Ontario International

Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/28/2013 05:58:54 PM PDT
Updated: 05/28/2013 06:22:08 PM PDT

ONTARIO — Less than two months ago, Los Angeles and San Bernardino County officials were at the negotiating table, determining whether LA/Ontario International Airport will be returned to local control.

Talks quickly broke down and Ontario officials now have hit Los Angeles and the agency that oversees the airport with various legal objections, even threatening to sue.

But as the possibility of litigation looms, last week’s election of Los Angeles Councilman Eric Garcetti as the city’s next mayor may be the key to hitting the reset button on the negotiations.

“Garcetti will be much more hands-on and engaged with the evaluation of local control,” said Marcia Godwin, associate professor of public administration at the University of La Verne.

Godwin said Garcetti will most likely reach out to Ontario officials to try and discuss the issues they have with Los Angeles World Airports, which operates ONT as well as Los Angeles International Airport.

For those reasons, Godwin said Ontario leaders may want to build an alliance with Garcetti, who has already indicated he supports the idea of local control, for a fair price.

“My priority for Ontario airport is to increase regional capacity and increase passenger traffic there because that reduces the burden on LAX and its surrounding neighborhoods,” Garcetti said in April.

And for the first time since transfer negotiations started late last year, Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner said he is optimistic about the battle for local control. The biggest difference will be that Garcetti will make himself more accessible to the Inland Empire delegation pushing for local control, Wapner said.

“We chatted with him during the campaign and while he didn’t make any commitments, he was interested in the issues,” Wapner said.

It’s a stark contrast to Los Angeles’ current mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who, Wapner said, was next to impossible to meet.

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