Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Congress: turn down the helicopter noise

Residents filled a Sherman Oaks middle school cafeteria last year to attend a public hearing hosted by the Federal Aviation Administration on noisy helicopters.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

California lawmakers are once again pushing federal aviation officials to regulate helicopters flying over L.A. County neighborhoods. Residents have been complaining for years about the noise.

Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman understands the appeal of seeing movie star homes from the air, but he says with the canyons and the valleys in the L.A. area, the sound is amplified "and we’ve received many, many complaints about the excessive noise from these helicopters."

Waxman has joined California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as House Democrats Brad Sherman and Adam Schiff, in reintroducing a bill requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to set guidelines on flight paths and minimum altitudes for choppers flying over L.A. County. 

Congressman Schiff says it wouldn’t eliminate all helicopter noise — police and emergency responders would be exempt from the restrictions. But he says it would have "the greatest impact on paparazzi that hovers over Lindsey Lohan’s apartment every time she has a court appearance or some of the tours in the Hollywood Hills or the Rose Bowl."

Schiff says he's had several meetings with neighborhood residents that were interrupted by helicopter noise. "They came flying overhead," he says, "and we had to cease the conversation until they left."

Southern California lawmakers have been urging the FAA to do something about helicopters over L.A. County for several years. The FAA is scheduled to release a report on chopper noise in May, but it may include guidelines rather than new rules. The bill would make regulations mandatory, not voluntary.

There is a precedent for helicopter restrictions: New York's Long Island already has chopper rules in place to restrict noise.



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Rick Perry airs radio ads to attract California businesses to Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry attends a game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is airing radio ads in California to convince companies here to relocate to the Lone Star state.

A public-private marketing partnership called TexasOne is paying for the 30-second advertisement that touts Texas's low taxes and industry-friendly regulations along with strict limits on lawsuits.

In the ad, Perry says that he hears "building a business in California is next to impossible." He calls on California businesses to "come check out Texas."

The ads will air in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Inland Empire and San Diego media markets for a week.

Perry regularly travels to California to convince companies to move their operations to Texas. The governor likes to brag that Texas has the fastest growing job market in the nation.


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Early voting begins for Los Angeles' March 5 primary

Early voting in the March 5 primary begins this week for Los Angeles voters.

Early voting for L.A.'s municipal election has begun.

Registered absentee voters could see ballots arrive in their mailboxes as early as this week. Voters can apply for a mail-in ballot until Feb. 26. The ballots must be received by the City Clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on election day, March 5.

Applications for absentee ballots can be found on the back of the Official Sample Ballot that is sent to all registered voters.

The spring primary includes elections for the mayor’s office, city attorney, controller and half of the Los Angeles City Council. Voters will also be asked to take a position on a half-cent sales tax increase and a slight change in police officers’ pensions. 


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Maven's Morning Coffee: LAX air traffic, Villaraigosa stays in LA, the fight for Valley voters

A report from L.A. County finds LAX officials have not done enough to disperse air traffic throughout the region, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ben Bergman

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Monday, Feb. 4 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Los Angeles World Airports has only made "token efforts" to disperse commercial traffic to other airports, which is required by a 2006 agreement, according to the Los Angeles Times. Also, the Board of Airport Commissioners will vote tomorrow on a recommendation to move the airport's northern runway 260 feet to the north.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he won't leave for Washington, D.C., or any other job, before his term is up on June 30, reports Politico. Villaraigosa's name has come up as a possible replacement for outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.


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Netflix 'House of Cards' star Kevin Spacey got real-life tips from Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy

House of Representatives Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (right) with Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Kitty Felde

It’s a big deal to be the Majority Whip, the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives. Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy is the current Whip. But another Kevin is casting a dark shadow over the job. Actor Kevin Spacey picked up some insider tips from the real-life Whip for his lead role in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.”

"House of Cards" is an American version of the BBC drama of the same name. In it, Spacey introduces his Washington to the audience, calling himself "the lowly House Majority Whip" who keeps things moving in a Congress "choked by pettiness and lassitude." The Whip's job description, Spacey's character says, is to "clear the pipes and keep the sludge moving."

Spacey visited Washington to pick the brain of the real Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy, who gave the actor a tour of the Capitol and accompanied him onto the House floor, discussing the Whip’s day-to-day responsibilities.


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