- Written by Ken Alpern
15 Feb 2013
GETTING THERE FROM HERE -Bill Rosendahl remains a Bridgebuilder Extraordinaire, as I’ve stated before in CityWatch, and he’s not let his health problems prevent him from playing a major role in the decades-overdue modernization of LAX.
There’s a very good reason why so many of the different neighborhoods of the sprawling CD11 Westside District love Bill Rosendahl—throughout the broad spectrum of regions and individuals from the Westside, from conservatives to liberals, he truly listens to and cares for his constituents.
And Bill empowers his constituents—a concept that is sadly lost on so many current and wannabe Downtown pols—and which endears him even to Westside residents who may not always agree with him, because he respects both those who agree and who disagree with him, and will fight for all of them.
Early in his career as a Councilman, Bill showed no hesitation in fighting the good fight to fix LAX. He also wanted to play a major role in transportation, and leapt into everything from fighting for more funds for traffic improvements and road repairs, to create a regional (Southern California, not just L.A.) rail and airport system, and to pass Measure R as a way to help fund all of this.
A huge part of the reason why Mayor Villaraigosa and Metro were successful in getting Measure R passed is because of Bill Rosendahl. A huge part of the reason that MetroRail is getting ever-closer to an Expo Line, Wilshire Subway and LAX connection is because of Bill Rosendahl.
Unfortunately, his affable personality and his desire to seek compromise and common ground didn’t always get the respect and appreciation from Downtown and other Southern California regions that Bill deserved. To his credit, however, his desire to fight (health matters be damned!) and his always upbeat approach has left him with more “cred” and respect than any and all of those who disparaged him.
So it is bittersweet but of no surprise that Councilman Rosendahl, “termed out” not because of legal limits but a cruel health setback, is still pushing to fix LAX with as much intelligence and positive solutions as when he started his political career.
There are six modernization points that Bill Rosendahl is pushing to the City Planning Commission on Thursday, February 14, 2013 (before this piece is published):
1) Modernization yes; expansion, no. There is no operational or safety-related necessity to move any runways north.
“Creating jobs” is a nice talking point in promoting LA World Airports’ obsession to move the runways north and smash into the Westchester commercial district, but if LAWA’s leadership so chooses it can have contractors knock down their own homes for no good reason and rebuild them to “create jobs”. There are plenty of good jobs that can be created for efficient and effective reasons…but not this!
2) Developing a real and substantive regional air traffic strategy for all of Southern California’s airports, including LA/Ontario International Airport.
This means not only emulating the Burbank Airport/Metrolink connection at LA/Ontario Airport, but creating an attractive destination for national and international flights at LA/Ontario Airport. It’s no secret that Orange County and Inland Empire residents HATE traveling through LAX, and Westsiders HATE having them use LAX if closer airports exist for these Orange/Riverside/San Bernardino County residents.
(A critical link would be the purchase of a north-south right-of-way for a Metrolink line—perhaps adjacent and parallel to the I-15 freeway—between the 91-freeway-paralleling Metrolink line and the east-west lines next to L.A./Ontario Airport, which would allow car commuters and airport commuters direct access to L.A. Ontario Airport, and for better access between Orange County and the Inland Empire.)
3) Connecting the Crenshaw and Green Lines directly into the Central Terminal Area, with an Automated People Mover to transport passengers directly to the terminals.
A true no-brainer, despite the expense, if any there was one. The more direct and close to the terminals the LAX/MetroRail stop is, the smaller and cheaper the LAWA-operated People Mover needs to be. Those of us who remember the Green Line Interagency Task Force set up by Bill Rosendahl shortly after taking office shouldn’t be surprised by Bill’s push for a first-rate MetroRail/LAX connection.
4) Quickly finishing installation of Runway Status Lights at all runway intersections at LAX.
5) Fully staff the FAA Control Tower at LAX with the 47 certified controllers recommended by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, not the current levels of 37 controllers.
In other words, do the obvious operational improvements to establish a safe and smooth operational system at LAX, but not waste over a billion dollars smashing and rebuilding the northern half of LAX. If LA World Airports really wants to spend a billion dollars, it can help fund the aforementioned Crenshaw/Green Line MetroRail connection to LAX.
6) Meet with local airport stakeholders and to the neighbors surrounding LAX to build a world-class airport that is a first-class neighbor.
As aforementioned, representing and caring for constituents and neighbors, even when they don’t agree, is a trait championed by Rosendahl but often belittled by Downtown and some LAX-related interests who don’t think much of “lower lifeforms” that comprise the electorate of the City of the Angels, including the citizens of Westchester who’ve too-often been dismissed as a mob of rubes and NIMBY’s. (They’re not!)
The fact remains that the Century Blvd. Corridor and the adjacent hotel/business districts along both Century and Sepulveda Blvds are excellent locations for densification and commercial growth, and LAX should enhance, not threaten, their profitability and economic value both to the local merchants as well as to the City of LA.
Much of the reason I have endorsed and supported Mike Bonin, currently Bill Rosendahl’s chief of staff, in the upcoming CD11 race is that Mike’s style and strategy mirrors Bill in many ways (it’s not the like the two of them don’t talk!), and Mike’s transportation/economic plan is as close to a continuation and even upgrade of Bill’s plans as one could ever hope.
Mike didn’t want to jump into Bill’s political seat any quicker than State Senator Ted Lieu did for former Assemblyman Mike Gordon when that latter individual also had health problems—but look at how wonderful a career Ted has had in representing the Westside and South Bay.
It is my hope and prayer that Bill Rosendahl will be around for many years to come, to both grace us with his presence and raise hell like only he can, and Bill’s current LAX recommendations is the strategy that makes the most sense to those of us who have followed LAX politics for the past 10-15 years.
Let’s hope the City Planning Commission and City Council see the light and support Rosendahl’s wise recommendations.
And let’s hope that Mike Bonin is the man who will oversee the implementation of those recommendations.
Vol 11 Issue 14
Pub: Feb 15, 2013