Editor:

RE: Bob Taylor: “The truth on drones,” Letter to the Editor, April 13.

In his letter to the editor regarding my earlier comments on drones, Bob Taylor engaged in a personal attack making a number of completely false statements about me. He claimed I was an airport commissioner, I’m not. He claimed I was a realtor, I’m not. He claimed I was a recent arrival intent on increasing my property value, I’m not — I’ve lived in the area over 20 years. He claimed I know nothing of aviation technology, I most certainly do. The list goes on, but I have already addressed his errors in my comments online.

Bob has now apologized for his statements and I have accepted that apology. However, in this letter I would like to address the mindset behind making up and publishing such falsehoods.

Regrettably, the debate over the future of [Santa Monica Airport] has shown over and again that aviation advocates are willing to play fast and loose with the facts to quash opposition. Bob’s letter is simply one more in that tradition. The deceptive ballot initiative being backed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is yet another. For this reason it is critical that the community check into any and all statements made by aviation advocates rather than accepting them at face value.

More important in this case is the payload in the rest of Bob’s letter. To summarize: he attacks the Airport Commission and “those in positions of trust” for not representing the community they serve, with regards to airport policy.

As a board member of the Ocean Park Association (OPA), Mr. Taylor is of course aware of the survey that OPA conducted in early 2012 to determine what the residents of the area felt about the airport. He is also aware that the results of that survey showed approximately 85 percent in favor of mitigating or eliminating the airport entirely.

Why is it then that OPA alone of all the surrounding neighborhood associations has failed to back Airport2Park? Indeed the OPA organization has not officially backed any efforts to oppose the airport, despite Ocean Park residents being some of the most adversely impacted, and despite some very active airport opponents in Ocean Park, some of them also on the OPA board.

I would contend that failure to represent the community starts a lot closer to home than Mr. Taylor alleges, and that to an outsider it appears that at least one influential member of the OPA board may have allowed his enthusiasm for aviation to override his responsibility to represent the community.

By comparison, what the Airport Commission does is fully responsive to wishes of the community as revealed by three independent surveys involving over 2,000 respondents. All showed opposition levels close to the 85 percent measured by OPA. The Airport Commission and the City Council are to be applauded for listening to the people in this matter. Perhaps Mr. Taylor should consider doing likewise in his official OPA capacity.

Enthusiasm for aviation is not cause to disregard the wishes of the community, and it is not cause for falsifying facts.

 

John Fairweather

Santa Monica

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