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Lake Elsinore Ducks From Ontario International Airport Turbulence

“Nearly all cities in the Inland Empire are supporting Ontario,” Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale said during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Lake Elsinore is not standing with the City of Ontario in its effort to gain local control of the international airport located there.

During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night, Lake Elsinore City Council members voted 3-2 against a resolution that would have supported the northern city’s move to take control of Ontario International Airport away from Los Angeles.

“I don’t know why this is before us,” said Lake Elsinore City Councilwoman Melissa Melendez. “I don’t think this is any of our business.”

Melendez, along with council members Peter Weber and Daryl Hickman, voted against the resolution Tuesday.

The City of Ontario in recent weeks has ramped up its bid for local control. Ontario City Manager Chris Hughes has pitched elected officials and business leaders across the Southland, making his case that the airport is on a dizzying downward spiral under Los Angeles World Airports, the same operator that oversees Los Angeles International Airport.

On its website www.setontariofree.com, the City of Ontario features its 2010 Recovery Plan for the airport, which states that “Ontario is committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to assure that this vital economic engine is reinvigorated through the creation of a low-cost airport that aggressively markets the airport and region.”

According to the website, LAWA’s commitment to Ontario is overshadowed by its obligation to the much larger LAX. As a result, Ontario International has experienced steep passenger declines in recent years caused by LAWA’s lack of marketing efforts that include allowing high travel costs to get out of hand at the facility, the site contends.

Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale said the airport issue came before his city after he attended a recent Western Riverside Council of Governments meeting in which Hughes addressed attendees and argued his case for local control.

“Nearly all cities in the Inland Empire are supporting Ontario,” Tisdale said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Tisdale ticked off reasons why Ontario wants local control, and said the San Bernardino County city is willing to spend $50 million of its reserves to make it happen.

In a brief interview after Tuesday night’s meeting, Tisdale said Ontario International Airport offers a valuable service to local residents who would otherwise have to commute a greater distance for air travel services.

Tisdale also expressed concern over Ontario International's future.

"If Southwest [Airlines] pulls out, that could be it," he said.

But during Tuesday’s meeting Melendez argued that the City of Lake Elsinore is only getting one side of the story – Ontario’s.

On Monday, LAWA announced it had launched a website to “provide accurate data, facts on LA/Ontario International Airport.”

According to a LAWA news release, the site “was developed in response to considerable discussion on the political level and in the media examining the underlying reasons for passenger declines at ONT.”

LAWA officials attribute the loss of passengers at Ontario International Airport “to the recession, the slow economic recovery of the Inland Empire, as well as changes in the airline industry that focus on building service at large hub airports at the expense of medium-hub airports such as ONT.”  

Richard O. Miller February 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Why go to the mess of traffic at LAX when Ontario is so easy to get to? Good terminal, motels, access, etc., We deserve a full service airport in the Inland Empire.
Keith Allen February 15, 2012 at 04:50 PM
None of our business? Seriously? If it's not our business, then whose business is it. We are part of the IE aren't we? If the city has been asked for it's opinion on an issue that effects the entire reigon then how can we stay away from the issue? LAWA has been ignoring Ontario for years now and if we lose this valueable airport we will all have to fly out of the Disaster that is LAX or the hyper expensive John Wayne. The idiot Antonio Villaregosa is pushing High Speed Rail and saying we need it because there is no more airport capacity. Hey TONY!!! Ontario. March AFB are both available for millions more passengers!!!
Christine February 15, 2012 at 05:00 PM
The Ontario airport is great and definetely should be ran by Ontario. It is nuts that it has to be connected to LAX. Some one from out of town who lands in Ontario because they think it is close to LA, well, they are out of luck. It would be great to have Jet Blue return with there 1030 am flight to NYC. This flight was awesome. Now I fly out of San Diego. There goes any tax dollar Ontario could have had.
Christine February 15, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I would love it if March Air Force Base was a commercial airport. Even, if that means jets would fly over my house.
Diana February 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
So typical of our Council "do nothing about anything attitude", they have the same outlook on the City.
Ryan James February 15, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Hey Melendez, you just lost my vote as well. I am a frequent traveler of Ontario, and I was looking for some support from our elected officials. Are you kidding me you and the other two fools did not support our own airport? Guess what, LE Resident is right, "Anyone is better than Melendez and it will be a cold day in hell before she gets my vote". Now I feel the same way, it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for you as well!!!!!! To me it seems like you didn't want to support the idea because the other dude is running against you and you wanted to prove that you are right. You are a nube!!! Stay home and make some Taquitos or better yet go work at Las Palmas!!! I am sure they can use some help in the kitchen!!!!!!
Steve February 15, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Hey Council members the last time I checked you are suppose to represent the people and what they want , what makes you think that we don't want a say so in Ontario airport and we sure don't want to loose it and have to drive to LA for flights. Once again your arrogance makes asses out of all of you and we the people will suffer for it like we always do. God, I hate this town I wish I could move.
Ken Mayes February 15, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Some of you people crack me up. You complain that these council member are incapable of dealing with local issues because of a lack of knowledge on one hand but on the other you want them to stand up for something they would have no reason to know about. There is a council of government where this issue should be addressed as this is a regional issue, not at a city council meeting where city issues should be the subject of the day. If you as an individual feel so strongly about Ontario airport then send in a letter to the airport supporting the transfer to Ontario Cities jurisdiction. A thousand individual letters would garner more attention than one proclamation from a city council. From what I can see its all about the money that can be brought in to the city of Ontario and not about serving the public.
Lake Elsinore Resident February 16, 2012 at 02:41 AM
While a City Council meeting may not be the place to discuss this the city was asked to support the efforts of a IE city. Our City Council members need to be replaced if they feel this does not affect us. Fact LAWA lowered the price charged to the Airlines to lower fares from and to LAX. They raised prices at SNA, BUR and ONT to offset these costs. We need ONT for ease and time. Parking at ONT $9 - $18 a day. LAX $45-$65 a day do the math bring ONT back to local control. Just one more example why our current City Council members need to go. Time for new thinking and new blood.
Joe M. February 16, 2012 at 08:12 PM
The assumption of the negative comments seems to be of the opinion that LAX will loose the airport. Wake up! LAX has not invested 506 million dollars and 55 years to loose money or the airport .Yes, we should get the facts before you open our ignorant mouths.The ethnic slurrs further discredit you. I agree with Mr. Mayes on this, if you check your facts Ontario begged the city of LA to buy the airport in 1967, because they didn't have the re$ource$ to build or $upport it. And as recently as 1985 Ontario officially signed the property over to the city of LA. Sure we are spoiled with the facilities we have now. Just look over to the old Terminal, it looks like nothing more than an old bus station.All these little cities making noise amounts to Nothing.We don't have any juridiction. While your at it, why don't you start demanding St Louis to return the Rams so we can have a football team.This is the city of Ontario having buyers remorse after someone else paid to make a Real airport. We all want to see ONT flourish, we all benefit somehow. LAX is not stupid enough to throw away their investment.It's not like we are in the worst Recession since the Great Depression.
Rosa Hasler February 17, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I'm disappointed that city council voted against supporting the city of Ontario on this issue. As a former travel agent, I can tell you that unless flights were not available, my passengers most always chose to depart from the local airport, rather than the hassle of having to go to Los Angeles. It was not a binding contract we were asked to sign, just support.

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