Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl has been elected as chairman of the Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA), a joint powers agency designed to regionalize air traffic throughout Southern California. The panel, established in 1984, became inactive in 2003, but a lawsuit settlement agreement last year ending LAX expansion caused the City of Los Angeles to lead efforts to revive SCRAA.
Rosendahl, elected by the panel on Thursday, January 11, pledged to revive the dormant organization and build consensus. “If we are to make significant gains in the name of regional aviation, we must work together to craft fair and equitable regional solutions,” Rosendahl said. “As chair, I will have the opportunity to ensure that this panel serves as an open, inclusive forum for communities throughout the Southern California region.”
Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom welcomed Rosendahl’s selection. “Bill’s focus on maximizing the use of all regional airport facilities is sensible and I’m sure he’ll make an effective chair of the airport authority,” Bloom told the Mirror.
SCRAA only has jurisdiction regarding commercial airports and not general aviation airports like Santa Monica (SMO); nevertheless, Bloom said the panel “can have an impact. The focus in Santa Monica and areas adjacent to SMO is on reducing the impact of jet take-offs and landing. If we assume jets are going to go somewhere, then the regional airports, including LAX, have to be part of the solution.”
Martin Rubin, founder and director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP), a group of Santa Monica and Los Angeles residents who live near SMO, also praised the selection of Rosendahl. “I can’t think of anybody better – he has the desire and the ability,” Rubin told the Mirror. Rubin added that while SCRAA has no jurisdiction over SMO, he thought that Rosendahl’s new position would enhance his stature with respect to matters affecting all airports.
Rosendahl, the Los Angeles councilmember representing the LAX area, was elected by the members of SCRAA to head the panel. Gary Ovitt, San Bernandino County Supervisor, was named vice-chair. Rosendahl said he would lead an effort to broaden the organization, bringing in airports, counties, cities and airport neighbors throughout Southern California. “Regional aviation calls for everyone to have a seat at the table,” Rosendahl said. “As chair of SCRAA, I want to create an open, healthy dialogue in order to find solutions that make sense for everyone.”
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who appointed Rosendahl to serve as that city’s SCRAA representative, praised the selection. “He is dedicated to modernizing and regionalizing aviation in Southern California, and has already shown this through his unyielding involvement in the LAX master plan, lawsuit negotiations and other LAWA [Los Angeles World Airports] issues. Through his leadership everyone will work together, and we will accomplish our goal of regionalizing air traffic and making our airports better neighbors to our residents, all while remaining a vital economic engine for all of our community.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, who nominated Rosendahl to the chairmanship, also praised the selection. “We face regional challenges at our airports and we need regional solutions to solve those challenges. Councilman Rosendahl believes that as much as I do, and I am looking forward to working with him on SCRAA.”
The Southern California Regional Airport Authority is a joint powers agreement among the City of Los Angeles and the counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange.