Department of Ideas: Veterans for Airport Security

Department of Ideas: Veterans for Airport Security

You hear a lot of talk about the need for jobs, but precious little in the way of specific ideas for creating jobs. That’s why Austin Beutner’s speech last week was so refreshing.

Beutner is a businessman and former aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who already has begun running for mayor. (The election is not until 2013).
While it’s far from clear how formidable a candidate he’ll be (he doesn’t exactly ooze charisma), he’s full of ideas, very specific ideas, on job creation.

Among the most interesting:
Have you ever been through a security screening at LAX? Enough said. How about we replace the federal government screeners from TSA with people we hire locally?
San Francisco did it. I have the ideal candidates in mind – our returning veterans – men and women who served our country and are well trained to keep us safe.

The obvious problem with this idea is that you’re replacing one set of workers with another set of workers.
But it’s possible this might be cheaper — freeing up funds to do more things at the airport that create new jobs. (In the same speech, Beutner called for a massive upgrading of LAX so that it’s a true gateway — an idea that has widespread support among business, labor and the public.)

San Francisco’s SFO and 15 other airports opted out of using the federal screeners and instead use contractors. Reports have found the costs of the non-TSA screeners is nearly 50 percent less per passenger.
What’s the rub? Well, the TSA has moved to prevent more airports from opting out. So LA — or any other airport that wanted to follow suit — would have to fight for the right to do this.
Do you have specific jobs ideas? Let’s hear them.

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