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Santa Monica Airport Report 'Is a Sham'

The proposed changes purportedly range from shutting the airport down entirely to doing absolutely nothing.

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Santa Monica resident William Fordes:

The report concerning the future of the sums up the city’s steps thus far—and —in considering changes in the use of the airport. The lease between the Federal Aviation Administration and the city, which owns the property on which the airport sits, . These changes purportedly range from shutting the airport down entirely to doing absolutely nothing.

But a quick read of the report suggests that the council has already begun to capitulate to the money men who control the airport and very much want the status quo maintained, to the detriment of the health and contrary to the desires of a majority of the citizens of the city.

If one wants a hint of the direction the city is leaning, one need go no further than the very first section of the report, which discusses in glowing, almost gushing, terms the historic importance of the airport, which the city has taken to calling the "Airport Campus."

The airport, you would think by reading this part of the report, is a national landmark on par with The Alamo or Ellis Island, rather than a polluting safety risk that spews toxic fumes and unbearable noise, and the , in an otherwise lovely city.

The next dead give-away derives from the title of the second section of the Report, called “The Legal Constraints Established by Federal Law,” in which the city tips its hand to those who would oppose any change to airport usage, let alone shutting it down. The report laments the money the city spent in an unsuccessful bid to restrict certain jet traffic and weepingly analyzes the potential for litigation if the city were to attempt to shut the airport at the end of its lease:

"If the city attempts to close the airport, the FAA will not hesitate to aggressively fight against closure in the courts. Such a fight would go on for years; and, at best for the city, the outcome would be highly uncertain. What is certain is this:  The fight would be long and expensive and, perhaps most important, neither party would be able to control the result.”

This gutless pre-litigation capitulation basically sends the message to the airport operators, “Oh, don’t worry, fellas, we don’t have the cojones for a real fight."

The report is a sham. While it purports to be a reasoned evaluation of an issue on which reasonable persons can disagree, it is nothing more than a pre-capitulation rubberstamp of the wishes of a city council that always has and always will be a tool of developers and monied interests. That is, at least until such time as political contributions are controlled and the elective process in Santa Monica shifts from at-large to district voting, so that regular citizens—you know, school teachers and firemen, landscapers and store clerks, surfers and senior citizens—have a real voice in the governance of this city.

The lackeys who now occupy the council wouldn’t know an honest or brave decision-making process if it bit them on their respective hind-quarters. If this sort of disgusting “We’re afraid of the Big Guys!” thinking enrages or at least alarms you, think about attending the city council meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and let your voice, pro or con, be heard.

This letter to the editor has been edited and condensed.

Chad October 06, 2011 at 01:21 PM
So I suppose all of you anti-airport people never fly on aircraft, right? I mean, why would you fly on airplanes if you don't like airports? Otherwise you're just NIMBY hypocrites.
Greg Fry October 06, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Santa Monica Airport is a special case. It's obsolete for the kind of traffic it handles and a danger to everyone. As previously stated, there are no houses within a few feet of either end of the runway at any other local airport. There are plenty of other airport choices around and most would love the business.
Greg Fry October 06, 2011 at 03:56 PM
That's the most ridiculous legal argument I've ever heard. Even LAX makes no claim that it is obligated to exist in its present location "in perpetuity." There are plenty of airports around the country that have closed down and the land put to other use. Sounds like a new city attorney is needed--along with a new city council!
Eddie Greenberg October 06, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Thank you William Fordes for this extraordinary analysis! Thank you Patch S.M. for printing it. It is refreshing when one reads real truth no matter what side of any issue, or if one is undecided. We should never pay lip service to power abusers, elected officials that are bought or especially their enablers.
Martin Rubin January 17, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Stay up-to-date on Santa Monica Airport (SMO) issues and community efforts to get rid of the jet pollution (both air and noise), get rid of leaded Aviation Gasoline, get rid of pattern flying at SMO, and eventually close SMO. Sign-up to be on the CONCERNED RESIDENTS AGAINST AIRPORT POLLUTION contact list at http://www.jetairpollution.com .

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