BACKGROUND ON CHAMBER POSITION ON LAX
The Deliberation Process: The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce has invested many thousands of man hours in an exhaustive process prior to taking a position regarding the design of the North Airfield and associated access proposals. This in addition to the Chamber’s institutional knowledge regarding LAX design issues from its prior involvement responding to LAWA proposals. Prior to even taking up the issue in the Summer of 2012, the Chamber had for several years actively participated in the Specific Plan Amendment Study (“SPAS”) process by attending every public hearing and also as an appointed member of the North Runway Safety Advisory Committee which produced the NASA Safety Study.
Our Airport Policy Ad Hoc Committee, first convened in 2001, was reassembled in response to the latest proposals and was intentionally comprised of a broad spectrum of stakeholders from local residents potentially impacted by the decision to businesses and organizations ranging from groups such as ARSAC to businesses with an interest in the outcome of the process.
The Ad Hoc Committee was put to the task of a complete review of all of the many thousands of pages of documentation. The Committee convened numerous meetings to discuss the members’ findings and how the Chamber could best influence the process. On a monthly basis it reported on its progress to the Public Policy Committee, the Executive Committee and the full Board of Directors.
The consensus recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee were taken up and unanimously approved by the Executive Committee following which the matter was given the full attention of the Board of Directors in a Special Meeting. At that meeting, all positions including those provided to the Board in writing were provided to the Directors for their consideration. It should be noted that 17 of the 28 Directors live in Westchester or Playa del Rey. The Board approved support of Alternatives 1 and 9 with only two votes opposed.
The bottom line is that the position taken herein was fully vetted and we did our homework. We are proud that our commitment to knowing the facts comfortably exceeds the efforts made by many other groups who have also taken official positions.
Chamber Positions on LAX Proposals:
Throughout the many years of the process, the Chamber has been a steadfast protector of the community. Going back to 2001, the Chamber startled everyone when we opposed all three plans to vastly expand LAX to an over 100 million passenger airport.
The Chamber said no to Alternatives A, B and C.
The Chamber was the first to call for NASA to do a safety study of the north runways that was same as given to our neighbors on the south.
We were right to support Mayor Hahn’s Alternative D when others wanted to gamble they could do better. When approved by the City Council in 2004, Alt D called for the inboard “takeoff” runway to move south - away from the community - to accommodate a centerline taxiway. Of course, takeoffs are the noisiest of aircraft operations and they spread their peak noise over a much greater area than landings. The inboard runway accounts for 48% of all takeoffs by comparison to the runway that is proposed to move towards the community which only accounts for 1% of all takeoffs. Moving the inboard runway further south was a much better plan for noise in our community.
The truth is that the only reason any plan to move the runway north is on the table today is because the Settlement Agreement opened the door to reconsider the design of the North Airfield. But for the Settlement Agreement, Alt D was the plan that would have been built. We would not be left with the continuing prospect of any movement closer to our community.
The gamble made in opposing Alt D has now failed and some continue to want us to gamble again with no viable plan in place to change the votes of the City Council. This time around City and County leadership has made it clear that they are supportive of change and airport growth and modernization is a must. With years of community pressure and ignored political pledges behind us, the reality is that the Board of Airport Commissioners has voted to support Alternatives 1 and 9 and we see no likelihood that the City Council will adopt a policy of no improvements to the airfield. The airport is a regional asset, not just an asset of our community. Blind optimism is not a substitute for sound policy and compromise is the only rational choice.
We are not pleased with any movement north but we have chosen to work with the airport in favor of the compromise proposal. This alternative protects our community from the potential for losing homes and businesses that are threatened by an even larger runway move towards the community. We could not stand to see that happen and we are proud that our involvement in the process has helped stop a repeat of the 1970’s when homes and businesses were in fact lost. Just as importantly our involvement has placed bringing the Green Line to LAX front and center to the planning process to help solve traffic problems for years to come.
We must also understand and balance these impacts with LAX’ positive contribution to your neighbors right to good jobs! One in every eleven LAX security badged workers lives in 90045 or 90293. And that’s just the number of our neighbors working on-airport. Even more of our neighbors work at off-airport businesses that thrive on the trade and tourism it brings to us right here in Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista - from freight forwarding and international trade jobs, to local hotels, restaurants and other businesses that count on LAX. We also continue to be encouraged by LAWA’s work with the business community on the Northside land use proposal that will bring additional commercial and retail development and along with it more local jobs and new open space amenities for our community.
But for the Chamber’s involvement we would be fighting the runway being 350-400 feet closer. We stand by our decision to support Alternatives 1 and 9. We will fight for this community by ensuring we hold our leaders feet to the fire to mitigate the impacts and secure the maximum amount of concessions to improve the community. The compromise plan protects against the removal of any homes or businesses by limiting the movement of the north runway to less than the full 350 feet. We cannot control the future we can only help shape it. We hope the community will help the Chamber in our efforts to shape the future of LAX and our service area.
We thank these Chamber members for their extensive time and service on the Ad Hoc Committee:
David Voss, Chairman – Past Chamber Chairman (2003-04); Former Airport Commissioner; Chamber Director; PdR resident
Charles Bassett – President, L&R Group; Chamber Director
Tom Flintoft – Past Chamber Chairman (2009-10); Principal, Kindel Gagan; Westchester resident
Allie Gaffan – Director of Training & Development – Pacific Hotel Company; Chamber Director
Richard Lavoy – General Manager; Supershuttle – Chamber Director
Andy Loos – VP Development - Drollinger Properties
Silvano Merlo – Resident Manager – LA Airport Marriott; Chamber Director
Denny Schneider – President, ARSAC (2000-present); Local resident
Official remarks of the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce to the Board of Airport Commissioners on January 31, 2013 regarding SPAS DEIR:
“The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce supports Alternate 1 and 9, which we find to be the least intrusive alternative that still satisfies the need for improved airfield operations, safety and FAA compliance.
Essentially, there were 3 choices that could have been made by our organization: 1) Oppose the Airport 2) Support Full Movement or 3) Compromise.
Opposing the project gets our community nothing and is frankly is an unrealistic option for the future of LAX and the political climate of our city. Just saying “no” leaves no room for negotiation and allows the courts to settle the outcome of our area’s future.
Supporting the full movement of the north airfield at 350 feet would not only damage the business district but it would have a devastating impact on the community. We feel that quality of life is vital to a healthy community.
Compromise - We are gaining more through compromise of the airport than rejection of the project. These benefits would include the extension of the Green line into the airport, Consolidated Rental Car Facility and possible mitigation dollars for the entrances into LAX. The compromise reached by the Chamber ensures that the runway will be at least 140 feet further away from Westchester/Playa del Rey homes.
The LAX Coastal Area Chamber is unique in that our leadership has not only works in the area, but 17 of our 28 board members also live in our Chamber’s footprint.
We recognize the challenges encountered in managing a world-class airport and understand LAWA’s need to modernize the airport and improve the passenger experience, accommodate the new breed of aircraft and enhance the airport’s operational needs.
Our involvement with the airport early on helped encourage LAWA to select as its preferred alternative one with fewer impacts than the one the FAA, the Downtown Chamber, a majority of airport commissioners and many other groups have been advocating.
We see the connection of the Green Line to LAX as very important to our community and we believe it is unrealistic to believe that policy makers are prepared to tell the FAA and other political forces that there should be no move of the runway at all.
Measured against the prospect of 350 or more feet of movement which would meet all FAA Requirements, 260 feet meets FAA Requirements for all but a very limited set of foul weather conditions.
We are thankful LAWA staff for their work with the community despite the push by many strong, reputable advocates and airport commissioners to move the runway the full amount requested by the FAA.
We look forward to continuing to work with Gina Marie Lindsay and the Board of Airport Commissioners to help outline and prioritize the details of the projects mitigation dollars as we move the process forward.”
2013 Policy Pillars
The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce “Policy Pillars” is a living document that will continue to evolve and change. These positions are designed to set a framework when making decisions on policy, but are to be weighed with the inevitable changes of our community and business climate.
These positions were accepted in accordance with a vote by the board of directors on January 17, 2013.
The Chamber endorses tax policies that would enhance the competitiveness of our local businesses, such as business tax reforms that would make the City more comparable to surrounding cities so that our businesses are not put at an economic disadvantage and other reforms that would further business development and worker retention.
The Chamber supports policies that aim to maintain and increase the region’s booming tourism industry. With more than 25 million visitors coming to Los Angeles each year, the Chamber recognizes the industry’s importance to our region’s economic stability and growth.
The Chamber believes that a workforce equipped with the skills for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs is critical for the future of the region’s economy. The Chamber supports educational reforms that would bring increased community engagement, promote autonomy and entrepreneurship, and create a school system that fulfills the needs of employers for a highly skilled workforce.
The Chamber considers safety to be a top priority, and supports increasing the size and presence of our police and fire departments to allow for a decrease in response times and a reduction in crimes of all kinds.
The Chamber believes the modernization of LAX is long overdue as our airport continues to lag behind other major airports in reducing traffic congestion, improving facilities and accommodating the next generation of aircraft. To prevent our region from losing critical millions of dollars in international business, tourism, and the jobs tourism creates to other West Coast cities, the Chamber supports reinvigorating major improvements to the airport allowing LAX to begin serving the new class of global airplanes and travelers. The Chamber; however, supports modernization of LAX within the framework of protecting the community around it.
The Chamber believes that as the nation’s top trade gateway and the area with the most automobiles per capita, the region cannot afford to continue to ignore the effect that traffic congestion is having on our economy and quality of life. The Chamber supports policies that improve mobility and relieve congestion on our roads and freeways to maximize the region’s ability to move people and goods.
The Chamber supports policies that encourage smart growth planning that is transit-oriented for the appropriate placement of development, without displacing existing residential, commercial and industrial land uses that are significant to preservation of a healthy and appropriately designed jobs-housing balance.
Marina del Rey
The Chamber supports reasonable redevelopment of unincorporated Marina del Rey that is articulated by the certified Local Coastal Program, which establishes the appropriate mix of recreational boating facilities, residential units, visitor-serving facilities, office and commercial space, and open space. The Chamber supports redevelopment projects that serve to revitalize Marina del Rey according to the vision and standards of the certified LCP. The Chamber recognizes that Marina del Rey, which requires a mix of new and renovated improvements, is a vital tourist destination as well as recreational resource for the citizens of Los Angeles County. The Chamber supports redevelopment projects that provide needed new housing, improve the recreational and visitor-serving purposes, promote greater pedestrian access throughout the Marina, and advance boating opportunities, including the development of dry stack storage
The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce supports a positive environment in which businesses in our local area, city, region and state can continue to flourish and remain competitive. In addition to supporting its Economic Growth Policy Pillar, the Chamber supports the following:
- Sensible changes in state labor laws and regulations aimed at making the workplace easier to administer;
- Changes in tax policy that keep businesses competitive;
- Local efforts to implement roadway improvements, infrastructure projects and other construction in a way that impacts the fewest businesses as possible; and
- Revisions to the state’s workers’ compensation system to bring balance and fairness to what has become a contentious system.
Across the board, that the chamber opposes government mandated unionization and supports unionization as a worker’s choice.
The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to reduce our city’s dependence on dirty-burning coal, while at the same time moving toward renewable forms of energy. The Chamber supports recycling, conservation and green development, including the efforts of developers to earn LEED certifications for all new construction. The Chamber supports the efforts of Renew L.A. to convert trash into clean, renewable energy, alternative fuels and other useful products. The Chamber is also aware that it is critical for business attraction and retention to improve our existing infrastructure and find new, reliable sources for natural gas, water and other resources critical to the sustained growth of our community and economy.