Blog | Council Candidates' Airport Views: Will They Fly?

Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution's (CRAAP's) fifth consecutive Santa Monica City Council candidates forum Sept. 13. Who is elected will ultimately determine the fate of SMO.

All 15 Santa Monica City Council candidates, including two incumbents, vying for four open seats have been invited to participate at Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution's (CRAAP's) fifth consecutive Santa Monica City Council Candidates Forum Focused On Santa Monica Airport Issues.

The forum will take place Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 6 p.m. inside the Santa Monica Business Park, just north of Santa Monica Airport, at 3250 Ocean Park Boulevard, Suite 160, Santa Monica, 90405 (parking lot entrance from 31st Street). The forum is free and open to the public. Free on-site parking with validation.

For further information contact: Martin Rubin, CRAAP Director at (310) 479–2529
E-mail: jetairpollution@earthlink.net , Website: jetairpollution.com

CRAAP's first forum was held September 13, 2004. Now, eight years later to the day, CRAAP is again exercising due diligence by inviting Santa Monica City Council candidates to offer their views and answer questions about one specific Westside critical issue: Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

At our first forum, we were honored to have as our moderator, noted educator / journalist Bill Rosendahl, who at the time was preparing what was to be his successful bid to represent the newly formed Los Angeles District 11 that, as Bill would say, embraced Santa Monica. The moderator for CRAAP's 2006 second forum was Dr. Jean Gebman, a former Santa Monica Airport Commissioner. Two years later, former Santa Monica Mayor Michael Feinstein graciously accepted to be moderator. For our fourth forum in 2010, I took on the task of moderator, and in true masochistic form, I'm moderating again this year.

What's different in 2012?

The difficult challenge of unseating four incumbents running to be reseated has been reduced.  This time there will be at least two new faces seated at the council dais because Councilmember Bobby Shriver decided not to run, and Mayor Richard Bloom is running for State Assembly. That leaves two incumbents, Gleam Davis and Terry O'Day running to be elected to their seats that they originally were appointed to by City Council due to the passing of Council members Ken Genser and Herb Katz. However in 2010 both ran and were elected for the remaining two years normally associated with their seats.  There are in total  seven council members.

The possible election of four new members could potentially change the views of the council and thus the direction of the city. Whoever is elected this November would stay as a majority of the Council in 2014 as the remaining three Council seats become open for election. The Council seated after the 2014 election would then be the Council that will set the direction regarding the fate of Santa Monica Airport when the contract with the FAA expires on June 30, 2015. Therefore this 2012 election and the 2014 election are crucial in determining the makeup of the Council that will ultimately present the city's decisions about the fate of SMO come 2015.

What else is different?

New scientific studies by US EPA, South Coast Air Quality Management District, UCLA, and the World Health Organization point to a major public health concerns stemming from SMO operations. Lead pollution from piston aircraft; carcinogens from jet exhaust; and noise effects on blood pressure are three significant concerns. There have also been a few more crashes around SMO, an airport with no runway safety areas and next to no buffer distance between the runway and homes.

Community groups from Santa Monica and in Los Angeles have taken heed of the evidence. The community has educated themselves. OK, I helped some, but there is no denying that Santa Monica Airport issues are on all the groups' agendas.

One significant bit of information brought to the public's attention recently is City Council Resolution 6296 adopted by the 1981 Santa Monica City Council. It still exists and states that it is the "policy of the City of Santa Monica to effect the closure of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport as soon as practicable." Since 1981, SMO neighbors have experienced a huge increase in negative SMO impacts; with air pollution, noise, and safety threats. Today, the arguments for Resolution 6296 are much stronger than when it was adopted over thirty years ago. Millions of dollars were spent to upgrade the airport's runway to accommodate the corporate/private jet age flagrantly overlooking or dismissing the harm to public health and safety; air pollution has basically been ignored by the City Council. How the candidates view Resolution 6296 will be of great interest at this forum.

There are those aviation enthusiasts who, through their comments to the media, are unyielding in their efforts to undermine, not only the efforts on behalf of the community, but also the scientific studies. They claim that those bothered by SMO are few in number and trouble makers. If you follow the comments, you know just how nasty they can be. It is no coincidence that whenever the Airport Owners and Pilots Association sends out notice of an article about SMO to their membership, a slew of the usual comments appear below the articles.

Might I suggest that we try to make time to attend this important forum, Thursday, September 13.

Thank you, and I look forward to an informative evening with the Council Candidates and you.

For more information, contact me at (310) 479-2529 or email: jetairpollution@earthlink.net

Stay up-to-date at jetairpollution.com where you can also sign up to be on our contact list.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Ross September 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM
The comment "you know just how nasty they can be" is very troublesome. The "aviation enthusiasts" did not, and never will, throw nails into the parking lots and driveways of our flight schools (three times!). You in CRAP should be ashamed of yourselves. Jim (a pilot)
Martin Rubin September 06, 2012 at 08:07 PM
The man charged with this has never been associated with CRAAP. I sent the following quote to the Santa Monica Daily Press immediately upon being informed by the Daily Press of the incident. "CRAAP strongly condemns any non-peaceful form of protest. Our efforts focus on education and awareness of airport impacts on the surrounding communities. Video surveillance would be a useful tool at times like this." Martin Rubin, Director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution
Harry Chauncy September 11, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Well of course aviation enthusiasts wouldn't throw nails in the parking lots of flight schools. One more example of tortured logic from an airport supporter?
Pilot Dave September 12, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Martin, I take offense at you calling us aviators "nasty". I find you and your group to be the nasty ones. You move right next to historic Santa Monica airport, which has been operating since 1919 and then try to shut it down. If you don't like living next to an airport you can move. It's a free country. Stop trying to take away our freedom and stop trying to chip away at our national infrastructure just because the airport irritates you.
Harry Chauncy September 12, 2012 at 03:39 AM
The idea of a "free country" has never been clear. I don't think it means a place where people are free to do anything they want, but I think it refers to a place where people are allowed to express themselves freely and where government processes are generally democratic. I would say that people live in a free country when they are allowed to have input into the running of their government and to influence the government to make popular changes when the times demand them. When residents (long and short term) are being showered with deafening noise and jet pollution then they should have the right to petition their government for changes and expect results. That to me is a "free country."


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