Councilmen question $3.8-million LAX public relations contracts
This post has been corrected and updated, as noted below.
Two Los Angeles council members want to know why a city oversight board approved spending nearly $4 million in taxpayer money for what they describe as public relations contracts at Los Angeles International Airport.
The Board of Airport Commissioners recently awarded three contracts totaling more than $3.8-million for video production services and public education services at LAX, according to Councilmen Dennis Zine and Bill Rosendahl.
They said the contracts were awarded without discussion.
"Transparency in government and the careful scrutiny of the expenditure of public dollars is critical in ensuring the public's trust," Zine and Rosendahl said in a statement.
Airport commissioners could not be reached Tuesday night for comment.
The councilmen questioned why the contracts, which were awarded to firms outside the city, could not be done by LAX staff.
Zine, who is running for city controller, and Rosendahl, whose district includes LAX, are planning to hold a news conference Wednesday morning. Afterward, the City Council will vote on asserting its jurisdiction over the matter and sending it to a committee for further discussion.
[Updated at 9 a.m., Jan. 23: In a statement, Mary Grady, managing director of media and public relations for Los Angeles World Airports, said the multiyear contracts address the board's "firm direction to create and execute a multiyear strategic and coordinated LAX Capital Improvement public education program."
"It is important that we communicate the construction impacts, while also building a sense of anticipation for those who have been demanding an efficient airport that meets today’s travelers’ needs with more modern terminals, improved runway safety, more places to charge phones/laptops, free Wi-Fi, and more dining and shopping options," the statement said.
"While we are building the airport the public is asking for, it will be complicated to navigate LAX over the next several years. Why wouldn’t we tell them all about the more than 25 Capital Improvement projects that are creating tens of thousands of jobs, without using any taxpayer dollars from the city’s general fund?"]
[For the record, 8:50 a.m., Jan. 23: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that there were two contracts awarded for $3.8 million. There were three. The post also incorrectly stated that the press conference would be held on Friday; the press conference is today.]
— Robert J. Lopez
Photo: Pylons of LAX in a 2006 shot. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times