The Two Measure B’s (confused yet?)

There are two Measure B’s when we discuss the expansion of the airport. Here’s a Facebook post from a city official trying to clear up some of the confusion. I don’t agree with this person’s stance on the new terminal and I don’t think the City Clerk made the decision alone but there’s some good history here.  I’ve emphasized some things I’d like you to remember as the election approaches.  You’ll be hearing much more about the two Measure B’s very soon.

I THINK you mean there’s confusion around the mention of Measure B, this in the midst of a section ABOUT Measure B. As has been alluded to previously by others, there are TWO Measure Bs.

Back in – I believe it was 2000 – a ballot measure was put forth known as Measure A. Written by a couple of activists, it basically forbade the construction of a new terminal unless it met a long list of demands, virtually everything Burbank wanted/wants, save for the kitchen sink.

At the time, all but one lawyer I know of (a candidate for council at the time), one expert after another told us Measure A was doomed. Time and again it tried to impose through a ballot measure standards and rules the city has no jurisdiction over. As had been expected, Measure A passed easily with one of the highest turn-outs in recent history, and as predicted by every credible observer, it was all rendered moot by the courts. The city even paid the legal expenses of a citizen who wanted to try defending Measure A in appeals. Measure A was nonetheless (and rightfully) laughed out of the courts.

It was in the midst of all that then-councilman Dave Golonski wrote that decade’s version of Measure B. In short, it proposed that, no matter WHAT plan was eventually developed for a terminal replacement, no city approval of it would be valid unless voters of the city approved of it in an election first.

That measure easily won, as well, and it remains in effect today. (There are those who insist that edition of Measure B was a trap still waiting to be sprung by pro-expansionists. To summarize, many of those battling the current ballot measure have insisted Golonski’s secret plan was to see his Measure B acted upon, and then somehow tossed by the courts as well, which would somehow give the airport free rein. I’ve always found that theory ludicrous, so I don’t claim to have given full voice and every point to their allegations here.)

Back to the point: When current agreements, proposals and such refer to “Measure B” and what it requires, they are typically referring to that version written and approved more than a decade ago.

Today’s Measure B vote is required by the Measure B of more than a dozen years ago.

That help at all?

Oh, how did today’s Measure B end up with the same name? As best as I can understand it, it was a combination of the City Clerk’s choice and the LA County Registrar of voters.

I believe the city clerk – who was not here through the earlier battles – simply heard so many references to “Measure B” that she either believed or came to think that would be the best name for the current Measure, too. To my knowledge, there was never any discussion among supporters or opponents about what the title could or should be. We all simply did as Burbank’s election official (the City Clerk) directed us. Those of us who were writing arguments on the measures were told that, on the form where it calls for the measure’s title, we should write “Measure B (TBD.)”

The TBD part was the County’s role. That office reviews ballot initiative titles and either approves or rejects them – usually based on whether anyone else in the County has used a similar name, or if the Board of Supes has asked that a certain title be reserved for its use.. Ultimately, the County approved Measure B for Burbank.


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