Before realizing it didn't have the quorum it needed, the Santa Monica City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to pay Santa Monica-based flight schools "to go away for a while."
A decision on the unpopular proposal to pay the businesses to was postponed immediately after the vote, when the council members learned they needed at least five "yeses" to approve the funding.
Councilmen Richard Bloom and Bobby Shriver were absent from the meeting.
"It's unfortunate that it's going to cost us money... [but] we're paying this money to improve the skies over Santa Monica, Mar Vista and Venice," said councilwoman Gleam Davis.
Davis said the proposal—which would be rolled out on a six-month temporary basis—would be an efficient and immediate way to reduce aircraft noise.
The flight schools account for 40 percent of traffic at the Santa Monica Airport and neighbors have lobbied the council for years to find a way to quell the noise.
But the proposal has been criticized by residents who say the city shouldn't be paying the flight schools. Councilman Kevin McKeown called their dissent ironic, and councilman Bob Holbrook agreed.
Holbrook cast the dissenting vote. He said he had not heard from a single person who liked the proposal.
"If the public that is befitting from it doesn’t want it... I'm not going to support this," Holbrook said. "It's really peculiar people really don't want us to do it."
Under the proposal, participating flight schools would receive $150 for each flight that resulted in a minimum of four takeoffs and four landings conducted at other airports on weekends and federal holidays. City staffers said it has the potential of resulting in up to 4,800 fewer takeoffs and landings.
City staffers have estimated the program would cost as much as $90,000 in six months.
A decision is now expected in July.