Santa Monica Measure D and the battle to preserve SMO and prevent the redevelopment of its 227 acres.
Our 97 year old Santa Monica Municipal Airport is under looming threat of closure by our City Council.
In direct response to this threat, Measure D was created and over 15,000 signatures were gathered in support.
Measure LC is the City Council's counter measure to D and not a single signature was gathered to place it on the ballot. This measure is the Council's attempt to deny voter participation in any decision to close SMO and re-develop its low-density land.
Key Measure LC language:
"...City Council shall have full authority, without voter approval, to...close all or part of the Airport to aviation use."
"However, this section shall not prohibit the City Council from approving ("without voter approval") the following on Airport land that has been permanently closed to aviation use: parks, public open spaces, and public recreation facilities; and the maintenance and replacement of existing cultural, arts and educational uses."
If LC passes, the above language added to our City Charter would allow the Council to begin full scale re-development at SMO "without voter approval". Council could begin construction on, a park (which city staff has clearly stated we cannot afford - see Measure D Document #1), unspecified recreational facilities (this could be a stadium for SMC), and the replacement of all existing cultural, arts and educational uses.
These categories can be applied immediately to almost 40 acres of airport land and would allow Santa Monica City College to massively expand their Bundy Campus with zero voter input.
Measure D gives VOTERS, and not the City Council, the right to decide whether or not we close the airport and begin the re-development process in the first place, and if so, exactly what form that development would take. Any re-development of airport land should require voter approval. Otherwise, the Council and their developer friends may continue to carve away pieces of airport land "without voter approval" until nothing is left.
Passage of Measure D will require a simple majority of voters to agree to close SMO in a general municipal election. (If 100 ballots are cast, 51 is the majority.) City Council would be forced to present voters with a clear and comprehensive plan for closing the airport and re-developing it's 227 low-density acres.
Measure D language addresses the City Council's "starvation" plan to effectively close the airport by eliminating fuel sales and aviation services.
There is no "ministerial" element to Measure D. In fact, California law forbids ballot measures from being "ministerial" in nature. Day-to-day airport management remains with the airport staff and the City Council with the advice of the Airport Commission. Measure D does not restrict the City Council from making positive changes at the airport to improve safety, noise, and pollution, or manage leases, and other routine matters.
Mr. David Goddard, Chair of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, confirms on the last page of his "SM Airport Commissioners Report 9/22/14 v6", that Measure D does not maintain the status quo or limit the City's discretionary approval over changes at SMO.
"This (Measure D) does NOT say "maintain the status quo". It only says "in a manner that supports its aviation purpose."
"So, if this (Measure D) passed, the city manager would still have discretionary approval."
Jet operations as well as overall operations at SMO have been declining for the last decade. Below is a graph from the most recent "Santa Monica Airport Noise Management Program Annual Report for 2012". Note that jet operations fluctuate up to 10 to 15% per year.
The above graph comes directly from the City of Santa Monica's "Santa Monica Airport Noise Management Program Annual Report for 2012".
Santa Monica Airport Faces Critical Ballot Measure
Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) is at the center of a battle for its own survival and to keep the city from shortening the runway or closing the airport entirely. A dedicated group of aviators, including SMAA members, is leading the fight that moves to the voting booth next month.
This group is actively working for approval of a local ballot initiative in Santa Monica known as “Measure D.” It is also called “The Voters Decide Initiative” and would prevent any land use changes at the airport without a majority vote of Santa Monica residents. The airport supporters have been assisted extensively by AOPA and NBAA, and is continuing wide public outreach on the ballot question.
It’s important for the community: Closing SMO would eliminate 175 businesses and 1,500 jobs on the airport, as well as displacing 269 aircraft based there. It would eliminate a major component of the area’s disaster relief program, especially in an event where Interstates 405 and 10 are disabled and/or traffic-choked.
Over the last 30 years, the city has tried six times and squandered millions of tax-payer dollars to close the airport despite FAA and court rulings that have confirmed the land’s use as an airport. Measure D will make Santa Monica voters the only group that can decide to close the airport. It also prevents the city from stopping fuel sales or refusing to renew hangar leases, as the city has proposed.
The city is pursuing its counter-initiative, Measure LC, to override Measure D and control the airport's future without voter approval. Measure LC, written by the anti-airport City Council, allows immediate development on all land closed to airport uses without voter approval. It encourages partial or full airport closure as soon as possible, allowing the land to be utilized for high-density development.
More information is available through these sources:
• Visit the Santa Monica Airport Association website, the SMAA Facebook page, and SMAA's twitter's page. The association is currently seeking volunteers and media contacts to get their message out to the community.
• Santa Monica Voters Decide is on the web at www.smvotersdecide.com. The organization is actively seeking endorsements and donations to further the initiative before the polls open.
If you do not live in Santa Monica and cannot vote for Measure D, we encourage you to contact your friends and acquaintances in Santa Monica and urge them to vote YES for Measure D (and NO for Measure LC) on November 4th.