Meeting With Howard : Homeowners Assail Airport Role of Garcin

Times Staff Writer

Representatives of several San Fernando Valley homeowner groups met with Burbank Mayor Mary Lou Howard Thursday to protest what they called the hostile actions and attitude of Robert Garcin, president of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

“Mr. Garcin is caustic, uncooperative, fails to follow through on his promises and is the wrong person to lead the authority,” Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., told Howard, who serves on the authority with Garcin. “If we are starting a new era of cooperation, then we need to have leadership which is going to be cooperative.”

Close alluded to Howard’s promise, after her appointment to the authority earlier this year, for better relations between the authority and homeowner groups fighting excessive airport noise.

Years of Complaints

The meeting, also attended by Burbank Airport Commissioner Margie Gee, was set up by Close and homeowner groups that for years have complained about airport noise and increased flights. They said they wanted to “educate” Howard and enlist her aid in their battle to decrease noise and potential airport expansion.

Howard listened attentively but declined to commit herself, saying only that she would try to be fair to homeowner groups. Howard added that she could not do anything about the groups’ unhappiness with Garcin, who recently was reelected as president of the authority.


Garcin had tried to address the grievances of the homeowner groups during a meeting last year, but since then the groups have claimed that he has been unresponsive. Garcin was appointed to the authority in 1978.

Howard, who has clashed with Garcin in the past, said Garcin was supported by the City of Glendale, which he represents on the commission, and the majority of the nine-member commission.

‘Only 1 Vote’

“Remember, I’m only one vote on the board,” Howard said.

The nine-member Airport Authority is composed of three members from each of the three cities that own the airport--Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena.

Close told Howard that she and Gee could have more power on the commission by exercising a “joint powers agreement,” which is part of commission policy. The agreement says that two commissioners from the same city can veto actions by the entire commission that are related to issuance of revenue bonds, noise in the airport area or policies that could “adversely affect the operation of the authority.”

Howard said that she would investigate the agreement.

Criticism Called Unfounded

Garcin, who was not invited to the meeting, said the criticism of him is unfounded. He said he had never made promises to the homeowner groups.

“Last year the homeowners and I met at Mr. Close’s house for a meeting, and I said then at the end of the meeting that I felt the discussion was positive,” Garcin said.

“But I have not been invited back to any other discussions, and now these people are taking potshots at me from afar. It’s just the rumblings of a disappointed minority.”