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The City Council has just spent more than a thousand dollars to sell a bill of goods to the populace by placing a full-page compendium of error and innuendo in last week’s paper; something they could have done for free at the council meeting Tuesday.
The Council, of course is right, the airport is a threat – a threat to unbridled development. The very existence of the airport prevents high-rise development and its concurrent congestion because its airspace sets finite limits on construction height in a five-mile radius. That same airspace restriction keeps traffic for LAX at or above 7,000 feet over town.
The suggestion that SMO is a security threat is ludicrous. It is, in fact, a security blanket, that will be our lifeline in time of disaster, natural or otherwise.
Likewise the health and safety record of the last 100 years is exemplary, especially by comparison with the day-by-day attrition of well being by pollution and automobile traffic from elsewhere in the city. The new metro rail line, if precedent established in other parts of the county is any guide, will soon prove to be significantly more dangerous to Santa Monica residents than any aspect of airport operations.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to process a Part 16 complaint testifies to one thing only, and that, quelle horreur, is that our city, fine as it is, is not the red-hot center of the universe or even of the United States. Part 16 complaints are running behind across the board and we are simply no exception. You may be assured, that if the FAA thought that SMO represented a clear and present danger (and it is their business to know) they would have acted before now without any city input at all.
The Council has the opportunity to embrace cleaner fuels with a good faith effort to begin the process suggested in the current staff report, and championed for the last two years by the SMAA, to phase-in aviation fuels that are more compatible with the environment as they are becoming available. Making fuel unavailable to cripple aviation at the airport as some have suggested is unconscionable and will lead straight into court. Finally, the city’s whining about the FAA, is just the back-page news they made it out to be.