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Blog | Why Rush the Santa Monica Airport Flight School Payoff Plan?

Why is Santa Monica City Council in such a rush to pass the "Flight Training Reduction Incentive Test Program"?

Why is Santa Monica City Council rushing the SMO flight-school-payoff plan?

Over the past few decades, the city of Santa Monica has moved a great amount of the negative impacts of its own Santa Monica Airport (SMO) to anywhere other than Santa Monica. However, there are still enough negative impacts over Santa Monica to cause Santa Monica residents great concerns.

In December of 2010, with the approach of the July 1, 2015 termination date of the 1984 "Santa Monica Airport Agreement," the Santa Monica City Council directed staff to embark on a three-stage process regarding the Airport's future and authorized the hiring of consultants to assist. From the onset of stage one of this process, airport neighbors and even the Santa Monica Airport Commission were concerned about the methodology of the process as well as the intent of the City. The seeds of distrust were being planted.

The Santa Monica Airport Commission would attempt to garner the opportunity to give input. The city had its own ideas. This confrontation seems to be continuing to date.

The City Council held a study session at the May 8, 2012 City Council meeting regarding the "Santa Monica Airport Campus Phase II Public Process Findings." At this meeting Council members asked for the communities' trust. Councilmember Kevin McKeown first brought up the plan, that he said was worked out between staff and the flight schools, to move many of the flight schools flights to some other airport; "to move to Camarillo, Torrance or wherever", at (1:09:45) into the meeting.

Does the City of Santa Monica staff have such a good track record in dealing with SMO that they can work out a plan with flight schools, the very same flight schools that thumb their noses at the city ordinance that prohibits touch-and-goes, and stop-and-goes by using the taxi-back maneuver?

Apparently, they feel that they do. Because without taking this matter before their Airport Commission, without notifying the "wherever other airport cities," and without any investigative environmental reviews, they blindsided the airport's neighbors and even their own Airport Commission by placing the "" in a stack of 25 consent calendar items at their June 12, 2012 Council meeting. And Council expects to be trusted? Maybe they were just testing to see if the community and Airport Commission were on the ball. Thanks to the computer age, there was an immediate outcry of foul. The city yielded and , took it off the consent calendar, and placed it as an actual agenda item. Council members were gracious enough to schedule it one day after the Airport Commission was to meet (June 25), allowing more than ample time for the city's advisory commission on SMO affairs to publicly vet the issue and advise council on their views. Well, as fate would have it, the Airport Commission meeting was cancelled due to a lack of a quorum.

The City moved ahead as planned. On June 26,2012, Council heard from staff, listened to public comments, and voted 4 ayes and 1 nay to pass the staff recommendation. One problem, they needed five votes to allow for the funding, and since Mayor Richard Bloom and councilman Bobby Shriver were absent, they needed to bring the item back in a July Council meeting. Because this is a matter of such urgency, council will be discussing it on July 10, 2012, again bypassing input from their Airport advisory Commission which is scheduled to meet later in July.

That pretty much gets you up-to-date on this issue. I know there is a good deal of sarcasm  for you the reader to discern, but I have confidence in your ability to do so.

I also uploaded a very good report by John Fairweather, from the new Santa Monica community group on SMO issues, (CASMAT). He makes some excellent points and may have some answers to the question, "why is Santa Monica City Council rushing the SMO flight school payoff plan?"

I close by asking Santa Monica City Council to get with the program, start trusting the hard working community and your Airport Commission. Work with them. You are very fortunate to have them.



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.

Richard B July 10, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Close SMO.Horrible idea. Something sounds fishy. Santa Monica City Council must have some inside story like they get a big bonus for making this deal and lining $$$$ Joe Justice's pocket. Maybe free flight lessons for all of them and their friends. If they even have any.
Richard B July 10, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Santa Monica City Council does not listen to the people they represent. They just do as they wish and ignore the out cries. So this is government at it's BeST?
an interested observer July 10, 2012 at 02:32 AM
The airport commission is made up entirely of anti-airport members. so opponents are "fortunate to have them". No pro-airport views will be tolerated by the SMO airport commission. Thank god. We don't need democracy here, it just gets in the way.
Michael Moore July 10, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Talk about pro-airport views - why should residents bribe/pay schools to go somewhere else. Better still, how about charging (say) $10 per takeoff and landing - maybe with 2 freebies per day if necessary. Then all the touch-and-go practice runs will go somewhere else without hitting residents pocketbooks. The official flight rule require pilots to head out to sea BEFORE turning - something few pilots seem to care about. The noise created in Venice - especially the endless practice flights on weekends is awful.
Richard B July 12, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Michael that is the problem. Flight schools and pilots keep ignoring the suggested "fly friendly" program. They have brought this on themselves. Joe Justice and the other flight schools need to follow the so called rules and stop abusing their priviledge and the city ordinance that prohibits touch-and-goes, and stop-and-goes and implied taxi-back maneuver's. It is obvious that they do not follow the idea behind these ordinances. Ask the flight schools why they continue their abuse of these ordinances.
an interested observer July 14, 2012 at 12:54 AM
First of all, the city does not prohibit touch and goes during the week. Only on the weekends. It is perfectly legal to land and taxi back for a takeoff. That is exactly what the city mandated. BTW, The city could not stop taxiing back for takeoff. That falls under the FAA's jurisdiction. Touch and goes are designed to improve pilot proficency and the last thing we should do is restrict that.
Internet Marketing Guru August 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Santa Monica City Council is not paying proper attention.

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