As Venice stakeholders of 23 years, we have noticed the increasing invasion, pollution and fear of SMO into our community. There are now six flight schools and the number and size of huge personal and corporate jets has increased dramatically! They are supposed to fly over Rose Avenue, but rarely seem to be on course … and they are bigger than ever. We can see and hear them from our living room, which is way south of rose. You’d think they could read their instrument panels a little better by now. Jets should never have been allowed in this residential community, not only because the runways are 300 feet too short! And by the way, how does the FAA allow that? Meanwhile, the quality of life for all of us living around this enlarged prostate has diminished. And most of Santa Monica isn’t even aware of the problem. Why?

Because the airport is on the SE edge of Santa Monica, the bottom edge that borders LA. The winds blow from NW to SE … the pattern for the pollution to travel. The flight patterns are cleverly set up so that the majority of planes fly over Venice, Mar Vista and West LA. So while Santa Monica is not directly affected with the problems of air and noise pollution, they are the ones voting on whether SMO should stay or leave. We affected by it can’t vote on it. Where’s the democracy? All of the pollution (air and noise) travels into LA neighborhoods, not SM. Santa Monica: we need some compassion here! It’s all about the rich people having their convenience at our expense. Small planes and big jets. Santa Monica is proud to be the green city … but which green? The proportion of parks in SM is dismally low compared to other comparable cities.

With the fear of crashes — four in the last 1.5 years — it becomes something like terrorism. Every take-off is, like, will this one make it? Same with the stalls they do over our own house. Other residential communities in America have successfully closed down airports for all of these reasons.

We personally don’t live close to SMO … probably two miles or so. It’s very peaceful where we live, except for the small planes curving left directly over our house and creating a constant interrupting buzz that ruins our life.

And the jets are getting closer all the time. Sometimes we can’t even have a conversation in our own garden! We are at the pilots’ whims, 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. … and they don’t necessarily go by even those rules: try and prove it. Besides our own quality of life, we also care about our neighbors closer to the airport who are affected even more directly than us. In addition to all of this above, the small planes are also still allowed for some reason to use leaded fuel … this is the sign of a backward nation. So their exhaust is spreading lead over our precious children on top of it all! Doesn’t everyone know by now this is wrong? There have been many studies done by UCLA and other prestigious institutions that show how toxic an environment SMO is creating in our community. And let us now mention the Viagra falls: just out for a little noisy, polluting spin in his vintage aircraft, Harrison Ford couldn’t get it up. Mr. Ford, a very experienced pilot, had a failure, needed to land and in a panic tried to head back to the airport.

And he could easily have killed the doctors on the golf course that saved his life. Since he is so experienced, what then can we expect from all those student pilots whose self-indulgence we must endure? The pilots and their Washington lobbyists are very self-righteous with their romantic notion of aviation, but guaranteed they and their families would not accept it in their own everyday lives. We’ve invited them to lunch in our garden, but no one has come. They are afraid they would have to admit that their romanticism is indeed ruining our lives. There is a museum at SMO to remind us all of the wonderful history of the airport in our community, which we all love. That’s enough. Times have changed. Let’s make a park there now. Helicopters can land for emergencies and we and our kids can breathe cleaner air. A much better legacy for the airport, don’t you think? A really green community.

Lies Kraal And Judi Russell are Venice residents. 

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