The real polluters

Editor:

Yesterday morning I asked my husband to go next door to tell our neighbor’s gardener about the law in Santa Monica that forbids the use of a leaf blower machine. It then occurred to me that it was strange that a leaf blower is forbidden for being a noise- and pollution-causing nuisance, yet huge jets are allowed to take off and land at Santa Monica Airport, just across the street from my house. The jets are, in fact, the number one noise- and pollution-causing nuisance in the city – far beyond a leaf blower, or a whole army of leaf blowers!

Interestingly, there are clear practical benefits to a leaf blower: gardeners’ jobs are made easier and the work gets done faster, affording the gardener an opportunity to make a few more dollars in a day and thereby immediately benefiting our local economy. The mega jets, however, are simply a convenience for wealthy jet owners.

The City can control the leaf blowers, but not the real polluters: the jet owners, whose planes spew tons of pollutants into our homes while taking off and landing at very high decibel levels (making it impossible to watch television or carry on a phone conversation). The pollutants and noise from these jets negatively impact citizens in Santa Monica, as well as our neighbors in Venice, Mar Vista and West Los Angeles.

We are hoping that the voters of Santa Monica will consider those living in closer proximity to the airport this November when they decide to help us by voting YES on Measure LC and NO on Measure D.

When people ask me about the two ballot measures related to the Santa Monica Airport, I just tell them to follow the money. Do the Aircraft Owners Pilots Association and the National Business Aviation Association, which are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting Measure D really care about our community more than the community itself does? I would say no.

Well-funded big businesses and national lobbying organizations are fighting against concerned local citizens. Let’s see if the voters can finally do the job to protect our community’s health and peace of mind this November when they vote YES on LC and NO on Measure D.

Christine Hardin
Santa Monica

City Hall is desperate

Editor:

After reading the article in which City Hall denies the accuracy of its own commissioned reports (City Hall: Aviation less valuable…October 6, 2014), it is clear this disavowal is a political act that the voters will reject.

City Hall is desperate, thinking that their pet Measure LC might not win. They do not want to relinquish any part of their authority. They want to maintain control in this situation as they have maintained control over all other aspects of Santa Monica. Shocked when they lost on the Hines Development, they must have vowed never to lose again. Thus, this embarrassing dismissal of the consultants’ reports.

It’s telling that now, just before the election, the Council has suddenly decided to “clarify” the results, “claiming” as the Daily Press so aptly uses the word, that the “…measured economic activity cannot be said to be a direct result of aviation use at the airport.” How fortunate for their pet Measure LC! What timing! City Hall has not mentioned this before. If there were reservations, shouldn’t they have been challenged in 2011? in 2012? or in 2013?

These reports were not requested by the pro-airport people; they were commissioned by the City in 2011. The Rand Corporation and HR&A Associates were asked to analyze the effect of the Santa Monica Airport on the City. They delivered extensive and very positive reports. I was at the City Council meeting when they were presented. All the data ($ contributions to the local economy, the number of jobs, and number of companies directly associated with the airport) came directly from the two consultants’ heavily researched analyses. At the end of the presentation both Rand and HR&A told the Council confidently that the airport could even contribute even more to the City than the $275 million a year it was already contributing if the Council would support the airport.

I have always suspected that the Council was embarrassed by the reports. Maybe they were expecting the Rand and HR&A reports to be negative or, at least, much less positive. Since 2011 the City has been reluctant to acknowledge the reports; they know that the reports provide great ammunition to airport supporters, ammunition that works against the Council’s desire to close the airport for the benefit of the developers. It is impossible to dismiss the two consultants’ reports. Rand has an international reputation for the quality of their advice and research and HR&A is well respected though a younger organization and more local.

Nowhere in the article was the Rand Corporation mentioned. Their report has not been challenged. This is probably wise since it would be interesting to hear the City Council disparage the Rand Corporation for poor research and inadequate study design. They would get a blistering response! And yet, their report was similar in scope and results to HR&A’s. So, whose data did they reject and change? It was HR&A Associates which the City has already re-hired for the Civic Auditorium re-do and apparently is considering for other jobs. I can’t imagine that HR&A appreciates the City picking apart their report and changing the outcomes but, of course, HR&A no doubt finds it difficult to resist since they are (and want to be) employed by City Hall. Just saying.

Vote Yes on Measure D and send a message to the Council. It’s our City, not theirs.

Reynold Dacon
Santa Monica

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