The Santa Monica City Council continues on its wasteful and reckless path to close SMO with the appointment of Suja Lowenthal as Senior Advisor to the City Manager on Airport Affairs, Read: “Head of Closing SMO”.
Ms Lowenthal will be paid at least a total $205,000 in salary and benefits (see Transparent California website) to close a community asset that has been designated as “Critical Infrastructure” by the City’s own “All Hazards Mitigation Plan”.With all the natural disasters surrounding Los Angeles, read hurricanes and earthquakes, the City will need the airport in any kind of natural or man-made disaster.
The City’s recent backroom deal, with no public input that resulted in a “Consent Decree” in February 2017 is destined to be struck down in the courts, just like all the city’s previous attempts to close SMO. Like her predecessor, Nelson Hernandez, Ms. Lowenthal holds no training, qualifications or FAA certifications to qualify for airport matters. SMO generates around 1,500 jobs and at least $241m in economic activity by the cities own study in 2011. Contrary to City Council claims of unsafe and dangerous emissions, SMO is one of the safest in Santa Monica, with zero crime and an exemplary safety and emissions record. The facts from Santa Monica’s own Police department 2013-2015 demonstrate the City is one of the most unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists in California using California Office of Traffic Safety for 2014, the last year for which data is available. And data from the Santa Monica Police Department.
Santa Monica council, with backing from powerful property developers and egged on by a small, vocal minority of airport adjacent homeowners who knowingly moved in next to a 100 year-old airport are misleading Santa Monica citizens and tax payers. They claim to want to create a “Great Park” in place of SMO. Smokescreen. It is cover for yet another mixed-use development that will generate yet more traffic, congestion and crime for Santa Monica residents. Do the math. Parks in Santa Monica costs between $4m to $6m per acre to develop in 2015 dollars. 227 acres at SMO x $6m acre equals around $1.5 billion, yes billion dollars. Will not happen. Residents will get a few token pocket parks, similar to all the other 50+ airports that have closed in the LA basin since the 1940s. Local example, Playa Vista, the old Hughes Airport.
Santa Monica Airport Association, (SMAA) a local, non-profit organization of airport businesses, citizens and pilots. SMAA is run by volunteers whose Board of Directors are the most-trained, experienced and qualified aviation entity in the City of Santa Monica and depends on the generosity of sponsors and donors to perform its mission of passing on SMO to the next generation for all the community benefit.
Christian Fry (310) 849-1976 christianf at santamonicaairport.info
Dave Hopkins (310) 990-2045 daveh at santamonicaairport.info