Once again, in order to preserve the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, it has become necessary for us to go to the forum (the FAA this time) and state our case against the City of Santa Monica. Last Friday, February 5, a new and comprehensive Part 16 complaint was filed with the FAA in Washington (see our documents section in “About” for the full text). It was filed in response to the City’s redoubled efforts to ruin and close the airport in defiance of its obligations delineated in the Federal Grant Assurances and the 1948 Instrument Of Transfer implementing the Congressional Surplus Property Act of 1947.
The problem this time is a rerun of tactics in the late 1970’s–an attempt to strangle the airport with a death of a thousand cuts method exemplified by various actions designed to impede the usefulness of the airport to aviators and sap the profitability from airport businesses.
One of the more onerous of these is the outrageous landing fees imposed on ALL aircraft using SMO, even those based here who already pay rent to use the field. To justify the imposition of fees under federal guidelines, the airport must be losing money– not breaking even or showing a profit as ours traditionally does. The City has been playing a shell game with the money to generate a false deficit and we are demanding an accounting, perhaps leading to an audit by the United States Department of Justice. We contend that the city has unlawfully diverted revenue.
A second outrage addressed is the city’s refusal to issue leases, thus preventing airport businesses from making long term plans, obtaining leases, and in general enjoying the reasonable privileges of a tenant as do other businesses in the city. We contend, as well, that the city has acted discriminatorily in its leasing practices to other tenants on airport land. These and many other issues are addressed in this Part 16 document as well.
Please take some time and review the filing document and you will have a good understanding of the issues as they are understood at the present time.
One final note: these challenges do not come cheap even with copious volunteer help. We are in a pitched battle and we remind you that saving things that matter has an out of pocket cost that MUST be met. Please contribute generously to the SMAA today so that we can continue to protect one of America’s iconic airports.