Regarding airport closure, the FAA holds a trump card. It has authority to condemn land under eminent domain proceedings for airport use or expansion. This means the FAA can force the city to sell the land for “just compensation” (an amount likely to be decided in federal court, and not necessarily pleasing to the city).
Federal condemnation powers extend over state and city owned property. According to Wikipedia, “In United States v. Carmack, 329 U.S. 230 (1946), the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the federal government’s eminent domain powers under the Condemnation Act and further upheld the government’s right to exercise eminent domain over land containing buildings owned by a state or local government.”
Has Santa Monica’s city council studied the likelihood of FAA condemnation proceedings? Naturally, this city council would challenge the FAA in federal court. But because Santa Monica Airport is part of the regional transportation hub, serving the needs of more people (not just pilots) than the small minority inconvenienced by its presence, the FAA should have a strong legal case for condemnation.
Thomas M. Sipos