Yes on D

Editor:

In a letter to the editor on 10/22/14, M. Ruvinsky summed up one of Measure LC supporters’ biggest lies, stating that Measure D would require: “… a majority vote of all eligible voters, a phenomenon that has occurred only once in Santa Monica’s history.” What’s phenomenal is that people like Ruvinsky continue to repeat this nonsense despite the fact that it’s been discredited by our own city attorney, Marsha Moutrie who wrote with regard to Measure D: “…the term ‘voter approval’ should be interpreted to mean approval by a simple majority of those actually voting” and the fact that four judges have repeatedly slapped down this ridiculous argument in court. The sentence referred to in Measure D is as follows: “The term ‘voter approval’ means a majority of the voters of the City voting ‘yes’ on a ballot measure approving such a change at a general municipal election.” Emphasis added. Only if one just reads the first half of the sentence and not the second half does the LC argument hold up. Intelligent people will read the entire sentence and not be swayed by the slick, pseudo logic of advocates of Measure LC. I’m beginning to think LC stands for Liars’ Club and I don’t like liars. I’m voting for Measure D.

Lucas Charbonneau

Santa Monica

Yes on D

Editor:

Let me get this straight if I can.

The people backing measure LC (which includes the City Council who drafted it) are now saying that this measure will prevent the City Council from acting independently, so you should vote for it.

But measure LC is the City Council’s own initiative, written by them and containing no defined provision for any public vote and which is presented on the official printed ballot with key words and concepts missing. So they are saying: “you can’t trust us, so trust us”?

Br’er Rabbit said it, once upon a time: “Oh, pulleeze don’t trow me in that briar patch”!

Thinking people will not go down this rabbit hole. If you want to control the City Council you must vote for measure D, which does require a vote of the people, and not LC, which denies a vote of the people.

Bill Worden

Venice

Editor:

The Santa Monica airport issue has created a lot of heat recently though at the start it was just a dispute about the airport and not about competing Measures. Initially, there were noise and pollution assertions on one side and competing community benefits from the pro-airport folks on the other side. The comments on both sides escalated. I wrote letters supporting the airport and rebutted what I knew were false assertions and misrepresentations.

Finally I realized that the real enemy of the airport was, all along, the Santa Monica City Council. The anti-airport folks, CRAAP and all that, were just the shock-troops of the City Council, advance units drawing fire out in front of the real threat, the Council. The City Council has been trying for many years to close the airport. They see the airport acreage as their last best hope for development. Why are they so driven? The answer is that developing the airport acreage would be a huge source of taxes to pay for the inflated salaries of the Council’s clients, those groups within the city who receive large salaries and huge pensions. As just one example, the City’s Legal Department has a total of 25 staff, 13 of whom receive more than $300,000 a year. Pasadena, which has about 137,000 residents to our 96,500, has a total of 13 legal staff, only one of whom makes more than $300,000.

All of the City Council incumbents are at fault. Some pretend to be for sensible development but when you look at their voting records and learn how much they have taken (and still continue to take) from developers it could make you ill. How can a City Council take money from developers and then rule on the developers’ projects the next week? Ours does.

I could detail at length the many benefits of the airport but I would like to leave you with this fact – every pro-airport supporter I know is against unwise development. They don’t want more development to ruin our quality of life. A recent editorial in the Santa Monica Daily Press said that, notwithstanding all the discussion of the candidates and measures, the number one issue here in Santa Monica is development. The City Council, in bed with the developers for years, is for unrestrained development and thus more taxes. We need to stop them and we can start with this election and with Measure D. Please don’t vote for developer-centric incumbents and challengers; turn them out.

And with Measure D, the voters will be in control; D will stop development at the airport unless the voters (not the Council) clearly say they want to close the airport and promote development. With Measure LC, the City Council will be still in control and you can see where that has got us in the past in the anti-development fight. Yes on D, No on LC.

Reynold Dacon

Santa Monica

Council Trio explains what?

Editor:

You can tell we’re getting close to Election Day when Councilmembers start writing Op-Ed columns to bolster candidates or ballot measures they think are in trouble. In a recent column entitled, “Yes on LC, No on D” (10/23/14), the Council triumvirate of McKeown, Winterer and Vazquez delivered a long and confusing rehash of half-truths and bald-face lies aimed at confounding the electorate. The language and arguments they used were precisely parallel to the language and arguments put forth on a daily basis by the “Committee for Yes on Measure LC.” It’s clear that the LC folks are getting their talking points and marching orders from Council. Citizen’s initiative, indeed!

Our City Council’s low opinion of voter intelligence was never more fully evident than in the July 22nd Council meeting where Councilmember Davis made no secret of her distaste for the idea of voters deciding land use issues. Councilmembers McKeown, Winterer and Vazquez agreed and then worked in concert to find language that would counter Measure D while guaranteeing the Council’s total control – without voter approval – over airport closure, as well as six broad areas of land use at the airport.

No mention was made that night of the fact that Measure D was formulated largely to prevent the City from wasting more taxpayer funds (already in excess of six million dollars charged directly to the airport) on frivolous lawsuits against the Federal government. Measure D would also prevent the City from “strangling” or “starving” the airport through their stated desire to end essential airport services such as fueling and servicing planes.

The trio’s lead Op-Ed argument was that voters should be aghast that two national organizations that represent pilots had the gall to contribute to Measure D’s effort to preserve our airport. In reality, AOPA and NBAA represent pilots all over the country in the same way that AAA represents motorists and AARP represents the interests of retired people. Interested parties band together into many varieties of membership organizations to speak with a unified voice on issues of local, state and national importance. Demonizing these two organizations is the Council’s way of deflecting attention away from the real issues.

The Council trio asked, “Do you think any of these donors care about development in Santa Monica? Of course not.” Ironically, it’s Measure D that would prevent over-development of airport land, while Measure LC is all about development. Let’s face it, seven politicians wish to close our airport and open it up for a land grab by developers.

Measure D is about allowing voters to decide whether or not the airport remains open. If a simple majority of Santa Monica voters decide to vote to close the Airport, then so be it. If this triggers an FAA lawsuit, then the voters would have made that choice, not seven politicians catering to a small faction of loud and angry residents stirred up by developer interests. Measure D also ensures that as long as the airport is open, it would continue to operate as a safe and fully functioning airport.

Measure D leaves all future development discussions wholly within our City’s regulated processes that include formulating a Specific Plan for the entire 227 acres of airport land and integrating that plan into the LUCE (Land Use and Circulation Element.)

On the other hand, the Council’s deftly crafted Measure LC aims to do just the opposite. Council cleverly exempts six categories of land use from any possible public vote or input and specifies that Council alone would control these uses “without voter approval.” Measure LC’s vague statement about “parks, public open spaces, and public recreational facilities” could mean anything from a tot-lot to an NFL football stadium, all built “without voter approval.”

When LC supporters talk, they seldom mention the final part of the sentence stating the extent of Council’s purview, that is, “the maintenance and replacement of existing cultural, arts and education uses.” What did Council have in mind when this was written? Before anyone votes to approve Measure LC, there should be public discussion about such issues as Santa Monica College’s desire to redevelop nearly 40 acres of non-aviation land on the south side of the airport. SMC has already negotiated a secret land swap with the City, trading land near Bergamot Station and the incoming light rail for land at the southeast corner of the airport. SMC currently leases the majority of buildings along the south side of Airport Avenue, and is positioning itself to begin a massive expansion of its Bundy Campus. Obviously, the motley collection of 50-year-old hangers and tin buildings on Airport Avenue won’t do for a school with aspirations to become a 4-year degree-granting university. If Measure LC prevails, the “replacement of existing cultural, arts and education uses” can begin immediately “without voter approval.” Residents who are now negatively impacted by the traffic generated by SMC’s Bundy Campus and Arts Campus will be faced with the consequences of massive development when the “replacement” projects begin. These projects would swell the Bundy Campus to ten times its current size – all “without voter approval.”

The majority of the Council trio’s other arguments against Measure D have been endlessly discussed and debunked online, in print and in numerous meetings across Santa Monica. I won’t bother to waste space on them here, but if you are curious about any of them, I suggest you visit the Myths vs. Facts page on the Santa Monica Airport Association’s site www.santamonicaairport.info.

Past history has given me plenty of reason not to trust a Council that wants to brazenly disenfranchise me and throw away my right to vote on development issues. In order to have them show their cards before I okay any new development on airport land, I’m voting yes on D and no on LC.

Paul Bailey

Santa Monica

D is deceptive

Editor:

Dear Editor & Citizens of Santa Monica, Are you thinking about voting yes on Measure D?

If so consider these facts;

1. The backers of Measure D have spent $872,999.00 on their ‘wolf in a sheep’s clothing’ election tactics. Less than $17,000.00 of this is from Santa Monica residents and measure D funding equals 65% of all election funding in the Santa Monica Race!

2. If Measure D passes these non-Santa Monica residents with aviation interests will effectively have gained the right to impede our public process, by requiring that any future changes (even small or logical ones – such as requiring market rate rents and requiring the use of un-leaded fuel) will be required to go through a vote of the whole city prior to enacting. Since elections are held infrequently, this effectively controls the rate of change in SMO. Furthermore, at each election these out-of-city airport proponents will inject outside funding (from money we are giving them) to influence the outcome.

3. Currently, the SMO (Santa Monica Airport site) loses $700,000 per year. And we, the citizens of Santa Monica are paying for that with our taxes. You and I are funding the airport, which is running at a loss! And if Measure D passes you and I are choosing to continue doing funding this loss.

4. In 2015 the SMO leases are up for renewal. Many of the leases have been locked into under market rents since 1984. Aviation businesses are the ones who get the leases at this under market rate, they in turn sub-lease these spaces for quite a substantial profit. For instance Atlantic Aviation, pays $200,000.00 pre year in rent to the City for their lease, but they in turn sub-lease this space for 3.9 million per year profiting 3.7 million dollars. This is money that the City of Santa Monica could be making. Overall we are losing out on over 5 million dollars every year in leases and instead we are subsidizing these entities an additional $700,000.00 annually. It’s easy to see how they would donate $872,999.00 in election funding, I guess if I was about to lose 3.7 million dollars per year, I’d ask my friends to help fund $872,999.00 creating lies too.

5. Measure D proponents absurdly claim that the City will have to develop the land to make up for lost aviation revenue, however public records demonstrate that all we have to do is stop leasing the space at under market rates to aviation entities and remove the aviation activities, and the site will easily be making 8 million per year for the City, easily funding any other site usage strategy that we as a citizenry decide on through our own unimpeded public process. A yes vote on Measure D insures that Santa Monica will continue giving away 8 million dollars every year.

6. A yes vote on Measure D, also means that every time we need to make a simple changes to operations at the land that we own, we will have to go through a city vote, where airport proponents will inject hundreds of thousands of dollars to control the outcome.

7. A vote yes for Measure LC and no for Measure D is the first step at returning our land to us. Please don’t be fooled by the unfounded lies and fear mongering tactics utilized by Measure D proponents. Fellow citizens, now is the time to choose our future, Please Vote Yes on LC and No on D.

Margaret Griffin

Santa Monica

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