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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022
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Separate Airport Board Sought

The Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council has formed an ad hoc committee to look into creating a separate board of commissioners for the Valley airfield. The proposal originates from frustrations that recommendations from the advisory council are ignored by the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, the appointed body that oversees Van Nuys, Los Angeles International and LA/Ontario International airports. The committee will work to bring together broad-based support from both the aviation and non-aviation communities, said Don Schultz, the chairman. “What we want are the elected officials to feel this is the right thing after decades of being ignored,” Schultz said. Joining Schultz on the committee are advisory council members Ron Merkin and Elliot Sanders. Schultz has served on the council for 25 years and in the past has brought up having a separate airport commission for Van Nuys but the timing had not been right. The council discussed the concept in April but took no action on addressing it with city council members who were busy dealing with the city budget mess. At a more recent advisory council meeting members voted 13-2 in favor of the concept of a separate commission. Creating a new airport commission would require a change in the Los Angeles city charter, a lengthy and expensive process. Schultz, however, believes it is important to find out just how much backing there will be for the idea. Tenants at the airport would likely be on board because of the length of time it has taken for some leases to be negotiated by LAWA staff and then approved by the airport commissioners. There have been some instances of leases taking years to complete. “If there is not broad based support this will die if the council does not feel it is worthwhile to pursue,” Schultz said. — Mark R. Madler

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