Discussing American Airlines pulling out of Bob Hope Airport, Executive Director Dan Feger told airport commissioners how,
in a recent team-building exercise, senior staff had reviewed the book,
“Who Moved My Cheese” — a story about two mice and two mouse-sized
people caught in a maze together.
“It’s a very cute little book,”
Feger said. “It talks about change and sometimes people don’t want to
change, but if you make the change, the change actually yields a much
better result. If you keep doing the same thing, stay on the same path
and hope the world will change around you, it probably won’t happen.”
passenger traffic and millions of dollars in revenue, forcing yet
another re-design, yet another scaling back of costs, for the planned
$100-million-plus intermodal transportation center and parking
“The world has changed,” Feger said.
Hope Airport world has changed a lot over the last 20 years, but it took
a bruising and costly political and legal war to bring it about — a war
sparked by a grassroots movement that is a model for how ordinary
citizens can stymie rich and powerful interests and change the political
culture of their communities by fighting for what they believe in.
had been a push for a massive expansion with a new 27-gate terminal –
even talk of making it an international airport — has given way to a
voluntary curfew by the airlines, the sound-proofing of nearby homes, an
agreement with the city to put off the terminal issue until 2015, and
the completion of a study that officials said justified a permanent
Expansion has given way to fixing traffic flow and
parking problems around the airport, and to plans to connect Metrolink
and the Orange Line Busway to the airport. The airport has tried to mend
its relationship with City Hall and with the community through
outreach. A survey of residents is now under way to help guide future
“What you’ve seen over time is that it finally dawned
on the airport that it really is the Burbank community that will make
those decisions, the community who is in control of whether or not they
will get a new terminal,” said long-time Burbank City Councilman Dave
Golonski, who played a key role over the last 18 years in helping to
bring about the changes.
“Once they realized that, I think they
really made a good-faith effort to mitigate the traffic and other
problems, to get the curfew. They have become much more cooperative and
tried to understand what the impacts are on Burbank, which is a long way
from where it once was.”
Golonski’s journey from ordinary
citizen to city leader started, as it does for so many, with a problem
in his neighborhood — a row of houses behind his house became abandoned,
graffiti-covered eyesores after a developer bought them to tear down
and build in their place a large three-story apartment complex.
organized “Enough is Enough” to fight the project and got his neighbors
to string their Christmas lights in April to get visibility for their
protest — efforts which got the project killed.
championed a tough “smart growth” ballot initiative to cap the number of
housing units and commercial space that could be built one year.
“It was the most highly outspent ballot initiative in the history of California,” he recalled, making its defeat inevitable.
he was learning about City Hall disturbed him so much that he ran for
the City Council, losing in his first try, but winning election in 1993.