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ROAR initiative appeal denied

Ryan Carter

An appeals court has apparently sealed the fate of an initiative

crafted by residents to limit flights and expansion at Burbank-

Glendale-Pasadena Airport.


The three-judge panel of the state’s 2nd Appellate District ruled

last week that the city’s discretionary power trumps the initiative

known as Measure A, the Restore Our Airport Rights initiative, or



The measure passed in October 2001 with 58% of the vote. It called

for mandatory flight curfews and restrictions on facility expansion.

The vote capped years of controversy between the city, the airport

and Burbank residents over who ultimately controls the airport and

its expansion. But a week later, the city of Burbank sued the

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority and a Los Angeles

Superior Court judge ruled the measure unconstitutional.

Last year, however, a judge ruled that Burbank resident Mike Nolan


-- a supporter of the measure -- could intervene in the lawsuit to

appeal the lower court’s decision. Nolan argued that the measure was

legal and that the city had to enforce the terms of the measure.

Neither Nolan nor his attorneys could be reached for comment on

the decision. But others saw the decision as a surprise and a blow to

the referendum process.

“When the citizens of a community get together and by initiative

say to the City Council, ‘This is what we want,’ that should trump


the ability of the city to step in and fight their own residents,”

said Ted McConkey, a measure supporter and former city councilman.

City officials said they were forced into the lawsuit to get a

judge’s legal direction on the matter.

“We went to court initially because we found ourselves between a

rock and a hard place,” City Atty. Dennis Barlow said. “If we

followed Measure A, the airport said they would sue us. If we didn’t,

we were concerned about violating a local initiative. That was a very

difficult position.”

Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the authority has been only an

interested observer since it chose not to contest the original city

lawsuit because the authority agreed the measure was not legal and

that it should not mount a defense.

“We really have not, through the duration of this, commented on it

at all because we were not a party to it,” he said. “Whatever process

that ensued has apparently reached its conclusion.”

It was not known Wednesday if Nolan will appeal to the California

Supreme Court.