An estimated crowd of more than 3,000 people thronged to Santa Monica airport (SMO) today to honor veterans and see five WW II-era Santa Monica-built Douglas DC-3’s among other warbirds. The SMO and adjacent parking lots were at capacity. SMO was important in WW II with Douglas arming allies that won the war against totalitarianism. SMO was important then and will be crucial in the future as the city transitions away from a narrow jobs focus of tourism, retail and office space. A city study in 2011 detailed the airport generated more than 1,400 jobs and $471m in economic benefit to the area. Those numbers are almost certainly higher now, generating skilled jobs, support for emergency services and law enforcement. The current city council has voted to try and close SMO in 2029. Santa Monica voters will have a chance this November to vote on the capability of the current city council in light of their handling of city budget, COVID-19 response and stance on SMO.

Dave Hopkins

Santa Monica, Ocean Park resident.


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  1. Dave sure likes to inflate his numbers! There are barely 200 parking spots near the administration building at SMO and those were not at all filled. The parking lots across on the street were completely empty except for some Code Pink peace protesters having meet-up for a car caravan.

    The numbers of jobs at SMO are equally inflated. He should know that the single LARGEST aviation employer at SMO is Atlantic Aviation and it barely has 25 employees. Yep. Not many jobs. The next largest aviation employer has barely 15 employees. That’s it! There are simply not a lot of skilled aviation jobs at SMO. Do the math.

    Contrast that with TaskUs and Activision that employs over 1,000 people and SNAP alone, that employs over 1,000 more highly paid jobs adjacent to the airport. Those jobs will remain and continue to grow long after SMO and its pollution is gone. Sooner the better.

  2. City voters, in 2014, beat back an effort by aviation special interests to wrest control of the airport from the city and its voters. Despite being outspent by aviation interests 9-to-1, neighborhood associations and local clean-air and anti-noise organizations from every part of Santa Monica, with endorsements from the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club and others, succeeded in blunting the power grab. Sixty percent of the vote backed this effort. The result, so far (and with FAA approval), has been an 85 percent decrease in jet traffic, meaning cleaner air for 100 percent of us, including thousands in neighborhoods bordering Santa Monica.
    The study referred to in the letter was presented in 2011 with a note of caution from its creators. Its projections for income-generation were based, at least in part, on the presumption that arriving planes would be bringing in passengers who would spend x amount of money per head in the destination city and create even more jobs. The figures were questionable then and cannot be cited now when calculating imagined benefits to our city.

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