Long Beach : Two Airlines Escape Ban on Late Flights

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday not to adopt a ban on late-night flights by two airlines that have frequently violated noise standards at Long Beach Airport.

But Councilman Edd Tuttle, prompted by frustrations about the airport's operation, proposed that a three-member council committee be formed to address issues involving the airport. The council is to vote in two weeks on forming such a panel.

"I think we have some problems at the airport," said Tuttle, the prime council critic of airport noise. He said such a committee could study airport issues and develop more specific policy guidelines for managers of the facility.

The ban on flights by Jet America and PSA airlines was first proposed by airport officials in January, but the council put off a decision at the time because of fears that a ban would prompt a legal battle.

Since then, officials from the airport and the two airlines have met and agreed to measures to solve the problems that caused the noisy flights, most of which involved jets arriving after 10:30 p.m., when the airport's noise standards become more strict. That tougher standard lasts until 7 a.m.

Among the measures, the two airlines have scheduled evening flights at earlier hours so jets have a greater buffer before the nighttime noise standard begins. In addition, airline personnel receive daily noise readings so they can more closely monitor the performance of both pilots and planes.

Although no ban was adopted, a report on how well the airlines comply with city noise standards is to be delivered to the council in six months.

Low-income residents of eight Long Beach neighborhoods can draw upon $2.3 million in federally funded programs for help improving their homes and yards. The city is offering $2 million in low-interest loans to homeowners who want to upgrade their property--and payment will not be due until the house is sold or transferred. A maximum of $25,000 can be borrowed by each owner.

The city also offers up to $500 to help buy paint, sandpaper, putty, stucco and other supplies; loans to $5,000 per apartment to landlords who want to refurbish rental units; tool rentals; free graffiti paint-outs, and free neighborhood dumpsters for residents who need to dispose of weeds, tree branches or other refuse.

The target neighborhoods are Ramona Park, North Long Beach, Sutter School, Arlington, Drake Park, Washington School, Franklin School and East Central. Information on specific boundaries and application procedures can be obtained by calling 590-6866.

The Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center has changed its general telephone number to 494-2611.

The new number is the result of completion of the year-long installation of a $2.5-million computerized telephone system. The new system allows direct calls to clinics, wards, the pharmacy and administration, bypassing the medical center switchboard.

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