Area residents of staged their latest protest Sunday afternoon and were joined by Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. Earlier this year, , crafted by Rosendahl and Councilwoman Janice Hahn, to lower the amount of noise and pollution at SMO.
Around 1 p.m., roughly two dozen protesters congregated on both sides of Bundy Drive at the intersection of National Boulevard, holding signs and waving to drivers as they passed by. Rosendahl led a handful of the protesters to march to the SMO entrance at Bundy and Airport Avenue, where they planted themselves for about 15 minutes.
Protesters chanted, "Time to shut the airport down!," "No more jets!" and "Santa Monica, listen to Los Angeles!"
"Santa Monica, in its selfishness, has all its takeoffs and landings over my folks," Rosendahl told Patch. "My [11th District] constituents face toxicity every day. This is a health emergency. It's like having a motorcycle in the playground."
In July, California State Sen. Ted Lieu asked for by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substance Control into the toxicity of the soil, vapor and air surrounding toxic pollution stemming from aircraft operations.
Rosendahl applauded Lieu's efforts and said U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California "gets it" too. But he scolded U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, who represents Santa Monica and is the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
"I want the House committee to take up this issue," Rosendahl said. "If Waxman wanted to show real leadership, he wouldn't be finding ways to keep the airport open."
Rosendahl argued that politicians need to pressure the Federal Aviation Administration, which has an airport lease with the city of Santa Monica (). He also noted that many people who use the municipal airport are wealthy.
"This is the 1 percent," he said, pointing to SMO.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Martin Rubin, whose group Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution organized the Sunday protest. (Rubin about his opposition to SMO for Patch.)
"I've always said the city of Santa Monica and the FAA are responsible for the airport and its pollution," he said, "but the users—corporate people, sports figures, entertainment celebrities—should be responsible too. They're coming here in luxury and comfort and convenience, and turning a blind eye to the extreme environmental impacts [of SMO]."
Rubin's group held a related education forum, which Rosendahl also attended, at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church in West Los Angeles on Saturday night. Via teleconference, British environmental activists John Stewart and Dan Glass explained how they successfully curtailed plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport in London.
"This was a first try at bringing in global interests" around the subject of airport pollution, Rubin said.
Other efforts are under way to galvanize additional groups to support shutting down SMO. Protester Lorraine Sanchez, who is a director of the Santa Monica neighborhood group Friends of Sunset Park, said her organization is trying to team up with other neighborhood groups, in part through the neighborhood council that represents all six of them.
"I think it's morally wrong to say to say pollution is OK in someone else's background but not mine."
Protester Suzi Spear, a West Los Angeles resident who lives near the airport, said she and her family have been directly affected by the airport pollution.
"I have to tell my kids they can't be outside sometimes, because during certain times of day the jets will be there idling and spewing fumes," she said.
Spear, who moved to West Los Angeles in 2000, said she knew there would be noise from the planes at the airport but didn't expect to be near an environmental hazard.
"We don't know the health consequences yet, but it can't be good," she said.
For more on opposition to Santa Monica Airport, read about attended by 36th Congressional District race candidate Marcy Winograd. Also, read what 50th Assembly District candidates , and have to say about the airport.