VNC Forum Regarding Santa Monica Airport

By Martin Rubin
Closing Santa Monica Airport seemed to resonate on the Saturday afternoon of April 27, as the Venice Neighborhood Council threw a forum focused on how Santa Monica Airport (SMO) impacts Venice, Mar Vista, and other Los Angeles neighborhoods. The forum took place in the Pen Mar Park gymnasium, drawing a good crowd  of approximately 200 very interested attendees. With a very decent array of snacks and beverages, no one seemed to mind that the opening remarks started 45 minutes late. There was plenty of time to mingle.
VNC Airport Committee Co-Chairs Laura Silagi and Abigail Meyers, as well as VNC Vice President Marc Saltzberg (who acknowledged several noteworthy attendees), spoke briefly before introducing Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl who, in this reporter’s opinion, has done more to address our critical community SMO concerns than any local official, bar none. Bill spoke about this and that, acknowledged several in the crowd, and of course spoke strongly about how SMO should be shut down. There were three Santa Monica city Council Members in attendance: Tony Vazquez, Ted Winterer, and Gleam Davis.
Having had the honor of putting on several Forums with Bill over the past eight years, I know that a strict agenda timeline is but a guide, as forums have a tendency to take on a life of their own.
I had the honor of the first presentation. Bill introduced me and I spoke as the director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution. My presentation, accompanied by 31 slides, was titled “Santa Monica Airport’s Impacts On Los Angeles, The Fairness Factor.” My intent was to bring to light facts that are overlooked by the City of Santa Monica, yet have a devastating effect on the airport’s Los Angeles neighbors of Venice, Mar Vista and other West Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Next on the agenda was a presentation by David Goddard, chair of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, accompanied by Santa Monica resident and attorney Jonathan Stein. They spoke about a plan to take back 2,000 feet of the 5,000 foot runway that would dramatically curtail the airports operations.
Because of delays, the science segment was shortened to just one presentation by South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Phil Fine, who spoke about his two studies performed at SMO.
Moving then to the political segment moderated by former CA Assembly Member Betsy Butler, we heard from our Council Member elect Mike Bonin, our City Attorney candidates Mike Feuer and Carmen Trutanich, CA State Senator Ted Lieu and  Congressman Henry Waxman. Waxman received the most applause when he stated that if the communities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica wanted the airport closed, he would work to make that happen. The Santa Monica Airport’s Fly Neighborly Program, as well as other fairness factor issues were discussed. Speakers shed light on possible solutions.
I consider the forum to be a huge success, as much valued information was gleaned, and a spirit of political cooperation was enhanced.
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Martin Rubin is the Director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution