Mar Vista Candidates Discuss the Issues at Elections Forum

Candidates and community members gather at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church on Thursday night to speak about community issues, ahead of elections to be held at the Mar Vista Farmers Market on Oct. 28.

Santa Monica Airport was a popular subject among candidates vying for seats on the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) on Thursday night.

The council held an elections candidate forum at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Mar Vista, giving  candidates two minutes each to speak on community issues important to them.

Patricia Peterson—one of three candidates for Mar Vista's Zone 6, the area that runs east from the airport to Washington Boulevard—was alone in her support of maintaining the Santa Monica Airport.

She cited a Rand Corporation study that recommended bringing in alternative fuels, electric planes and erecting sound barriers to eliminate pollution and noise there, she said. Peterson was also optimistic about future development of the airport grounds that could expand recreational amenities there, she said.  

"We can capitalize in Mar Vista upon the things that Santa Monica offers because we are a very close neighbor of theirs," said Peterson. "They're going to bring in an arts-and-crafts environment, and a green museum, and various things that we can point people to that we're a part of if we take part in having a voice in what they're going to do in that airport."

Much of the Mar Vista neighborhood borders the eastern section of the airport at Bundy Drive, which is also the portion of runway where pilots make their landing approach. This section of the airport does the most to pollute adjacent neighborhoods with noise and engine particulate, said John Kuchta, who is running against Susan Klos for the community director seat.

"We do need to close the airport, because that's the only way to solve all the problems," said Kuchta. "There's no way to somehow mitigate the noise—unless you cut it down to one flight a day, but that would not sustain an airport. The only real way to eliminate the noise and the pollution—and to make it safer—is to shut it down."
The key to shutting down the airport, Kuchta said, is by getting federal officials to battle it in congress.

"If the FAA—which is, let's be honest, a little bit more powerful than Santa Monica Airport—wants to keep it open, it doesn't matter what Santa Monica does, they'll find a way to keep it open."   

Two of the 17 candidates—Kate Anderson (Zone 3) and Mitchell Rishe (At-Large Director)—were not in attendance. Rishe drew support from candidate Chuck Ray (At-Large Director), who mentioned him in his speech, and Sherri Akers, Green Committee co-chair, who wore Rishe's campaign button. 

Ray has been criticized for his candidate statement on Patch, in which he wrote that he hopes to be the voice of reason in what city hall could perceive as an extremist MVCC.

"What I meant by that was … I learned a lot about how the councilmen think and how the staff think," said Ray. "Two things that turn them on: money and votes."

Neighborhood councils can't raise money, said Ray, they only get what the city gives them.

"So we have to somehow show that we've got power of the people," said Ray. "But when we do go down there and try to be reasonable with them, they look for every reason to marginalize us and not listen."

Ray said that the MVCC has been called extreme by city hall, so it has got to appear to be reasonable by proving an understanding the pros and cons of various issues, he said.

"If we do that," said Ray. "It becomes more difficult for them to blow us away."

Elections will be held on Oct. 28 at the Mar Vista Farmers Market, located at 3865 Grand View Blvd.,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about the candidates, visit Patch's page on Mar Vista candidates.

For a list of all candidates, visit the Empower L.A. website.

Richard B October 19, 2012 at 08:46 PM
The Santa Airport should be closed. I completely disagree with Patricia. If she lived near the airport she would understand the concerns the neighbors in Mar Vista and Venice deal with every day.
Sherri Akers October 19, 2012 at 10:08 PM
I agree with Richard that the Santa Monica airport should be closed. I am also surprised to hear that Chuck feels that City Hall has called Mar Vista 'extreme' and would love to hear his specifics! I have had extensive contact with City Councilmembers, members of the Mayors staff, Commissioners and executives in the DWP, DPW and Department of Sanitation and feel that they all hold us in high esteem. While I applaud Chuck for all of his hard work for MVCC, I would like to challenge him for more explanation on this since it seems to be a cornerstone of his candidacy.
Andy Shrader October 20, 2012 at 12:15 AM
As I actually work at City Hall in a Council office and have never heard a disparaging word about the Mar Vista Community Council, I would like Mr. Ray to be specific about who has called the MVCC "extreme" and in what context. What I do hear about the MVCC are compliments about a well-informed and engaged progressive community whose involvement helps shape City policy, like with the recent plastic bag ban [which Mr. Ray voted against in the MVCC's 12/14/10 meeting]. I've also specifically and recently heard Mar Vista held up as an example of successful community-building in a city that would like to encourage more of the same in other neighborhoods. Mr. Ray's gross and misguided generalization about how Councilmembers and their staff think and his referring to all of the quite separate and distinctive individuals at City Hall under one blanket "they" makes me wonder if he is an appropriate person to represent the Mar Vista Community Council and its policy decisions at City Hall.


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