The City Council will accept Tuesday the resignation of Ofer Grossman, who served 12 years on the Airport Commission, one of the council's more proactive and controversial advisory boards.
Grossman was considered to be one of its most knowledgeable members. He would not disclose why he stepped down, though he did say it was a tough decision.
"I can't recall ever quitting anything before in my life and was truly honored to serve on the commission for as long as I did," Grossman told Patch. "But, it was time for me to go."
Neither would he comment on a piece by one of the local anti-airport groups, Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic, that concluded, based on comments he made during his last commission meeting, that "Grossman has decided he can be more effective advocating on airport matters as a member of the public."
Grossman sent official resignation Feb. 28 to city Airport Director Bob Trimborn. It was humble and brief.
"It has truly been my honor and my pleasure to serve on the Santa Monica Airport Commission," Grossman wrote in an email. "I especially appreciate the courtesy and friendship of the Airport staff over the years."
For the past couple of years, the commission has been suggesting ways to reduce flights and noise at the airport, but it's rare for the City Council, which has the ultimate say, to take to up the recommendations.
The city manager has accused the commission of siding with activists who want the airport shut down because they believe it's noisy, toxic and unsafe.
Grossman was on the commission in the summer of 2003, when one of the most vocal activists, Marty Rubin, and his wife, Joan, founded Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, known as CRAAP.
"He believed what we were doing was important and spoke highly of our efforts at commission meetings urging people to get involved," Rubin said.
Grossman resigned before the commission is scheduled to hold one of its final workshops on a "highly charged," three-phase project aimed at acquiring professional evaluations and public input on how the airport should look and operate after 2015, when its current operational agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration expires. (The FAA insists its control over SMO will continue after that date).
The workshop is set for April 1, and on April 30, the City Council is scheduled discuss the airport.
"To be honest with you, the City Council meeting in April is probably the best way for people to convey their thoughts to the City Council in a way that they can be sure the City Council is hearing them," Grossman said at the meeting before his resignation. "Listening is another matter, but that's the way you're going to have to communicate."
On its website, Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic called Grossman's departure a "serious blow." It said his absence on the commission means advocacy groups need to step up their fight "to ensure the City Council heeds the community as they discuss the airport issue."
Grossman said he would continue to, "when appropriate, liaison with City Council and staff with whom I have, over the years, developed a personal relationship, regarding these issues on behalf of the community groups with which I am working."
Those groups, he said, are the Friends of Sunset Park Airport Committee and CASMAT.