Opinion: Anti-airport commission fumbles
By Bill Bauer on March 9, 2014
What on Earth were they thinking? I’m talking about the Santa Monica (anti) Airport Commission?
a federal judge tossed out City Hall’s lawsuit against the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) over future uses at the 227-acre Santa
Monica Airport (SMO) property last month, “The Airport Commission voted 4
to 1 to send a recommendation to City Council that would halt the sale
of aviation fuel and restrict the rental of airport property to any
tenants other than art studios and those doing light manufacturing.”
They also suggested raising all rents to market rate, reported the Santa
Monica Daily Press (“Airport Commission recommends starving SMO,” March
3, Pg. 1)
If I were an aero-related tenant at the airport, I’d
be looking into suing City Hall if this recommendation is acted on by
City Council. I would think that adoption of the commission’s
recommendations would constitute discrimination against aviation-related
tenants and a threat to private business and livelihoods.
Dec. 9, 2011, this newspaper editorialized after real-estate executive
and Sunset Park resident David Goddard (now chairman) was appointed to
the Airport Commission (“Airport Commission’s lack of diversity is
troubling.”) and stated that he “had a strong anti-airport agenda.”
Daily Press pointed out that Goddard was a member of the Friends of
Sunset Park neighborhood group which had been “vigorously lobbying
elected officials to shut SMO down or at least extremely curtail
operations there” and noted that Goddard was encouraging residents to
fill out a survey from the anti-SMO Community Against Santa Monica
Airport Traffic (CASMAT).
The five person commission is rife with
airport haters — four of whom live near SMO — who want to see the
airport closed. They seem to only represent a select few anti-airport
residents in West Los Angeles and Sunset Park instead of the community
as a whole.
The editorial continued, “There was a time when the
Airport Commission was comprised of representatives from the aviation
community, merchants operating around the airport and residents in both
Sunset Park and elsewhere. It was truly representative of the community.
Right now the commission is not. It represents one view — those who
feel SMO is a danger to the public because it lacks proper runway safety
areas and contributes to air pollution.”
down businesses and terminating hundreds of airport-related jobs is
despicable. Chairman Goddard, Vice Chair Peter Donald, Steven Mark,
Suzanne Paulson and Lael Rubin were all appointed by the City Council.
Nevertheless, council should condemn their repulsive recommendation on
no uncertain terms.
The future for the airport will almost
certainly include aviation uses. Therefore, decisions on its future must
produce results that are best for all stakeholders including airport
neighbors. Unfortunately, this bunch of political appointees has
demonstrated they’re not up to the challenge.