Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano began this afternoon's Love Field Concession Committee meeting by letting folks know why the committee was formed -- to clear up "perception issues reported by the newspaper" -- and what the ground rules would be -- "no political grandstanding."
Medrano, who co-chairs the committee with Ron Natinsky, also mentioned that two other meetings are scheduled -- May 27 at 4 p.m. and June 2 at 6 p.m. -- which won't last longer than 90 minutes. (The time was later changed to two hours.) But that's not to say that the additional meetings will happen. It all depends on when the committee decides it's had enough.
Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, who took over this project because former Assistant City Manager Ramon Miguez retired, just finished walking the committee through the lengthy PowerPoint presentation.
In addition to the committee members (Medrano, Natinsky, Gonzalez, City Manager Mary Suhm, Mayor Tom Leppert, Ann Margolin, Tennell Atkins, Vonciel Hill and Bob Montgomery, vice-president of properties for Southwest Airlines), Carolyn Davis, Dave Neumann and Sheffie Kadane have dropped by. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and Linda Koop also have been in and out (mostly out). Gilbert Aranza, who currently owns 100 percent of the food and beverage concessions at Love Field and has 10 percent ownership of the same at D/FW Airport, is sitting in the front row of the audience.
Gonzalez summarized the situation as saying it has taken three years to get to the current "point of indecision" and stressed that whatever the committee decides, "We need to be getting some direction very quickly."
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Leppert, who had been working his phone during the presentation, is making his case. In short, he's pointing out that from 2000-01, concessions dropped only 7 percent. And when part of the Wright Amendment was removed from 2006-2009, revenues jumped by 50 percent. So, essentially, all this BS about rewarding the current concessionaires for sticking it out through the bad times is a load of crap.