Los Angeles Business Journal

Garcetti Replaces Most of Airport Commission

By Deborah Crowe Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti this afternoon announced his appointments to the Board of Airport Commissioners, with only one holdover from the Villaraigosa administration.

It was expected that Garcetti would name his own commissioners soon after taking office on July 1, but the appointments come as Los Angeles World Airports has come under fire for its reliance on outside consultants rather than city employees to manage construction at Los Angeles International Airport.

The commission last week decided not to vote on nearly $200 million in construction management contracts. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the area around the airport, has called for a review of the city’s procedures for how it selects and retains outside airport consultants.

LAWA also owns and operates LA/Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

“LA’s airports are a critical economic engine and our city’s first impression for millions of visitors every year,” Garcetti said in a statement. “I’m pleased to appoint these talented Angelenos to the airport commission and know they will focus on ensuring L.A. has world-class airports that are also first class neighbors.”

Valeria Velasco, a Playa del Rey estate planning attorney and member of the LAX/Coastal Chamber of Commerce, is the sole holdover from the old commission.

New appointees include: Sean Burton, president of Westwood real estate investment firm CityView; Gabriel Eshaghian, vice-president of acquisitions and development with real estate investment company Somerset Group; former California State Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg; Bea Hsu, vice president of development for developer Related California; Matthew Johnson, managing partner of entertainment law firm Ziffren Brittenham LLP; and Cynthia Telles, a veteran civic leader and founding board member of the Public Policy Institute of California.