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Backing a worthy cause

Ben Godar

Burbank-Glendale-Pas- adena Airport officials and council members

from each of the three cities that administer the joint powers

agreement are in support of a proposal to rename the airport in honor

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of the late Bob Hope.

Former Burbank Mayor Michael Hastings, accompanied by longtime

Hope publicist Ward Grant, proposed the name change at Tuesday

night’s Burbank City Council meeting. That same night, a Hastings

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associate suggested renaming the airport at the Glendale City Council

meeting.

Hastings, meanwhile, said he has spoken to members of the Pasadena

City Council and that they have been supportive of the idea.

“It’s a good cause,” Hastings said. “It’s one of those things you

feel good to be attached to.”

Hastings told the Burbank council that the project would be funded

privately, and that he would be willing to oversee all fund-raising

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efforts.

Hastings said the proposal has received the support of Hope’s

daughter, Linda, and the management of NBC, which had a more than

50-year relationship with Hope. The entertainer died Sunday at 100.

Since the three cities created the Airport Authority in 1977, the

airport’s name has been changed only once. In 1978, the cities voted

to amend their agreement and change the name from Hollywood Burbank

Airport to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport.

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Though it is not entirely clear what the exact process would be to

rename the airfield, Airport Authority President Charles Lombardo

said that precedent would likely dictate that city councils from each

of the three cities decide whether a name change is appropriate. But

if the proposal were to come before airport commissioners, Lombardo

said he would support renaming the airfield for Hope.

“I think it would be a great tribute to someone who probably flew

out of the airport more than anybody else,” he said.

Lombardo added that he did not believe changing the name would

cause people not to associate the airport with the Burbank area.

“They changed Santa Ana to John Wayne and nobody’s gotten lost

yet,” he said.

At its next meeting, the Burbank City Council plans to approve

letters to the other cities and Airport Authority expressing support

for the proposal, City Manager Mary Alvord said. Given that the

council asked for the item to be brought back for immediate action

instead of the usual two-step process, she is optimistic the process

could be a quick one.

“I think it will be something we will move on sooner rather than

later,” Alvord said.

During its 73-year history, the airport has also been known as the

Lockheed Air Terminal, Union Air Terminal and United Airport,

spokesman Victor Gill said.

This is not the first time it has been suggested that the airport

be named for a celebrity. The late radio personality Roger Barkley

once suggested the airport be named for Jimmy Stewart, and Gill said

in the mid-1980s a group of people also suggested it be named for

Hope.

“This comes up from time to time. We’ll have to see if it has legs

this time,” he said.


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