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Airport Commissioner Resigns After 12 Years

Ofer Grossman says he will continue working with local neighborhood groups on airport issues.

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.

Pilot Dave March 08, 2013 at 06:27 AM
Here's a thought. Let's get an actual airport commission, not a group of lemmings controlled by rich fat cat develops and insane community activists. Let's get an airport commission that cares about the airport. One that wants to improve the airport and increase flight operations.
Zina Josephs March 08, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Let's not.
Glenn E Grab March 08, 2013 at 04:36 PM
good riddance
Martin Rubin March 08, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Ofer Grossman has put in more than a decade of service as an Airport Commissioner, and that, in of itself, is commendable. I have been attending Airport Commission meetings since the late 1990's and in my opinion Ofer, as chair, has been one of the best in bringing fairness to the meetings by allowing speakers to finish their thoughts past their allotted time limit as well as to give follow-up comments. Ofer was sitting on the commission in the summer of 2003, when Joan and I founded CRAAP. He believed what we were doing was important and spoke highly of our efforts at commission meetings urging people to get involved. Unfortunately the airport commission seemed completely inadequate when it came to advising City Council with regard to environmental issues, and complaints regarding impacts to the Los Angeles neighborhoods were not given due consideration. This holds true today as well. However, Commissioner Goddard began a strong effort to send Commission advisories over to Council and that is a start. Goddard, as chair, has continued with Ofer's fair practices. In order to affect change, what it really comes down to is the need for greater public attendance at both the Commission as well as the Council level.
Glenn E Grab March 08, 2013 at 10:04 PM
martin, get a life
GasMeUp March 09, 2013 at 08:22 AM
(article): "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." Well, isn't it!?
Michael S March 09, 2013 at 03:52 PM
We need someone like Dave on the commission. Someone who is willing to lie about studies done by The University of Haifa, California Geo-technical Institute and Bureau of Air Resources to show that there is no polution from the airport.
Glenn E Grab March 09, 2013 at 04:02 PM
gasmeup.....noisy, toxic and unsafe?....under your guidelines, all airports should be closed, automobiles and trains banned, and we should go back to the horse and buggy days...oh, yeah, horses and buggys are noisy, toxic and unsafe also...
Pilot Dave March 09, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Michael S, My studies are just as conclusive as the opponents research, I am humbled my your nomintation and I accept. I pledge to extend the runway at SMO all the way to the beach. I hope to open the airport to 24x7 cargo operations from all types of aircraft including the heavy ones such as the 747s and antonovs. I also hope to relocate riverside's march air force base to Santa Monica so we can base our military's heavy cargo aircraft right at home in Santa Monica. It's time we do something for the troops. And if anyone has a problem with it they are not patriots!
Michael S March 09, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Your studies are non-existant. I asked you for links and you ignored the request because you can't supply them. You are a typical wingnut who makes statements that are not true because you know that the vast majority of people won't check the citations. Unfortunately for you I did do a search and there were zero results.
GasMeUp March 09, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Hm. No fall-out from LEAD via piston aircraft's AvGas combustion.... 'horse and buggy days'...interesting thought you have there.
E.H. March 10, 2013 at 04:34 AM
Foolish comments like Glenn E Grab's just drive me nuts, whatever topic they're on. The comment blames people understandably concerned about health for being unreasonably old fashioned, out of touch with progress, but ignores facts. The FACT is that SMO was built and put into operation before Santa Monica was as residential as it is, and the FACT is that no other airport in the nation has less of a buffer between itself and the residences of real, live, breathing people. Horses and buggy's have nothing to do with the discussion. If you want to discuss realities, then compare SMO to every other airport in the nation, and insist that it either be brought up to code in respect to buffer zones (which can't be accomplished without buying out dozens, or hundreds, of homeowners), or shut down operations. There are safety standards that have been established, and SMO doesn't meet them. It's as simple as that.
Glenn E Grab March 11, 2013 at 02:32 PM
yeah, Grossman's a hero, what did your "hero" accomplish?....nothing, just like the rest of you did.......don't you guys get it?.....the airport is here to stay, read the charter and listen to what the FAA says...the City Council has no power in this matter, they're just listening to you bunch of spoiled whiners and laughing as soon as you leave the room...
Glenn E Grab March 11, 2013 at 02:34 PM
how about the "fallout" from the horses' posteriors.....

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