Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I know we asked for it, but it still upsets me

I was reminded of my own local Rita Moreno of Arte when I read the beginning of this press release:

Sep 05, 2007 08:00 ET
Reminder - LA/Ontario International Airport Master Plan Scoping Meeting to Be Held September 5
ONTARIO, CA--(Marketwire - September 5, 2007) - Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) will hold a scoping meeting for the proposed LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) Master Plan project to solicit input from the public and various federal, state, and local agencies that have jurisdiction by law or have specific expertise with respect to any environmental impacts associated with the proposed projects.

A scoping meeting in an open workshop format will be held on Sept. 5 at ONT in the Terminal 1 Building/Administration Offices located at 1940 East Moore Way, 1st Floor Lobby, Ontario, California 91761. The meeting will be held in two sessions from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

And we can't complain about having "Los Angeles" in our airport's name - we sold the danged thing.

Founded during the 1920s and part of the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) system since 1967, ONT is located on Ontario's eastern edge. Approximately 7 million passengers flow through ONT each year making it California's 6th overall busiest airport. In 1998, the airport opened two newly-built terminals replacing a single 1950s era terminal. Designed to handle 10 million annual passengers, the $270 million dollar terminals have future expansion capabilities for handling up to 30 million passengers.

And when you sell an airport to somebody, you gotta figure that the new owner will eventually rename it. Of course, El-Lay waited 40 years to do it:

LOS ANGELES — This city is adding "LA" to the names of underused airports it owns in two distant cities in a marketing ploy to relieve passenger strains at aging Los Angeles International Airport.
The Southern California cities of Ontario and Palmdale, swallowing their civic pride, are endorsing the name changes. Ontario International Airport, 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is now LA/Ontario International. And the airport in Palmdale, 60 miles northeast of the city, is LA/Palmdale Regional Airport.

The Los Angeles Airport Commission voted last month to identify Ontario and Palmdale with the nation's second-largest city to boost the smaller airports with travelers and airlines.

"The name affiliation with Los Angeles will identify Ontario International as a second gateway to Southern California for travelers," Ontario Mayor Paul Leon says.

That business-is-business attitude is a contrast to nearby Anaheim, which unsuccessfully sued Major League Baseball's Anaheim Angels last year for restyling the team the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The city of Los Angeles sided with Anaheim in the lawsuit, saying the name change misled fans and amounted to identity theft.

Of course, there is one possibly valid argument for the name change, at least in my city:

The Ontario airport is "one of the best places if you want to go to Disneyland" but frequently gets confused with the Canadian province, says Harold Johnson, a spokesman for Los Angeles World Airports, operator of giant LAX and the outlying airports. "Years ago there was a flight from Ontario to Ontario, and people were asking us, "Are you crazy?' " Johnson says.

But Paul Leon and his ilk don't realize that love can be a one-way street. Leon now thinks that his city's profile has been elevated, but I doubt that Antonio Villaraigosa returns his calls. And, to the El-Lay mind, anything east of La Brea is in the sticks.

And even people in the sticks get confused:

If you’re a regular but reluctant KROQ listener like myself, you know that Kevin and Bean have nothing good to say about the 909....The 909 (a.k.a. the Inland Empire, a.k.a. Inlandia, a.k.a. Riverside and San Bernardino Counties) has an unfortunate reputation for being home to meth labs and dirt and not much else.

For 30 years now, the good folks in the creative writing department of UC Riverside have been making the 909 an increasingly important cultural region with a fabulous little event called Writers Week.

Forgive me for being a picky person - again - but if the event was at UC Riverside, wouldn't it be contributing to the reputation of the 951?

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