Nominee for Los Angeles Airport Panel Spurs Query

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Nominee for Airport Panel Spurs Query
By Jennifer Oldham
The Los Angeles (CA) Times

The Los Angeles councilman who heads the committee overseeing the airports asked City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo on Tuesday whether a nominee to the Airport Commission had a conflict of interest. Playa del Rey resident Valeria Velasco, whom Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa named to the commission this week, is also president of an organization that is suing the city over its $11-billion modernization plan for LAX.

Councilman Tony Cardenas, in a letter, asked whether any potential conflict would be eliminated if Velasco resigned from the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.

He also asked whether her being president of the group when the lawsuit was filed presented a conflict.

In addition, the councilman requested an opinion on the extent to which Velasco would be required to excuse herself from discussions involving the modernization plan and the lawsuit, if her role constituted a conflict.

The City Council must consider the mayor’s nominees within 45 days.

Cardenas also asked whether, if Velasco is found to have a conflict, it would preclude the entire commission from discussing airport litigation, requiring that the matter be sent instead to the Board of Referred Powers.

Velasco, in an e-mail to The Times, said, “Right now, I am not at liberty to discuss if, or when, I will resign.”

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