By Martin Rubin
Although the City of Santa Monica owns and operates Santa Monica Airport (SMO), we Angelenos experience most of SMO noise and air pollution.
Is there anything we can do that will make a difference, or is it a waste of time to get involved?
Can I interest you in a Great Park? This is not a pipe dream. A coalition has formed to strengthen efforts to close SMO. One very reasonable question has been asked over and over: if SMO closes, are we to get a Playa Vista or Century City development in its place? Since SMO is public and not private land, plans for how the airport land will be developed will be put forth by the City of Santa Monica and its voters.
Santa Monica resident activists have stepped up their efforts to hold their City Council accountable to the will of their constituents. And what is the will of Santa Monica residents? For those who reside near SMO, the will is to either curtail operations significantly or to close the airport altogether. Significantly means eliminating flight schools along with their toxic lead pollution as well as the toxic air pollution and ear-splitting noise from jet traffic.
Many have expressed interest in closing SMO altogether for a number of valid reasons. I am firmly situated in that camp. However, so many are not aware of the cost of SMO, both environmentally and economically. Santa Monica tax payers have been subsidizing SMO over the years to the tune of 15 million dollars. So the 1% of the 1% have been getting taxpayers to help them travel in style.
On Sunday, September 15, fifty-five bicyclists gathered to tour the perimeter of Santa Monica Airport and learn about airport environmental and land use issues. Ironically, as they stopped by the Centinela Avenue entrance to the airport listening to a description of the millions of dollars in subsidy costs to the City, a $200,000 convertible Aston Martin DB-9 drove up and a middle aged man with his eye candy honked at the group so they could get by and enter the gates to the jet center. Fifteen minutes later a private jet took off accompanied by ear-splitting noise and tons of toxic air pollution.
Do we really need this kind of an airport? Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP) at www.jetairpollution.com; Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic (CASMAT) at www.casmat.org; and Sunset Park Anti -Airport (SPAA) at www.sparesidents.org are saying that a great park would benefit so many more in so many ways. The three groups hooked up together forming the first cars of the Airport-to-Park Train. You can get on board too. Visit the above websites and www.airport2park.org. As is often the case, the people need to make it happen. This train ride promises to be enjoyable.
By Martin Rubin