The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has threatened to go to the Department of Transportation in an effort to cut off all federal transportation funding to the City of Santa Monica, including money for roads and the Big Blue Bus, said Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom at the annual meeting of the Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP) on Saturday, June 14. Bloom also reported that Santa Monica officials met with Congressman Henry Waxman on Friday, June 13, to update Waxman on the continuing litigation between the City and the FAA.
The FOSP annual meeting also featured presentations by City Manager Lamont Ewell, Police Chief Tim Jackman, and Director of Planning and Community Development Eileen Fogarty, and a discussion of the upcoming bond measure for Santa Monica College.
The annual Emmalie Award, given for extraordinary service to FOSP, was presented to Cathy Larson, who chairs the organization’s very active Airport Committee.
Bloom’s reference to the FAA threat came during his presentation on the status of the ongoing disputes between the City and the FAA concerning safety issues at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) and the enforcement of the City ordinance that would ban larger, faster “Category C and D” aircraft at SMO. The threat was stated in the FAA Director’s Determination issued May 27 in FAA administrative proceedings that have been pending since October 2002 but that were in a holding pattern until the City adopted the ordinance on March 25 of this year. In that Director’s Determination, the FAA ordered that it would notify the Secretary of Transportation “of the City’s noncompliance posture with its Federal obligations when considering an award of future Federal funds that would otherwise be made available to the City . . .”
Such language is unusual in a case like this one that does not involve revenue diversion issues, Deputy City Attorney Martin Tachiki told the Mirror. The City filed a request for a hearing on June 13 to obtain review of the Director’s Determination in the FAA administrative proceedings; the City has already appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from the FAA Cease and Desist Order entered in those proceedings.
City Manager Ewell spoke to the Sunset Park residents mostly about the then-pending City budget. Police Chief Jackman introduced Officer Artis Williams, the Neighborhood Resource Officer for the Sunset Park area, and said that there has been a nine percent decrease in crime citywide since the January 29, 2008 launch of the Neighborhood Resource Officer program. Fogarty spoke of the pending Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) of the City’s General Plan.
Discussing the Santa Monica College $295 million bond issue were longtime SMC employee Philip Hendricks, who opposes the measure, and SMC Trustee David Finkel, who supports it.
Elected to the FOSP board of directors for the coming year were new member Laura Thixton and returning members Brian Bland, Phyllis Chavez, Tom Cleys, Charlie Donaldson, Susan Hartley, Emmalie Hodgin, Zina Josephs, John Reynolds, and Lorraine Sanchez.