Seeking A Compromise In The Expansion Of Livermore Municipal Airport

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Airport meeting to air plans Committee Will Seek Compromise On Expansion Proposal
By Mike White
The Tri-Valley (CA) Herald

LIVERMORE — A new committee will meet for the first time next month with a mission of seeking a compromise in the expansion of Livermore Municipal Airport. On Monday night, the Livermore City Council appointed 21 people to the Airport Master Plan Update Advisory Committee. The panel is made up of expansion opponents, pilots and representatives from surrounding cities, and is expected to return with a recommendation before the end of the year.

The committee will be chaired by Lorraine Dietrich, a Livermore City Council member, and Cecil Brewer, representing the Livermore Chamber of Commerce.

Dietrich said she and Brewer are seeking to get support materials to the new members before the first meeting July 14.

Two of the new members, both of whom were appointed by the Airport Advisory Commission, may have a conflict of interest if they work together, said Councilman Mark Beeman, who abstained from voting for the two people. Otherwise, the appointments were unanimous.

Dietrich said at the first meeting, she will discuss possible conflicts of interests with the new members. If there are any conflicts, the council could make adjustments to the committee.

“When it starts to look like the committee is loaded with members who have a conflict of interest, I don’t think you are sending the right message,” Beeman said.

Committee members will take public testimony and listen to experts on airport issues. They will make recommendations to the City Council about what, if any, changes should be made to the controversial airport master plan update.

The draft master plan, which projects flights increasing from 257,500 in 2001 to 370,000 by 2020, has triggered intense debate among those who live near the airport in western Livermore, eastern Dublin and Pleasanton. The Livermore City Council has agreed to suspend the update process pending the conclusion of the new committee’s work.

The council also unanimously agreed to increased rates for customers of Waste Management garbage service. Effective July 1, residential and commercial garbage rates will increase by 11.4 percent. Responding to residents who described the increase as too high, Dietrich said the increase will be phased in over two years, thus the increase for each year will be less than 6 percent. The increased rates are due in part to higher fuel costs, she said.