SMO — Opponents of the Santa Monica Airport lost their second of two lawsuits that attempted to dismantle a ballot initiative put forth by SMO advocates.
National aviation advocacy groups financially back Measure D, which would require a public vote on any significant changes to the airport, including its closure.
Opponents of Measure D say that it deceptively conflates closure of the airport with inevitable development. Paid signature gatherers, they say, made inaccurate statements about the measure to get residents to sign. Ultimately, the opponents say, City Hall shouldn’t allow the measure on the ballot in November. A judge has disagreed with their argument twice.
The first lawsuit was thrown out after City Hall and proponents filed a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) motion.
The second was shot down on Friday when a judged rejected all of the claims.
Jonathan Stein, the attorney representing SMO opponents, has appealed the decision.
“They acknowledged the filing and said they won’t stop the ballot before making a definitive decision,” he said of the appeal.
Medical marijuana advocates raise $20,000
Advocates of a ballot initiative, which, if approved by voters, would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to be located within the city, have raised $20,000 for their cause.
Santa Monicans For Safe Access, a political action committee formed to support the pro-pot measure, received two $5,000 contributions and one $10,000 contribution back in late June.
Another group called Santa Monicans For Safe Access, headed by Bill Leahy, that has — based on Daily Press research — been around for longer, opposes the measure. Leahy, who would like to see regulated dispensaries in the city, says this measure is poorly composed and would lead to problems down the road.
The Daily Press has been attempting to reach David Welch, the attorney behind the initiative for two weeks with no success.
Welch and his clients are tasked with raising signatures from 15 percent of registered Santa Monica voters within 180 days of their filing earlier this year.
It is too late for the initiative to appear on the November general election ballot, according to City Clerk Sarah Gorman. The proponents have not yet filed any signatures, she said.
If they can muster up the signatures, the initiative will be put to a public vote. If they score a majority, the municipal code will be amended to allow for the dispensaries.
City Council is already considering the inclusion of dispensaries in the next Zoning Code, which dictates land uses throughout the city. The draft of the new Zoning Code is currently with the Planning Commission, which voted in support of the dispensaries. When the commission finishes with the code, council will review it for final approval. It’s then that the dispensaries will be considered for inclusion in Santa Monica.