Open Letter from Rep. Harmen’s to FAA and NTSB Regarding SMO Plane Crash
Dear Administrator Babbitt and Chairwoman Hersman:
As you know, a small plane crashed at the east end of the runway at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) over the weekend. While no one was seriously injured, the plane ended up in an airport area adjacent to homes and office buildings.
The community is extremely fortunate that this accident was not more severe. As you may know, approximately 75 percent of the airport is surrounded by residences – some of which are less than 300 feet from the airport perimeter – and many of my constituents live in those neighborhoods. This near tragedy puts an exclamation point on concerns about safety at SMO that residents and I have expressed for many years.
SMO’s one runway was built decades ago and its safety areas, such as they are, are inadequate given that the risk to the surrounding community has continued to grow over the years with the development of new fleets and increased use of SMO by larger business jets.
As you investigate the specific causes of Sunday’s (August 2) crash, I urge you to do so in the context of overall safety issues at SMO and with an eye towards ensuring the residents and SMO personnel are well protected from future and potentially more devastating incidents.
I would be happy to discuss my longstanding concerns about SMO with you following the Congressional recess.
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I have been a Santa Monica resident for over 10 years and think it is one of the most beautiful places that a person could live. One thing that I have noticed is the “politically correct” approach to homelessness in the area. I am all for having compassion for those less fortunate, but lately have experienced several occasions when homeless people have become a nuisance to the community. Only this past weekend, I was showing a visiting relative around the Third Street Promenade area and were approached on five occasions by panhandlers, some of whom were rather rude, to say the least, especially when their advances were declined.
Then, as we strolled along Palisades Park, through the “feeding zone,” we were told by a group of people who were “dining” (one was drinking “something” from a brown paper bag) to keep away from “their” area.
These are not isolated incidents and it appears that our beautiful city is the preferred destination for transients and it also appears that the city’s “liberal” approach to this problem is having a negative effect on the taxpayers and voters of Santa Monica. I ask the powers that be to please consider residents welfare as well as the well-being of transients.
Santa Monica, CA