The fight between City Los Angeles officials, activists and the  Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) Round Table with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), over the FAA's program Nextgen, continues on several fronts.

City Attorney Mike Feurer and a group of lawyers dedicated to this issue, have a window of opportunity to sue the FAA and have been negotiating with them for nearly six months. Rumor has it they will have come to a decision with, one assumes, either a lawsuit or a substantial, effective change in the routes of the flightpath, by July.  They are unwilling to discuss their plans and are asking activists and City officials to trust they will make a decision that is not merely a token solution but one that effectively relieves the suffering of the people the City is supposed to protect. If they cannot get a good result we are assuming they will sue the FAA. The FAA claimed no significant impact on the environment. This is easily proven to be inaccurate.

Some of that trust was eroded when a letter was discovered showing the City attorney asking, (some might say begging) the FAA for a 5000 foot altitude between 1 and 5 a.m. west of the West Adams community.  This does nothing for West Adams and frankly very little for anyone else since the real problem is in the relentless low flying daytime and evening flights that last till 1 am. No documents are found that show the City Attorney fighting for the 6,000 ft altitude promised by the FAA east of the West Adams community, who now endure flights that average in the low 4,000’s and often lower as they fly overhead from the ocean to downtown L.A.. There they turn around and join incoming flights from the east headed to landing. Solving the 6,000 ft altitude east of West Adams automatically solves the problem west of them.

City officials, Eric Garcetti, Herb Wesson, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mike Bonin have punted to the City Attorney and LAWA Roundtable (a group of officials and residents who liaison between the airport and the community around problems created by LAX on surrounding communities) and wait for progress there.

Activists have rallied. Unsatsified with either the behind the scenes bargaining going on without their knowledge or input, and the lack of representation or substantial progress in moving real solutions forward in the LAWA talks with the FAA, they have taken two major actions. Concerned that the Mayor had not taken a sincere enough, hard stand on the issue, along with photo’s and articles of him showing support for an expanded airport, activists organized a protest in front of his home on an early Saturday morning.  (Video of the event can be viewed on youtube, search NEXTGEN FAA Protest Los Angeles May 4, 2019 Mayor Garcetti's Residence)  Although only approximately 15 people showed up, the protest was focused. People shared their misery in a bullhorn with one woman breaking down in tears over the havoc it has created for her and her young daughter who can no longer sleep a full night.  The protest was small but mighty and resulted in the Mayor agreeing to meet with some of the protesters. This meeting will happen by early July and the activists are prepared with a list of asks, any one of which will indicate the Mayor is deeply committed to the cause.

The activists also inserted themselves into the LAWA Roundtable and presented the noise ad hoc committee with a proposal designed to bring the flights up higher and out further before they turned. It was summarily dismissed under the premise that any solution cannot affect any other communities. This got a strong reaction from members of the audience and concern from a few board members. A board member reminded everyone that this did not mean the Board would not hear the proposal.  The Ad Hoc committee can only recommend or not recommend actions. They do not represent the board. Outside the meeting, during a discussion with the FAA representative, who is now mandated to come to these meetings, it was indicated that if the Board recommended the solution to the FAA, they would consider and research. The FAA is notorious for going through the motions and in the end rejecting efforts but it is the Boards responsibility to send the FAA requests. A board member has volunteered to reintroduce the proposal at the next Roundtable meeting in July. Stay tuned and go to our website for more articles on this issue.

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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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