Leaders of anti-noise groups and state legislators are working together to challenge the makeup of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority as a method to thwart plans for the expansion of Burbank Airport.
Richard Close of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. and Tom Paterson of the North Hollywood Residents Assn. said they want to amend existing legislation to put more members representing Burbank on the authority. They also want representation for Los Angeles residents affected by noise. Three members each from Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena sit on the panel.
They said Glendale and Pasadena representatives have been unresponsive to residents near the airport who have complained about noise from airplanes flying over their homes.
"The way it's structured now, the people who are most affected by the airport have no real power in the decision-making governing the airport," Paterson said. "Burbank should exercise primary control of that airport. After all, it's in their city. It's an idea whose time has come."
Anti-noise advocates have approached Assemblymen Richard Katz (D-Sylmar) and Terry B. Friedman (D-Los Angeles), as well as Burbank officials, in their efforts.
Friedman, who represents Studio City and Sherman Oaks, said he is drafting legislation to change the board's composition.
"The interests of Los Angeles and Burbank residents have to be protected," he said. "The majority of the authority (has) been so unresponsive to my constituents that I would oppose any expansion of the airport. We should all equally share the burdens and the benefits of the airport."
But there is already uncertainty and opposition to the suggestion.
"This is just a game that these people have played time and time again," said Carl Mesick, who represents Glendale on the board. "The bottom line is, they just want to shut Burbank Airport down. This is nothing new."
Even Burbank officials doubt that the shift would work.
Burbank City Councilwoman Mary Lou Howard, who is on the airport board, said: "We've thought about doing this before--becoming full owners of the airport and buying the other cities out. I would not be opposed to it, but I don't believe the other cities are willing for Burbank to control this airport."
Burbank Mayor Robert R. Bowne said: "The fact that the city does have the airport within its boundaries does make it reasonable for Burbank to have more influence, but I'm not about to start a crusade over it. I'm not sure it could ever happen."
The three cities purchased the airport from Lockheed Corp. in 1978 for $51 million. Under state law, a joint-powers agreement was established by the three cities to set up the airport authority. Each city appoints three representatives to serve on the authority, and each city has equal responsibility for the facility's operation.
Close and Paterson complained that Glendale and Pasadena commissioners don't care about the airport's impact on Burbank. They cited a recent authority decision rejecting the Burbank City Council's request to switch authority meetings from morning to evening so that more residents could attend.
They said Glendale and Pasadena have refused to share noise from planes routed over Burbank and other areas of the San Fernando Valley and have been indifferent to complaints about flight patterns.
Proposed New Terminal
Those same residents are now worried about the size of a proposed new terminal, the added noise from an increased number of flights, and the effects such changes will have on community traffic and development.
"Burbank Airport is being run for the benefit of Pasadena and Glendale and to the detriment of Burbank," Close said. "These cities look upon the airport as a spark plug for business and convenient transportation for their residents. Only Los Angeles and Burbank see the harm the airport is causing. It's not fair that Burbank can't control its own destiny."
David Robinson, a commissioner representing Pasadena, disagreed. "The duty of each commissioner is not to be responsive to a city, but to do what's right for the airport. The authority is a separate public entity. I feel the commission is responsive to Burbank's concerns, and to the concerns of other cities."