "Proud Bird leaving LAX," Nov. 10

I am dismayed that Los Angeles World Airports and the U.S. Department of Transportation have placed the LAX-adjacent Proud Bird restaurant at risk of closing.

This is not just another restaurant; it is an irreplaceable tribute to those who defended our country during World War II and to the development of the postwar civil aviation industry. The restaurant and its grounds are also treasured as a museum (with no entrance fee and ample free parking).

Common sense suggests that continuing to collect $200,000 a year in rent from the restaurant, protecting the jobs of the workers and providing a forum for learning outweigh the alternative of shuttering the building and collecting no rent at all.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has wisely appointed new members to the airport commission. What a great opportunity they and our new mayor have to show they have the right stuff.

Marshall B. Grossman

Los Angeles

The Proud Bird's owner places part of the blame for his restaurant's impending closure on the city's living-wage ordinance, which requires him to pay his employees nearly $16 an hour. What is left out is how the restaurant has a sneaky method of gouging its customers to cover the cost of the living wage.

My family and I chose to have dinner there a few years ago because of its proximity to LAX. When the check came, we were shocked that the total was increased by 15%. A note printed at the bottom of the check informed us that this surcharge was due to the living-wage requirement. It further explained that it was not a gratuity, and we were admonished to tip accordingly.

In my opinion, the Proud Bird might be worth saving as a museum, but no one should be proud of it as a restaurant.

Norma Stewart


I find it ironic that when the government deems private property of historic value, it prevents the property owner from capitalizing on its full economic potential, but, when the government owns a historic property that it thinks can bring it and its bureaucrats more money, it's all about progress.

Allowing the Proud Bird owner to continue to pay $200,000 a year in rent — instead of the $500,000 federal regulators say is fair market value — is fair, especially for such an important piece of L.A.'s history.

David Rowe

Rolling Hills Estates


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