Airport Official Admits to Excluding Burbank : Council: Authority President Carl W. Raggio Jr. says he kept city off key panel because of its opposition to expansion.


Upping the volume in their ongoing war of words, a top Burbank Airport official acknowledged freezing out the city from a key committee created to acquire land for expansion.

In a letter, Airport Authority President Carl W. Raggio Jr. told Burbank officials he deliberately excluded the city from a negotiating team because the Burbank City Council had forbidden Burbank-appointed Airport Authority members to talk about acquiring land until a mandatory curfew was in place.

The Burbank City Council has pledged to block airport expansion, long sought by the Airport Authority, until a mandatory curfew limiting jet noise is imposed on commercial flights.


Council members, angered over the three-page letter, charged at a meeting Tuesday that Raggio is exceeding his authority as president and trying to circumvent the democratic process under which the authority should operate.

“The letter just shows the utter disdain the Airport Authority has for the Burbank City Council,” Councilman Ted McConkey said. “Clearly they are trying to cut our commissioners out of the process.”

McConkey said Wednesday he will recommend that the council file a Brown Act, or open meetings, challenge with the state Fair Political Practices Commission at the next council meeting.

Raggio’s letter was a response to one from Mayor Dave Golonski, which stated the council’s displeasure with the lack of Burbank representation on the negotiating committee and the authority’s failure to notify Burbank commissioners of a meeting of the group until after it was held.

On Wednesday, Raggio said the committee was an informal group that met only once, about six weeks ago, with owners of a parcel of land the authority was interested in as part of the airport expansion plan.

“They wanted to know what was happening with the expansion and I told them that we are pretty much at a standstill,” said Raggio, who was joined by Glendale Commissioners Carl Meseck, Robert Garcin and Joyce Streator of Pasadena.


“Whether the council likes it or not, we are still a separate governmental agency,” Raggio said.

The expansion calls for the 163,000-square-foot terminal to nearly triple in size by 1998, adding five aircraft gates to the current 14. By 2010, an additional 205,000 square feet of space would be added as well as eight more aircraft gates.

Burbank Airport is operated by the Airport Authority under a Joint Powers Agreement that provides that the authority be governed by a commission of nine members, with each city appointing three.

Although the Burbank City Council does not have direct power over the Airport Authority’s actions, it may dismiss the city’s three airport commissioners at any time and appoint new representatives in their places.

And as part of the JPA, Burbank, like the other cities, can block major changes such as the proposed expansion.