Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners vice president Valeria (Val) Velasco were guest speakers at a meeting of newly formed but not yet certified Westchester Democrats Wednesday, May 16th.
Rosendahl represents the 11th Council District, which includes Westchester and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The Los Angeles County Democratic Party (CDP) will have to certify the club before it becomes official.
Rosendahl said that he would run for reelection, and would run again after that, hoping for a third term in office, reiterating statements he made at the recent keynote speech by presidential candidate and U.S. Congressman from Ohio, Dennis Kucinich to the West Los Angeles Democratic Club.
Rosendahl also repeated that he plans to put the living wage issue on the February ballot next year.
The councilman praised members of the the newly forming club for their perseverance and said that America is losing its faith in government.
The candidates running for President have viewed California as an “ATM opportunity,” coming here to get money and then leaving without addressing campaign issues, Rosendahl said.
California plays a pivotal role now beyond what used to happen in the “old money days,” and candidates need to come here to get votes, said Rosendahl.
All presidential candidates should be asked what they plan to do for California as far as a transportation infrastructure is concerned, since California is a “robust engine” of the nation but hasn’t received its fair share financially from the federal government.
California sends $50 billion more to Washington, D.C. than it gets back, Rosendahl said.
“The Senate is a joke, we have two people to represent us (in a state this size),” said Rosendahl.
“The California congressional delegation is dysfunctional; they should be fighting for our rights,” he said.
Rosendahl is working to get a homeless shelter built in his district, and Proposition 63 would help finance that facility, said Rosendahl.
No one wants the homeless camped out on the streets or our lawns at night, and a shelter would provide a place for them to sleep, he said.
Getting the Green Line into LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) as soon as possible and then focusing on the Expo Line are also issues Rosendahl is working on.
Neighborhood Councils are very important to the community and the community should help to run them, he said, “It’s not just for the elites to take over.”
Stakeholders should check the credentials of individuals running for the Neighborhood Councils, finding out what they stand for and not being compromised, he suggested.
Rosendahl said the issue of moving the northern runways at LAX is strictly about safety, and that he must be thoroughly convinced and shown proof that widening the northern runways is critical to safety, because Westchester and Playa del Rey residents have already sacrificed enough.
Velasco told the audience that forming a Democratic Club is very important, and that it is about politics.
The community held back the encroachment of LAX, despite former Mayor Jim Hahn’s plans and the amount of money spent on those plans, with $50 million alone spent on consultants, Velasco said.
Politics is important, she said, because after the last City Council redistricting, which moved former local city Councilwoman Ruth Galanter to the Valley, with Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski taking her place. “We had a councilwoman who didn’t care, and if she were still in office the airport would have rolled right over this community.”
Velasco also said getting the three holes back at the Westchester Golf Course that were removed in 1990 — something that has been a priority to many golfers and visitors — is a current project.
LAWA (Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX and three other city airports) soundproofing projects now do not require residents to sign an “avigational easement” as they did before, Velasco noted.
The avigational easement obligated the homeowner to sign away any legal rights to sue Los Angeles World Airports in case of airplanes falling on their homes or extreme noise disturbances, she said.
Lawsuits regarding LAX are still being settled that resulted from the since-partially-discarded LAX Master Plan two years ago, and one of the biggest contentions is that the airport agency wants to move the northern runways 340 feet north toward Westchester Parkway.
The community should never agree to move those runways north and it also would have a severe impact on local businesses, Velasco said.
A required 200-foot clearance zone at the end of the runway would require removing In-N- Out Burger and Ralphs on Sepulveda Boulevard, as well as affect residents, said Velasco.
We could have more air traffic controllers, use advanced collision warning equipment and other mitigating methods, instead of moving the runways, she said.
“It’s all up to you to be heard and watch the issues, stay engaged and please come to the meetings,” Velasco said.
The newly forming Westchester Democrats still required a treasurer before they could apply for certification, and at the meeting, pleas by club vice president Valerie Fuentes for someone to step forward elicited a response from Cal State Long Beach professor Robert Shurtz, who volunteered for the position.
Officers include club president Sheila Mickelson, Fuentes, vice president, recording secretary Sue Matus and correspondence secretary Joel Matus.