SMO ‚Äî In November, voters will get a chance to choose between two competing measures about future control of the Santa Monica Airport.
Measure LC, put forth unanimously by City Council, would allow council to retain some of its control over the airport while requiring voter approved development limits be placed on the land before any new projects can be built.
Measure D, financially backed by the national aviation community, would require a public vote on any significant changes to the airport, including full or partial closure.
Five residents pen arguments in favor of Measure D for the official voter guide and four of those five also wrote the arguments against Measure LC.
They claim, as they long have, that city officials want to close the airport to build large dense development.
Three City Council members, Tony Vazquez, Gleam Davis, and Ted Winterer, rebut their arguments along with Santa Monica Transparency Group Chair Mary Marlow and anti-airport activist John Fairweather. Winterer and Vazquez were strongly opposed to the recent controversial Hines development project and Davis ultimately cast a vote against it as well.
They argue that Measure D includes tricky language that would require changes to the airport be approved by a majority of registered Santa Monica voters, whether or not they vote in the election. Essentially their claim is that, under the Measure D language, if changes to the airport were proposed to the people, nearly 32,000 voters (half of those registered) would have to show up and vote in favor of those changes. Under this theory, even if 30,000 people vote in favor of changes to the airport, and nobody votes against them, the changes wouldn‚Äôt go into effect.
Proponents of Measure D call these arguments “shocking.”
“While our City Councilmembers based their entire argument on an illogical interpretation of the word ‚Äòmajority,‚Äô the Santa Monica City Attorney‚Äôs own ‚Äòimpartial summary‚Äô makes crystal clear that if adopted, the Voters Decide Initiative would require a majority of the voters voting to agree to close the Airport and redevelop the land,” they say.
In her analyses of the measure, City Attorney Marsha Moutrie addresses the language.
“The voter-approval requirement of the measure may also be somewhat unclear,” she said, “however, the term ‚Äòvoter approval‚Äô should be interpreted to mean approval by a simple majority of those actually voting.”
Proponents of the measure have agreed to this definition in writing, she said.
Winterer and Fairweather wrote arguments for Measure LC, along with three other notable residents.
They claim that Santa Monica residents, back in the 1920s, intended the land to be used as a park and that Measure LC will cap development in the area.
“As the City prepares to take ownership of our Airport in 2015, this may be your last chance to ensure special interests don‚Äôt win again,” they said. “Vote to reaffirm the wisdom of this land purchase Santa Monicans made themselves almost a century ago. Smart then, even smarter now.”