September 25, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Airport Ballot Initiative Gathers More Than 15,500 Signatures:

A group of proponents aiming to amend the Santa Monica City Charter to require voters approve any potential plans to redevelop the local airport submitted more than 15,500 signatures to City Hall on Tuesday.

If County officials verify the submitted signatures, the issue of who determines the future of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) could be on the ballot. The initiative’s proponents hope voters would be able to decide on the proposed Charter amendment in the Nov. 4 general election.

The proponents, who organized under the group “Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions,” only needed to submit about 9,000 signatures.

A committee receiving funding from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and supported by businesses, pilots, and residents in the area, the Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions said it believes City officials “have not been forthcoming with voters and taxpayers about redevelopment and land-use plans for the valuable airport property.”

“The aim of the ballot initiative is to put the future of the development of airport land in the hands of the Santa Monica residents,” said John Jerabak, one of the members of the Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions. “It’s 227 acres of flat land that the residents own. Any development decisions about that land need to be vetted by the entire community.”

Joining Jerabak in submitting the 15,500-plus signatures to Santa Monica City Clerk Sarah Gorman were Flora Yin and Michael Arno.

According to the initiative’s proponents, the Charter Amendment would achieve two requirements: voters would determine whether the use of SMO would be changed to non-aviation purposes; if voters do not approve any changes for SMO, the City must continue operating it as an airport.

“This Charter Amendment is an insurance policy for the citizens of this city,” Lauren McCollum, one of the initiative’s proponents and a local businesswoman, stated. “If the legal status of the land changes, the City can make whatever land use decisions it wants. But, it must get voter approval rather than listening to a few political insiders.”

Interestingly enough, the Santa Monica City Council unanimously adopted a plan to look into how SMO could either be shut down or have its operations significantly cut. Furthermore, Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor and Santa Monica Councilman Kevin McKeown both said at the March 25 council meeting if SMO were indeed shut down, it would remain a low-density project and the land where the airport sits would not be converted into “Century City West.”

However, while Santa Monica may indeed develop a low-density development policy for the actual SMO land, the airport’s eastern edge is actually in the City of Los Angeles. By eliminating the land’s aviation use, proponents believe Los Angeles could develop high rises right up to the City’s border with Santa Monica at the airport.

In a statement released by the community group Airport2Park.org, the charter amendment proponents were accused of conducting a pay-for-signatures campaign.

“Many residents who did sign have asked the City Clerk to rescind their signatures,” the statement read. “The community campaign was effective enough to push the price-per-signature the AOPA paid from about $4 originally to as much as $20 this week.”

The statement continued: “The AOPA has spent freely to try to buy a spot for its measure on the November ballot. It’s prepared to spend much more in its effort to block the city’s desire to increase airport rents to market level and to mitigate SMO’s current negative health and safety impacts, and prevent Santa Monica from ultimately closing the airport and building a great park.”

in News
Related Posts

Miramar Project to go Before City Council Tuesday

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Councilmember Gleam Davis asks City Attorney whether she should rescue self from vote  By Sam Catanzaro  Santa Monica lawmakers will...

SMa.r.t. Column: Needed, A Heart Transplant

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

We have written about adaptive reuse in previous columns and have postulated that with proper incentives, the existing one, two...

Edify TV: Boulders Blocking Westside Encampment

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

City officials recently removed boulders placed on sidewalks by some Westside residents to prevent the formation of a homeless encampment....

Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? Santa Monica Beat – September, 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? * Increases In...

SMC to Be Online for Winter and Spring 2021

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

College cites lack of available vaccine  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has announced it will be delivering classes...

Edify TV: Al Fresco Program Ending?

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

During a COVID-19 pandemic many restaurants have found aid through the City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program, but...

Local Breweries Say They Have Been Unfairly Shuttered as County Passes Grant Program

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Santa Monica Loses Vegan Restaurant

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Space housing Santa Monica vegan restaurant Viva Vegan up for lease By Sam Catanzaro A vegan restaurant in Santa Monica...

Risks Posed by Wildfire Smoke

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

UCLA pulmonologist on how people can tell if the wildfires are making them sick By Toi Creel Even if you...

Will Los Angeles County See Another Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

County health officials keeping close eye on data this week By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health officials are monitoring...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Fire Department Fighting Blazes Across State

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

The Santa Monica Fire Department has been busy helping combat wildfires burning throughout the state. Learn more in this video...

Lawmakers and Residents Take Steps Towards Police Reform

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Santa Monica residents will soon have more control of policing after local lawmakers took significant steps to reform the Santa...

2020 Census Due September 30th: Santa Monica Beat – September, 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * 2020 Census Due September 30th * Bobcat Fire Reaches Historical Size...

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica Offers Free “Living With Diabetes” Zoom Patient Conference

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

By Staff Writer Although the novel coronavirus has dominated the health space this year, other diseases — like diabetes —...

SMa.r.t. Column: Spending and Pension Policies Are Undermining Our City’s Future

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Our guest columnist this week is Marc L. Verville. He is a native of Santa Monica, now lives in Sunset...