Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Will LA Mayoral Candidate's Sharp Divergence On LAX Expansion Provide Clarity For Voters?

For voters looking to differentiate between the two candidates vying to be Los Angeles' next mayor, Eric Garcetti's surprise announcement against LAX airport expansion may prove to be a significant factor, especially for voters on the West Side.

 From the LA Times:

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti came out Monday against a plan to move the northernmost runway at Los Angeles International Airport, putting him in line with neighborhood activists near LAX and at odds with one of the city's biggest business groups.

Garcetti said he supports an array of LAX construction projects favored by airport officials, including new terminal space and an "automated people mover" to transport passengers to a light rail station. But the city councilman plans to vote against pushing the runway 260 feet closer to homes in Westchester and Playa del Rey, according to campaign spokesman Jeff Millman.

The $652-million runway proposal is supported by the Coalition to Fix LAX Now, a group that includes the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Both have endorsed City Controller Wendy Greuel, Garcetti's opponent in the May 21 runoff election.

The LAX proposals are expected to reach the council later this year. In a statement, Millman called the roughly $4-billion package of airport projects favored by Garcetti "the environmentally superior option." It excludes the runway shift and a plan to realign Lincoln Boulevard near LAX, both of which were recommended by airport officials.
At KNBC-TV's mayoral debate in January, Wendy Greuel was unequivocal in her support of moving the North runway 260 feet closer to Westchester homes.

Watch the video:

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

But according to the Times, yesterday Greuel was less specific about where she stood on LAX expansion. Greuel's spokeswoman Shannon Murphy stated that "Wendy believes we need to move forward in making LAX more competitive and safe and she believes the residents who make the area around LAX their home deserve to be heard."

On February 4th, the LA Weekly reported Greuel had tried to privately walk back the remarks she made at the televised debate, but anti-expansion activists were unmoved by her assurances.

"We're not buying anything that doesn't say, 'Don't move the runway,'" said Denny Schneider, President of ARSAC (Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion).

"And it must be a public statement, not just a private one. The other statement was certainly made in public. To give us private assurances is not enough."

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