Attend Santa Monica Airport Council Meeting - Tuesday, March 24th

Santa Monica AirportDear Friends,

This Tuesday night is an important chance for you to attend a city council meeting and show your support for the Santa Monica Airport.

Event Details:

When: Arrive Tuesday night March 24th at 4:15pm (event starts at 5:30pm) until 9:30pm (show up any time you can for as long as you can) Where: Santa Monica City Hall (1685 Main St. Santa Monica, CA 90401) (Map) Why: To show support for our little airport

You should attend March 24th's City Council Meeting if:

  • Your kids enjoy visiting the observation deck to watch planes takeoff.
  • You use the local parks around Santa Monica Airport.
  • You visit the dog park near Santa Monica Airport.
  • You eat at Typhoon or Spitfire Restaurant.
  • You enjoy the Santa Monica Airport Art Walk (and all of the art studios that contribute).

[su_box title="Here's a letter you can send to the Santa Monica City Council:"]

Click here to automatically compose a sample letter to city council that you can adjust

Dear Santa Monica City Council Member,

I am a supporter of the Santa Monica Airport. Our airport and its locally owned small businesses form a vital community that contributes nearly a quarter of a billion dollars annually to the surrounding economy. Our city supposedly prides itself on its "Buy Local" campaign and its support of local businesses. Why it the City Council trying to destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of families and the years of work that these business owners have devoted to growing their businesses? How does this profit the City?

The 1948 Instrument of Transfer (IOT), the 1984 Agreement and the FAA Airport Compliance Manual govern what possible actions the City of Santa Monica can take regarding the operation of the airport. Under the 1948 IOT, the City is obligated to operate SMO forever and is obligated under the existing Grant Assurances until 2023.

Federal guidelines and obligations apply to leasing terms and rates and will continue to apply in the future. Offering lease rates that are markedly higher than rates charged to aviation tenants at surrounding airports is not permitted. Any attempt to charge "market rates" based on "light industrial, office or vacant land" in Santa Monica is a violation of FAA guidelines and will undoubtedly trigger a new lawsuit.

All tenants should be offered a minimum 5-year lease at this time as was previously represented by the City to the FAA. In reality, all tenants should be, at minimum, offered leases through 2023.

SMO is required to be open to all types of aeronautical operations. Leases cannot be used to prohibit fueling, flight schools, repair facilities and other typical airport operations. Leases may not be based on "environmental responsibility" requirements. Aircraft emissions are controlled by the FAA and the EPA and are not subject to local regulation.

There are exciting advances coming in the next few years in unleaded fuels, bio-based jet fuel, electric airplanes, etc. We all need to work together to make Santa Monica airport the cleanest, quietest and greenest airport in the nation. Santa Monica prides itself on being the leader in advancing green initiatives, why is the Council holding back from this challenge?

Regards,

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Dear Santa Monica Airport Supporter,

This Tuesday evening, March 24th at 5:30PM, the subject of Santa Monica City Council Agenda item 8A is: "The Santa Monica Airport And Future Options Regarding Its Operations And The City's Use Of The Land Now Occupied By The Airport".

Staff Report:

- We are asking everyone to email the Santa Monica City Council. Please click this link to send them an email: council@smgov.net, clerk@smgov.net

- Secondly, we're asking all airport supporters to be in attendance at the meeting. "Government is done by those who show up."

- The council meeting begins at 5:30pm. Plan to arrive early, at least one hour, to get a seat and put in a chit if you'd like to speak to agenda item 8A on leasing policy.

- City Hall Council Chambers are located: 1685 Main Street Santa Monica. There is free parking in the 4th street structure with validation.

- Be physically present and identifiable as an SMO supporter. We will have "I Heart SMO" stickers and wings available for you to wear.

Follow your heart, use what you know. Come to the council meeting on Tuesday and be there, stand up and be counted. That's what you can do for your airport this coming week.

Please RSVP on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SantaMonicaAirportAssociation?ref=hl

Thank you for your support and for more info visit www.santamonicaairportairport.info

See our talking points below...

The 1948 Instrument of Transfer (IOT), the 1984 Agreement and the FAA Airport Compliance Manual govern what possible actions the City of Santa Monica can take regarding the operation of the airport. Our position is that, under the 1948 IOT, the City is obligated to operate SMO forever and is obligated under the existing Grant Assurances until 2023.

Staff has made it very clear in their report that failing to follow the terms of the previous agreements and the FAA guidelines will most likely result in one or more additional lawsuits. They have also emphasized that no large-scale changes will be able to be made before all lawsuits are settled. The suits currently in process could take 3 years and possibly much longer to resolve.

Listed below are a few talking points suggested for the March 24th City Council meeting. They do not cover all the possible topics and are selected because they parallel topics in the staff report and topics that will most likely be raised by the airport opposition. Past experience has shown that two minutes goes by very quickly. It's better to cover one point well than to try to encompass the entire subject in that time. Be sure your comments are related in some way to leasing guidelines.

The 1948 IOT and the 1984 Agreement and other relevant documents are available at:

Suggested Talking Points

1) Leases

Federal guidelines and obligations apply to leasing terms and rates and will continue to apply in the future. Offering lease rates that are markedly higher than rates charged to aviation tenants at surrounding airports is not permitted. Any attempt to charge "market rates" based on "light industrial, office or vacant land" in Santa Monica is a violation of FAA guidelines and will undoubtedly trigger a new lawsuit.

All tenants should be offered a minimum 3-year lease at this time as was previously represented by the City to the FAA. In reality, all tenants should be, at minimum, offered leases through 2023.

SMO is required to be open to all types of aeronautical operations. Leases cannot be used to prohibit fueling, flight schools, repair facilities and other typical airport operations. Leases may not be based on "environmental responsibility" requirements. Aircraft emissions are controlled by the FAA and the EPA and are not subject to local regulation.

2) Emissions Restrictions

The plan proposed by Commissioner Paulson to restrict operations at SMO based on "proprietary rights" is a thinly veiled attempt to ban jets from the airport. Again, aircraft emissions are regulated by the FAA and the EPA and are not subject to local regulation in any form. Any attempt to ban operations based on "environmental responsibility" or emissions is a violation of the 1948 IOT and the 1984 Agreement.

3) West Parcel – 1949 Quit Claim Deed

The grant-based obligations and those of the 1948 IOT encompass "the entire landing area" (5000 feet). Any suggestion that the City can use a 1949 document that released a portion of the airport from federal control to violate the terms of the IOT is not correct.

Any attempt to try to remove part of the runway from service would undoubtedly trigger a lawsuit from the FAA. The City has wasted nearly 10 million dollars of taxpayer's money in attempts to close the airport and has consistently lost. They will undoubtedly lose this suit also. When will the taxpayers say "enough is enough".

4) SMO is an asset to the entire Westside of Los Angeles

SMO and its locally owned small businesses are a vital community that contributes nearly a quarter of a billion dollars annually to the surrounding economy. Our city supposedly prides itself on its "Buy Local" campaign and its support of local businesses. Why it the City Council trying to destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of families and the years of work that these business owners have devoted to growing their businesses? How does this profit the City?

Unlike almost any other asset the City owns and operates, the airport is self-supporting and currently requires no subsidy. For years, the City has drained the airport operating funds by using the airport as a piggy bank to fund lawsuits and by grossly over-charging for services. This fiscal mismanagement is a violation of FAA guidelines and, if not corrected, will soon result in yet another expensive and embarrassing lawsuit.

There are exciting advances coming in the next few years in unleaded fuels, bio-based jet fuel, electric airplanes, etc. We all need to work together to make Santa Monica airport the cleanest, quietest and greenest airport in the nation. Santa Monica prides itself on being the leader in advancing green initiatives, why are they holding back from this challenge?

5) SMO was purchased as an existing airpark

Our nearly 100-year-old airport was purchased in 1926 as a working airpark with the use of a park bond. The terms of that bond and the 1948 IOT require that it remain an airport. Those who pretend that it was once a park are incorrect and know so. It is and should remain a vital part of our community.

Staff has written several times about the fiscal impossibility of converting and maintaining its 227 acres as a park. In the current report, staff suggests that a ballot initiative may be necessary in 2016 to allow the City to redevelop the land with offices and housing instead of the parks promised in Measure LC. City Councils in the past 40 years have attempted several times to turn our airport into a variety of commercial and residential developments. Their plans for the land are no different this time, just not openly expressed yet. The neighbors are, unfortunately, just pawns in this game played by Council and their developer pals.

Use the addresses below to send your own polite email about the issues.

Santa Monica City Council, council@smgov.net Mayor Kevin McKeown, kevin@mckeown.net Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez, tony.vazguez@smgov.net Council Member Gleam Davis, gleam.davis@smgov.net Council Member Sue Himmelrich, sue.himmelrich@smgov.net Council Member Pam O'Connor, pam.oconnor@smgov.net Council Member Terry O'Day, terry.oday@smgov.net Council Member Ted Winterer, ted.winterer@smgov.net Santa Monica Airport Commission, santamonicaairportcommission@yahoo.com Airport Commissioner David Goddard, Chair, davidgoddardairport@yahoo.com Airport Commissioner Stephen Mark, mark.2ain@verizon.net Interim City Manager Elaine Polachek, elaine.polachek@smgov.net Interim Assistant City Manager Martin Pastucha, martin.pastucha@smgov.net City Attorney Marsha Moutrie, marsha.moutrie@smgov.net