What a peculiar animal is this Santa Monica Airport Commission. There is no one on the commission who has even an elementary grasp of general aviation. The commission chair Mr. Goddard has stated that expertise is not required because “we only ask questions and collect data.” How can anyone ask intelligent questions or know what data to collect if they don’t understand the subject?
The Airport Commission represents a fulgent anomaly amongst all of the other city boards and commissions in its lacking of any commissioners with appropriate expertise. The Architectural Review Board has architects on it, the Disabilities Commission is about 50 percent self-described disabled persons, the Commission on the Status of Women has women on it, and so on, yet the oldest commission in the city, the Airport Commission, lacks anyone at all who understands aviation in the 21st century.
This band of bloviators has missed one opportunity after another to promote safety by eschewing readily available federal funding to mitigate the concerns of airport neighbors. Leaving citizens they believe to be at risk unprotected when solutions are known and available is contumelious and perhaps even criminally negligent. By meeting every concern with the same “close the airport” mantra and neglecting any kind of remedy, the commission seems hell-bent on throwing the baby out with the bath water. Shame on them.
All of the other city commissions and boards are composed of serious people who are dedicated to making the particular area of their concern perform to the highest standards they can. The singular exception is the Airport Commission, whose members are proposing to “strangle” the very thing it is their duty to protect. How can this be a responsible attitude for government? This kind of malfeasance cannot be condoned in a city commission. It needs remediation tout suite. This attitude is more expected and more appropriate to the various and sundry self-interested neighborhood groups who have no duty to promote the greater good.
Several of the commissioners have conflicts due to their other public activities as founders or spokespersons for groups whose stated mission is to close the airport by any means and as soon as possible. They are compromised and cannot be expected to make decent, unbiased decisions. Two of them own homes close by the airport whose values may well depend on their actions as commissioners. This blatant bias, flaunted in public, cannot be conducive to credibility with the majority of citizens. The appearance of impropriety is the salient feature of our present commission.
Too be able to govern effectively, the City Council must first get the facts, or face the prospect of being sent on one fool’s errand after another by these buffoons. It is time for a new Airport Commission composed of knowledgeable people, with a broader sense of responsibility to the entire community. Santa Monica Airport can again be a beautiful, vibrant and productive part of the local economy. All that is lacking is the will to make it so.