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July 15, 2009
Press Release

Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, urging him to reconsider the decision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to relocate critical FAA support functions from the Los Angeles Regional Office to Seattle.  The letter also urges the Secretary to ensure that all affected FAA employees are offered comparable jobs in the Los Angeles area, if the relocation should proceed.  The letter was signed by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, and twelve Members of Congress from the Los Angeles area.  The text of the letter follows:

We are concerned about the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) announced plans to strip important support functions from the Los Angeles Regional Office.  We question not only the wisdom of the decision, but the adverse effect it will have on affected employees.

On January 23, 2006, Congresswoman Waters sent a letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey outlining her concerns with the decision of the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) to relocate the Western Service Area Office (SAO) from Los Angeles to Seattle (enclosed).  As you will recall, Congresswoman Waters met with you on March 1, 2006, to explore the issues raised as a result of that decision.

As a result of relocating the ATO's administrative functions 1500 miles to the north, there will be a dramatic loss of intellectual capital from the FAA that will jeopardize the administration of Southern California air traffic, airspace, and engineering issues and projects.  This brain drain will adversely affect the safety of the flying public.

The ATO Western SAO needs to remain close to Southern California facilities.  Experience teaches us that facilities located near regional headquarters receive far better programs, funding, and service than do outlying facilities.  A remote SAO will neglect the huge facilities of the LAX basin.

The planned restructure equates to a reduction in force of over 100 jobs over the coming calendar year in the Los Angeles Office.  A move to Seattle presents many employees with the Hobson's choice of either forfeiting careers or abandoning friends and families.  The restructure will also place a disproportionately heavy burden on the backs of minorities and single parents who rely on family for child care.

We call on the Department to reconsider its decision.  Should the restructure nevertheless proceed, it will adversely affect many lives.  Therefore, it is very important that all affected employees be offered comparable jobs in the Los Angeles area.  We appreciate your attention to our concerns, and we expect that the FAA and the Department will keep us apprised of all phases of the ongoing reorganization of the ATO, especially in regard to the impact on Los Angeles area affected employees. 


Maxine Waters                              Dianne Feinstein
Jane Harman                                 Barbara Boxer 
Juanita Millender-McDonald         Henry Waxman
Howard Berman                            Linda Sánchez 
Xavier Becerra                               Grace Napolitano
Hilda L. Solis                                Joe Baca
Adam Schiff                                 Diane Watson