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Park Ridge mayor wants head of O’Hare noise commission to resign

Dave Schmidt mayor Park Ridge speaks about proposal from Northwest Municipal Conference thhe believes will solve ComEd's power outage communicatiproblems.

Dave Schmidt, mayor of Park Ridge, speaks about a proposal from the Northwest Municipal Conference that he believes will solve ComEd's power outage and communication problems. | Ronnie Wachter~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 7, 2014 6:14AM

The mayor of Park Ridge has jumped into the fray over the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission, saying its chairwoman should resign because she represents a suburb that will benefit from flight path changes that have bombarded other areas with new jet noise.

Park Ridge’s Dave Schmidt is the first mayor to publicly join the Fair Allocation in Runways coalition in calling for the resignation of noise commission chairwoman Arlene Mulder, who had served as mayor of Arlington Heights for 20 years, until 2013.

As one of 52 members of the commission, Mulder represents a suburb that will see far less noise once O’Hare’s $8 billion runway overhaul is completed, Schmidt said.

By 2020, a diagonal runway aimed at Arlington Heights is due to be decommissioned, Schmidt said, so Mulder has “no dog in the hunt.’’

Park Ridge, meanwhile, has seen a big increase in jet traffic, Schmidt said.

Mulder, he said, is “far too chummy” with the Chicago Department of Aviation, which proposed the runway changes, and the Federal Aviation Administration, which approved the city’s plan in 2005.

“Those of us living east of the airport wonder who is standing up for us, because I don’t think it’s Mulder,” Schmidt said. “She has absolutely no incentive to see the plan change because ultimately, the plan is for the runways that are pointed at Arlington Heights to be decommissioned.’’

Mulder said she only sees FAA and city aviation officials at Commission meetings. Schmidt, she said, is “misrepresenting my attempts to be respectful” to them at those meetings.

“Chummy? No,’’ Mulder said. “I don’t do anything social [with them].”

The Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition last week called for Mulder’s resignation, saying the group under her watch has “failed” to advocate enough against new jet noise.

O’Hare noise complaints have soared since October, when O’Hare switched from using mostly diagonal runways to parallel ones that carry air traffic east and west of the airport.


Twitter: @rosalindrossi

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