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The Los Angeles city council voted today to move ahead with a controversial, $4.8 billion dollar improvement plan for L.A. International Airport. The project includes moving a runway closer to nearby homes. That decision angers some residents.
Under the plan, LAX's northern-most runway will be moved a couple of hundred feet away from the central terminal, closer to the communities of Westchester and Playa Del Rey. That will allow for the construction of a taxi lane that could accommodate large airplanes like the airbus 380.
SEIU union organizer David Huerta says his group, on behalf of many members that serve LAX, will continue to explore legal challenges to stop the runway expansion.
"Those four thousand workers deserve to have a voice in this process because what happens at the airport directly affects them, the health of themselves because they live in the surrounding community."
Unlike City of Los Angeles workers, whose raises have been blamed for the city’s dire finances, county workers haven’t received a cost-of-living raise in five years—a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars that has helped preserve programs and save jobs. The unions agreed to the arrangement so long as the money would begin to flow once the county’s finances were back on track. Union leaders are wasting no time holding the county to its word; Fujioka said his office already has begun negotiating with public safety unions.
For the most part, the new spending plan holds the line on departmental budgets that have been pared back during the past five years, recommending only small spending increases or none at all. “We’re not going to quickly and blindly restore people” to departments without a specific need, Fujioka said during a morning news conference.
Fujioka also cautioned that unforeseen budget pressures could arise from the full implementation next year of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the continuing implementation of a massive transfer of responsibilities from the state to the county for supervision of ex-California prison inmates.