Editor’s Note: This is an open letter to the Santa Monica City Council, City Staff, and residents of Santa Monica.
We residents of Sunset Park have been watching the airport grow into a noisy, polluting, and dangerous jet port. Just days after a unanimous vote by City Council to look into ways to rein in the airport, an out of town airport lobby, funded by of town money, filed a petition to maintain airport status quo and change the Santa Monica Charter.
Within two weeks paid signature gatherers hit the streets. We stuck our necks out and filed suit to block the deceptive outside interests.
Our lawsuit named the city staff and City Council (named in official capacity only) as blameless defendants and also named the aviation interests.
Naming the city is standard procedure for pre-election ballot lawsuits.
Shortly after our lawsuit, the city attorney filed a SLAPP lawsuit against us, a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence. The aviation interests followed suit. The city attorney did most of the work crafting the motion, and did most of the talking in the courthouse. Filing a SLAPP like this is not standard procedure.
We plaintiffs still seek our day in court to stop the outside lobbyists. We plaintiffs have been actively involved in the campaign against the aviation interests, and have been working toward a better city version of a competing initiative that requires a vote on future use of the land except for parks and recreation.
The SLAPP in fact helps the aviation interests by delaying court action on our lawsuit and the delay may make it impossible to have a timely resolution.
Please drop this SLAPP. If not, explain to the 11 plaintiffs, and the thousands of others who are badly affected by an unsafe polluting jet port in our neighborhoods, why the city attorney is aiding outside interests attempting to control city land.
Explain why they are filing motions against residents who are attempting to improve the health and safety of their neighborhood.
Alan Levenson, Susan Hartley, Lisa Sandbank, Jim Redden, Peter Altschuler,Colin Maduzia, Gavin Scott, Robb Brown, Nicola Scott, Lisa Detamore, and Jason Detamore.
Santa Monica, CA