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.