Although much is being made about how this wonderful Burbank Airport agreement that the council cooked up with the Authority last year has a “supermajority” clause that will supposedly end all of our problems and answer all of our questions, what most people don’t know is that the enforcement of legal agreements like this doesn’t last forever. There’s always a shelf life of sorts to any explicit legal agreement between parties, no matter who they are or what it’s about.
No court in the world (say) is going to enforce every term of this Airport agreement 30 or 40 years from now. They may in fact hold all of it to be invalid after time. Just like everything else in life, contracts and agreements (and enforceable bequests for that matter, where rich people demand a certain action in return for their property, such as free admission to a museum made possible by their beneficence) don’t last forever.
There’s only so long that the express terms of this Airport agreement will be enforceable in a court of law if Measure B passes next week. Just like benefactors can’t rule from the grave for an extended period of time, a strict requirement by old parties who are long gone that was made in exchange for something else cannot be considered still valid and enforceable after so many years have passed. Not necessarily.
The precise way of putting it is that there is no assurance that a future court will allow these terms of agreement to go on forever. In real life you’re lucky if you can keep a contract or legal agreement going for more than 8 years without someone seeking its dissolution, at least in part. (Roughly put, ask Warner Brothers what happened when Olivia de Havilland years ago sued to get out of her own legal requirements with them. Although it was a personal contract for binding services, the idea’s similar: legal deals can only last for so long. They’re not forever.) City Attorney Albano won’t tell you this, nor will any of the rest of the Boosters.
Something else to think about:
— Do Authority bylaws specifically allow a “supermajority” vote to occur and be valid? If not, they can bargain with and assure anyone and anything they want, but it won’t be legal for them to do what they promised to do unless their own rules allow such an action.
— Who’s to say that future Authority members won’t just suddenly void such a supermajority privilege for their own expedient reasons, and by a simple majority vote? Burbank would then have to sue to enforce that now-ancient agreement, which brings us back to the problem of whether or not old signed documents like this are still enforceable after a certain number of years.
If they did it five years from now, sure. But fifteen?
It’s a bad deal folks. Burbank’s giving away all of its (in the 1990s) long fought discretionary power over what’s left of B-6, and for what? A weak “agreement” for a supposed airport size limitation that might not even be binding and enforceable when we actually need it to be. And that’s just one of the problems with it.
Even if you want a new terminal, it’s a bad deal. Not this one.