Residents near Van Nuys Airport feel heard, but they’re still angry over their lack of security
For more than a week, the airport’s runways were shut down. Then, on Feb. 8, the skies reopened, but without any of the usual security screenings. As people filed out of the terminal — all of them with their carry-on bags — it became clear that Los Angeles was not the first city to use the empty airport runways like this to hold protests.
But the events took place in the shadow of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Van Nuys Field office, where, like the airport terminals, there are often demonstrations. And while the public officials have been transparent in their intent to prevent protesters from using the runways, the community feels it has been left out.
“It feels like the first and last time they’ve done anything that hasn’t been in the best interest of the protesters,” said Michael Denton, a Van Nuys resident who was waiting to catch a flight with his daughter. As he boarded the plane and walked down the aisle, he said the protesters’ message was clear: “This is for you, the airport.”
Van Nuys Airport is well-known as the city’s home airport, and has been for a long time. After all, it is one of the busiest and most profitable in the country. And as a city and a county, we look to the airport for our daily life. But we are not always greeted with a polite nod.
“I’m here to protest what’s going on at the airport. And my husband’s here because he was getting ready to get a hotel,” said Jennifer Lopez, Van Nuys Airport passenger. “He’s not a protester, but he is an out-of-towner that wants to stay here for the weekend, so I came here to get his room. Because this terminal feels like it’s closed down. We’re not getting the same access we’re getting at other airports.”
Denton arrived to the airport at 5:40 a.m. on Tuesday. He