A Hollow Victory (with pyrrhic overtones)


Folks who would like to see our airport close have been crowing of late about the supposed benefits they imagine they have gained by the passage of measure LC at the last election. They cite LC as “Local Control” and assert that it gives the citizens and the city government more control of land at the Municipal Airport. It does nothing of the kind.

LC would be better described as “Lost Control” since it specifically denies citizen voter input on the legal uses of land at the airport that are not used for aviation.

All of the land that comprises our airport is parkland under California law and may only be used for bonafide parkland uses. Due to an amendment to California State Law requested by the City of Santa Monica in the 1920’s, aviation is one of those uses. It states simply that a park may be used for an airport as long as an airport is needed. Aviation parkland, additionally, is subject to Federal Law.

Any land at the airport that is not used for aviation must still be used for parkland purposes and changing that requires a 2/3 vote of the registered voters-a difficult hurdle indeed.

LC conferred no rights upon the city government that it did not already have, it merely disfranchised the electorate with regard to future land use decisions at the airport within existing law. LC represents a net loss for participatory democracy.

The LC proponents would have us believe that a simple majority vote in a low voter turnout election can somehow overturn the statutory requirement of a 2/3 majority of all of the registered voters. t’ain’t so.

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