After hearing from the public, Santa Monica’s City Council decided to support California State Assembly Bill 700 if it is amended to address the City’s concerns.
The City staff report states “AB 700 was introduced on February 22, 2007 by Assembly Member Ted Lieu (53rd District) to have the State of California through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) address air quality in the vicinity of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport and the manner in which general aviation aircraft affect air quality.” The proposed legislation directs CARB to complete a study of air pollution caused by “jets and turbo-prop airplanes” landing and departing from the airport and report its findings to the Legislature no later than July 1, 2009.
Bill amendments sought by the Council include a scientific study that builds on the data generated by the studies undertaken by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the inclusion of data in the study from all aircraft that use the airport, protection of the City from potential litigation resulting from the findings from the scientific study, ensuring that the City is not responsible for paying for the study and that actions can be taken if necessary against the federal government.
Those who gave public input to the Council also expressed support for AB 700. Susan Follet, a Los Angeles neighbor of the airport, told the Council, “Jet kerosene pollution from idling aircraft at the airport is our chief concern. A modeling study will identify the source.”
Martin Rubin, founder and director of Concerned Residents Against Air Pollution (CRAAP), asked the Council to support the bill. “Here is a gift that is costing you nothing to further advance the study of the potential impact of the aircraft operations at the airport,” said Rubin.
Airport Commissioner Susan Hartley noted that in her opinion, “It may take a lawsuit to eliminate this health hazard at the airport.”
Just this week, Assemblywoman Julie Brownley has agreed to co-author the bill.
In other news, the Council also approved the placemaking principles that had been derived from community workshops which were part of the City’s update process for its Land Use and Circulation Elements. They also supported three projects endorsed by the community during the workshops: A city-initiated Pico Corridor Study to help create standards and guidelines that will assure better buildings with an enhanced pedestrian environment; a parking study for Wilshire Boulevard; and starting the Ocean Park Boulevard streetscape pilot program, with improvements on Ocean Park west of Lincoln Boulevard.
Also reviewed by the Council were the concept plans for the Civic Center Village project. According to the City staff report, the approximately 325-unit mixed-use Village will contain 160 affordable residences, live-work units and neighborhood-serving retail services. The Council asked City staff to return with other options to help address issues having to do with the project’s mass and height.
The Council also heard from Crossroads High School students, who spoke out against animal performances on the Third Street Promenade. Senior Julien Isaacs told the Council, “Animals desire to be treated as living creatures, not as objects for sale or display.” The monkey on the Promenade “chained to the pavement and sporting a vest and cap” gives the wrong message to kids and adults that “those without defense can be exploited for entertainment…and reinforces the assumption that wild animals are comfortable in an urban environment. Exotic animals are also a public safety issue. These animals, no matter how well trained, have the potential to give a lethal and diseased bite to a child.”
Councilmembers responded by asking City staff to check on the animals described by the students and suggest possible ordinances to deal with the issue.