To pay or not to pay

Karen S. Kim

BURBANK -- City Atty. Dennis Barlow will meet with the City Council in

closed session Tuesday to discuss possible litigation strategies

involving Southwest Airlines' refusal to reimburse Burbank for a plane

crash last year.

Burbank's request for Southwest Airlines to pay a reimbursement of

$40,891 -- the expense incurred by the city last March, when the

airline's Boeing 737 skidded off of the runway at Burbank airport and

came to rest on Hollywood Way -- was denied by airline officials Feb. 7.

Barlow has not advised the council on the matter and is still

searching for a legal statute that would require Southwest to pay

Burbank's bill, he said.

Southwest Airlines officials said the taxes the airline pays to

Burbank each year should cover the costs of last March's crash. The

airline paid $1.2 million in taxes to the city last year.

Councilman Bob Kramer said he hopes the city will continue to ask for

the reimbursement.

"I'm going to push to collect the money from Southwest, because I

think it's their responsibility," he said. "The battle is just

beginning."

Councilman David Laurell said he also supports the City Council

discussing the issue in an upcoming meeting.

"I personally think we should agendize it, and not because I think we

should aggressively go after Southwest for the money," he said. "We need

to be very clear in letting our residents and our businesses know why in

some instances people are billed for the destruction of private property.

"I think it's premature to either be lambasting Southwest or letting

them off the hook," he said.

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