February 26, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letter to the Editor: 14-year-old Vanya Derkach Writes on SMO:

Letter to the editor 

Dear Tony, Kevin, and Ted, 

My name is Vanya Derkach and I am 14 years old, currently in 9th grade. Please let me tell you a little bit about myself. When I was in 5th grade, my friends invited me to go to the Santa Monica Airport Museum. When I went there, it was beautiful. Seeing all these planes that actually could fly was wonderful. Ever since that trip, my dream was the sky. I wanted to become a pilot to fly planes. And when I made that decision I went on and on learning everything I could. I used to go to SMO every single weekend to look at planes take off and land. 

I always imagined that this is the magical place that I will start my career and my life. This was the place I was going to get my pilot’s license so I could start flying and work up way up to the airlines. I always wanted to fly earlier and earlier but the problem was, I was too young and I am still too young by two years. I always got jealous by looking at pilots. But then one day, probably when I was 11 or 12, I read an article how people complained that there was too much noise and how it was annoying to hear the jets take off and land. The thing that really upset me was seeing the words, "SMO may be closed". At that point I didn’t understand and I didn’t know what to think. "Why would they do this to me", I asked myself. This airport has been open since 1919 if not earlier and is considered one of the most oldest airports in LA country. Soon in 2019 it will be open for 100 years!

 Even though it is noisy for people that live next to it, it is a historic place, like a museum, and I believe this airport will be an amazing place to visit in the future for future generations. I know that many people in the council want this land for apartment buildings and for money but what is more important money or keeping a historic place that may change peoples lives. All of the sudden when I was 13, two years after the rumors of SMO closing, I saw again that the decision was taken against the FAA about closing the airport. I was very very upset. I then had the knowledge to realize that if this airport closes, it maybe the end to my dreams. All I want is to become a pilot. Of course there are many airports around Los Angeles, but they are all hours away and my family cannot do that. 

My family is a low-income and have put everything they could money-wise to make my dreams come true. But having SMO closed down, my family can’t afford driving to a different airport. They don’t have the money, or even time. All I want to let you know that there is many kids like me in Santa Monica that want to fly and SMO is their main airport. If you close this airport down, your not just ruining my life, but lives of other kids out there like me. Thank you for taking the time for reading this email. I have sure put a lot of effort into it and I hope that you Tony, Kevin, and Ted, please reconsider your decision.

 Sincerely, Vanya Derkach

in News
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