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The Long Beach City Council yesterday took a historic vote by agreeing for the first time against going into a scheduled closed session. On an 8-0 vote, councilmembers approved a motion made by Councilwoman Rae Gaeblich and seconded by Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske to forego the closed session discussion on a proposal to sell or to lease the Long Beach Municipal Airport in closed session as planned and instead place the issue on an open, public agenda later in January.
"The public won last night when the Council voted not to have a discussion in closed session on whether or not to sell or to lease the Long Beach Municipal Airport," says Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske who had originally alerted her constituents that the item was scheduled for a behind closed doors discussion.
Schipske says that her e-mail inbox was jammed with resident complaints that the airport issue was scheduled for closed session. Several citizens came before council to protest the announcement of a closed session on the proposal on the basis that the discussion was to "explore the idea of whether or not the Council wanted to pursue the lease or sale of the airport."
" A policy decision needs to be made in open session so that the public can hear and listen to the debate about the merits of the issue and how the council decides to proceed, " added Schipske. "A closed session does not provide that opportunity."
Schipske is hopeful that the issue will now be placed on the open, public agenda January 20th. "In the meantime, readers should check out the Federal Aviation Administration's website and read about the FAA pilot project that allows up to 5 airports to sell or to lease (FAA prohibits that now if the public airport has received FAA funding for repair and upgrade.) This is apparently what sparked the idea in Long Beach and the fact that several Wall Street investment firms are on the prowl to get our infrastructure on the cheap."
FAA website on privatization:
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