More than 200 residents packed a meeting on Wednesday at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church to launch the campaign for Measure LC, to guarantee local control of Santa Monica Airport land.
Santa Monica City Council Members Ted Winterer and Kevin McKeown drew cheers when they urged residents to work for Measure LC, which would block the aviation lobby’s effort to take control of land the city has owned for a hundred years.
Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin said this was a historic chance for Santa Monica to free a large residential area in both cities from the growing noise, pollution and danger from business jets.
Local resident and retired Air Force pilot Joe Schmitz pointed out increasing accident rates at the airport and the danger of a large business jet crashing into homes.
Schmitz said his military flying experience tells him SMO’s restricted runway length will ultimately lead to pilot error and a disaster both for residents and those aboard the plane.
Campaign Chair John Fairweather said the aviation lobbyists’ Measure D, which he described as “D for Deception,” pretended to give voters a choice about the airport’s future, but is worded so that a change in flight operations would be almost impossible.
Specifically, the he said the measure says the majority of voters of the city would have to approve any future change – not the usual majority of those voting. Fairweather said the lobbyists claim they won’t insist on the excessive standard later if Measure D passes, but Fairweather added it was written that way on purpose so the standard could not be met.
“Measure LC will allow Santa Monicans to vote against any development of the airport except for parks, recreation facilities and existing cultural uses,” he told the meeting. “The aviation lobbyists’ measure has no safeguards against development, while Measure LC does.”
Many residents at the kickoff meeting at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church volunteered to work on campaign committees to counter the aviation lobbyists’ financial advantage.