LAX Response

In her recent Letter to the Editor

“Proposal to Reroute LAX Jet Traffic over Santa Monica” – Eve Lopez

10/5/22 – Santa Monica Daily Press

Eve Lopez worries that if a proposal to slightly change the route of incoming LAX-bound airliners takes effect, the noise of planes passing overhead at an altitude of 7,000 to 9,000 feet will impact 700 additional Santa Monica residents.

That worry seems ludicrous given that Ms. Lopez, a recreational pilot, flies her noisy Grumman piston-propeller plane a few hundred feet over thousands of homes in Sunset Park, Ocean Park, and other Santa Monica and Los Angeles neighborhoods — for fun. 

She also claims that the city is remaining “mum” on this proposed minor route change for LAX-bound airliners, even though that topic was included in an Airport Commission agenda at a City Hall meeting that was open to the public.

If Ms. Lopez were truly concerned about the proposed route change, and actually knew about it before it was brought to the Commission by city staff (since she seems to think that pilots automatically know what’s happening at the LAX Community Noise Roundtable), she could have brought it to the attention of the Commission herself. Instead, she chose to write a letter to the editor.

Ms. Lopez also repeats the long-debunked meme that Santa Monica Airport (SMO) space provides a protective bubble against LAX-bound air traffic. This is simply false.

Commercial airliners flying into LAX from the north cross the shoreline over Santa Monica, head east over Downtown LA, and then make a U-turn and merge into the westbound landing approach to LAX.

Their descent follows a Continuous Descent Approach (CDA). The aircraft remain at their normal cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet to save fuel in the thinner air until they near the airport. With engines idling and the help of gravity, the aircraft descend gradually, using less fuel to minimize costs. The standard CDA is along a 3-degree decline, descending about 1,400 feet per 5 miles.

Following this trajectory, the aircraft are at least 25 miles away from touchdown at LAX when they pass over Santa Monica at altitudes of about 7,000 feet. Thus, the SMO airspace below, at just 2,500 feet, has no impact, and they would still fly over at 7,000 feet even if Santa Monica Airport were closed.

See for details.

As for the makeup of the Airport Commission, it has a long history of having both men and women members. Currently serving is a retired Air Force Major. A recent member was a decades-long military flight instructor and airfield manager.

The Commission’s focus is on the airport’s relation to the city and its residents, including the overwhelmingly negative impacts of noise, the physical danger to homes, and pollution from both leaded fuel and jet fuel.

Zina Josephs

PTA Response

Recently, in a letter to the editor, it was erroneously stated that PTA is meant to be apolitical. We appreciate the opportunity to educate our community about the history and mission of the National Parent Teacher Association, and of our local Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs, made up of our elected Executive Board, and the Presidents elected by each association, the community of PTA members, at each school site.

PTA is the largest volunteer children’s advocacy group in the nation; National PTA, California State PTA (CAPTA), and the Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs (SMMPTA) have long histories of effective political engagement. National PTA has established programs and called for legislation that improves our children’s lives — the creation of kindergarten classes, child labor laws, mandatory immunizations for preventable diseases, juvenile justice system reform, public health service, hot and healthy lunch programs, arts in education, and school safety. In recent history, advocacy efforts by the California State PTA led to later school times with the signing of Bill SB 328, which was sponsored by CAPTA.

SMMPTA is non-partisan, which means that it does not endorse candidates, but PTA Councils and Units may take positions on state and local measures. SMMPTA must follow PTA’s standard procedures if interested in making a study of an issue or ballot measure. Because many of our parents have children or youth who have benefited from Dual Enrollment, Concurrent Enrollment or regular courses at SMC, or grandparents who have attended Emeritus College, there was interest in having a committee prepare a study. Measure SMC fits within the Purposes of PTA and CAPTA’s legislation platform and affects the well-being of children and youth. “PTA Authorities” (including PTA’s legislative platform; CAPTA resolutions; position statements adopted by CAPTA’s Board of Managers; National PTA positions and resolutions; and previous PTA action on the same issue) would be documented, providing a lens through which the Measure would be studied, and information on all sides of the issue would be included.

The study committee led by our Legislation team worked independently and spent a great many hours to make sure SMMPTA officers and Presidents understood the Measure, the supporting California State PTA Authorities, and the potential value or impact to our communities, and to the children, youth and families. Study committee members came in fresh, with no pre-conceived biases. The study committee was open to their findings leading to a recommendation of “Support”, “Oppose”, or “Take No Position.”

In contradiction of the disinformation spread through that recent Letter to the Editor, the committee had no interaction with School Board members during the study, nor has SMMPTA spent any money lobbying in support of Measure SMC. No advertising was purchased. These assertions are demonstrably incorrect and do a disservice to SMMPTA, our students, our district, and its leadership.

Based upon SMMPTA’s study of Measure SMC, (together with the strength of the relevant organizational authorities listed above), and with our longstanding advocacy centered around the education and wellbeing of children and youth from cradle to career in mind, SMMPTA’s officers and unit presidents voted unanimously to support Measure SMC. As California PTA (CAPTA) Board of Managers supported California Proposition 28, the Arts and Music K-12 Education Funding Initiative, SMMPTA also voted to support Proposition 28. Following CAPTA’s lead, to protect the health of California kids, SMMPTA voted to support California Proposition 31, Flavored Tobacco Products Ban Referendum. All three measures are on the ballot of California’s statewide election on November 8.

In addition, SMMPTA and the League of Women Voters once again co-hosted a Candidates Forum for SMMUSD Board of Education on Wednesday, October 19, as we have done many times in the past, to support the Santa Monica-Malibu communities in informed decision-making.

SMMPTA strives to be a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. To learn more about the history and impact of PTA’s advocacy efforts for children and families, please utilize these links

• The History of the National PTA:

• CAPTA Advocacy for Children and Families:

• CAPTA Current Legislation:

• Thirty-Third Advocacy for Children and Families:

• SMMPTA Advocacy:

• SMMPTA Measure SMC Study:

Erika Bell President, Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs Patti Braun, VP Organization, Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs Danielle Litak, Legislation Chair, Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs