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Neighborhood Activism: Friends of Sunset Park:

Only a few years ago, neighborhood groups were highly visible and very active on the civic front in Santa Monica. Today, whatever the reason – perhaps apathy, perhaps fatigue from fighting City Hall – there aren’t many of those groups left. One group, however, that has remained very active is the Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP). Its boundaries are Lincoln Boulevard to the west, the east and south city limits and Pico Boulevard to the north. FOSP is “dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of life in Sunset Park.” According to President Zina Josephs, the group is currently working on “lobbying for the installation of 300-foot Runway Safety Areas at both ends of the runway at Santa Monica Airport, per FAA safety guidelines.” In addition, FOSP has also urged airport officials to implement an “Aircraft Conformance Program, which would limit larger aircraft that do not meet the design standards of the Santa Monica Airport” to increase the safety of the surrounding community. They also have been “sending representatives to the committee overseeing the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) study of air quality around the airport.” The group is attempting to get the City to fund a new traffic plan for Sunset Park due to traffic congestion caused during rush hour. It is also interested in having a crossing guard placed at the intersection of Ocean Park Boulevard and 16th Street because of safety issues for the students from John Adams Middle School and Rogers Elementary School.FOSP members are also very concerned with stemming the tide of gang violence in the City. At community forums on the issue sponsored last year by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, FOSP was chosen to be an Action Partner.“In January 2005, FOSP surveyed residents about their concerns, which included traffic, safety, noise and air pollution issues for residents living near Santa Monica Airport; traffic, parking and growth issues involving SMC; density and worries about losing the “small town” feel that residents value; and concern over the homeless population in Santa Monica.” The survey results were then turned over to various City officials.Other accomplishments in 2005 included successfully lobbying the City “in cooperation with the Ocean Park Association to update the City’s adult use code. This allows the City to more easily define adult use businesses, thereby preventing a concentration of such businesses on Lincoln and Pico.” Another successful City lobbying campaign resulted in the redirection of “traffic from the new SMC Bundy Campus onto Bundy/Centinela rather than onto residential streets in Sunset Park.”The committees that are part of the FOSP are the Airport, Annual Meeting, Fairview Library, Historic Preservation, Membership, Newsletter, Planning and Development and Santa Monica College. Their Board officers are Zina Josephs, President; Tom Cleys, Vice President; Charlie Donalson, Secretary and John Reynolds, Treasurer. For more information, go to www.friendsofsunsetpark.org, email at FriendsofSP@yahoo.com or call 310.358.7117.

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