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Taking the 250 IFR Takeoff Procedure to the Santa Monica City Council

Is it asking Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom too much for one minute more to finish my two minute comment?

I seldom go to Santa Monica City Council meetings unless I feel my input is important. At past meetings I've found myself waiting several hours to speak on an agenda item. However, on Tuesday, August 23, the item I wanted to comment on was at the beginning of the meeting. I made a special effort to prepare a two-minute comment to the council regarding agenda item 3-B that was about -- you guessed it -- Santa Monica Airport. I had information that I wanted to put on the public record. I knew I had two minutes so I spent several hours drafting a comment that I could deliver comfortably within the two minute time limit and yet would cover the material I felt the council should be aware of.

For well over a decade, I have been asking the City of Santa Monica to do something about air pollution from their private and corporate jet traffic, and although Santa Monica is on record of supporting addressing air pollution from their airport, they seem to treat my efforts as antagonistic. It feels like it’s their way or the highway. That continues to be the case.

Because of a slow computer and printer, I found myself running behind schedule. I planned on being at SM City Hall by 6:20 PM, allowing myself enough time to fill out a speaker card and say hello to my brother Jerry etc.  However, I had to rush to arrive at 6:37 PM. That is just seven minutes after the earliest time the Council meeting could start. When I arrived at the table that had the agendas and speaker cards, I noticed another CRAAP member heading from the table to Council Chambers.  I filled out my card to speak and entered the council chambers to hand it to the clerk. I noticed my brother Jerry was in the queue to speak on the Consent Calendar items. I felt I arrived just in time as that was the item I wished to speak about. I immediately handed the clerk my speaker card for consent calendar agenda item 3-B. “Analysis and consulting services for air space management effecting Santa Monica Airport and surrounding communities”

This item was asking for another $10,000 on top of the already allocated $65,000 to pay their consulting firm to come up with anything that would keep SMO IFR flights anywhere other than over Santa Monica.

My prepared comment was:

First: Regarding ARSC’s “Analysis and consulting services for air space management affecting Santa Monica Airport and surrounding communities.”
Do the surrounding communities include the SMO neighboring Los Angeles communities, and have you invited interested Los Angeles City officials into this process?

Second: Reinitiating the pre-1990 IFR departure procedure to take the 250 degree turn immediately after departure would significantly reduce the amount of toxic air pollution from jet aircraft during their idling/hold stage as they would not need to wait for clearance from the LAX control tower. A 250 take-off would improve the efficiency of instrument rated departures, reducing delays for users of SMO and LAX by eliminating flight conflicts with departing aircraft from LAX.

Third: The 250 take off would be a safety enhancement as it would provide the necessary lateral separation from SMO IFR piston departures and LAX north airfield departures.

I urge you to include the City of Los Angeles in this process as you move forward.

Furthermore, I urge that you have ARSC place a high priority on reducing air pollution as well as enhancing safety in this analysis of space management at Santa Monica Airport.

Well, as fate would have it, the bell signaling my time was up rang while I was about halfway through the second point above. I asked if my two minutes were up and Mayor Richard Bloom informed me that late requests to speak were allowed just one minute. I let him know I spent several hours to come up with my two-minute comment. He informed me politely that I could give my written statement that I was reading from to the clerk to pass around. I did just that and left the chambers to go home and have dinner.

Basically, I feel that the City of Santa Monica is doing everything it can to assure that aircraft departing their airport do not fly over their city. They have done more in two years on behalf of their residents to fight potential noise impacts to their residents from their airport, than they have done in two decades with regard to TOXIC air pollution impacts from their airport on their Los Angeles neighbors.

Although I surely recognize the need for time restraints at council meetings, I also believe that a certain degree of courtesy is appropriate at times. The Mayor has the prerogative to grant such courtesies. It seems my many years of work to address SMO’s negative impacts on all the surrounding communities did not warrant my being allowed to have another minute to finish my comments. Read them yourself and time it. I did it at home with twenty seconds to spare. Before beginning my comments, I spent a few seconds wishing the Mayor and Council a good evening. If only I knew that I would be limited to one minute, I could have done away with the pleasantries, read it more quickly, and maybe I might have finished it.

I guess I shouldn’t take it personally since I recall when newly elected Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl had his statement halted by then Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor. She abruptly let Bill know Council had to move on, and indeed they did.

Santa Monica Mayors might better understand the power that a little courtesy toward their Los Angeles neighbors at their Council meetings would have. Otherwise their politeness seems somewhat disingenuous.

If you review the video archive of the council meeting, and if you listen closely, you can hear someone say something like, “motion to hear late chits to speak one minute each.” So be it. However, it is the prerogative of the mayor, or any of the council members, to ask that I be allowed to finish my brief comment. The City of Santa Monica blows smoke on their Los Angeles neighbors, and I get the impression they just don’t want to hear about it.

If you would like to review the video, go to: City Council Archives (August 23, 2011).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marcy Winograd August 27, 2011 at 07:58 AM
Marty, as a Santa Monica resident, I thank you for pointing out that it's a waste of taxpayer money to find alternate routes to pollute, when, in fact, the main focus of research should be on how to close down the airport come 2015, when the city's contract with the FAA expires. Thank you for your leadership on this issue.
susan stone August 29, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Marty, It's evident that Santa Monica is not interested in helping Los Angeles residents to the east and west of their airport, so why would the mayor show you the respect of hearing you out. Santa Monica has shown in the past that they are only concerned with their constituents. The residents in Sunset Park can't stand it when they have a few planes over their homes...the residents of Venice and Mar Vista have hundreds. The residents of Mar Vista suck up the toxic fumes from idlying jets all day. We all have the horrific roar of planes from flight schools that train Walter Mitty types who burn fossils fuels so they can cruise around over our homes, schools and playgrounds. Flight schools out of SMO use leaded fuel. Just another outrage! Our legislators in Los Angeles, including our mayor, need to come down on the Santa Monica Council with the full force of one of the largest cities in the world. It's our only hope. S.Stone
Hans Laetz August 30, 2011 at 03:42 PM
So one of Mr. Justice's customers just crashed. 40 hours in his logbook. When will this madness stop?
Richard B August 30, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Sorry Marty for the rude actions by the Santa Monica City Council. But it does not surprise me at all. For someone to take the time out of their life to show up at a meeting with something to say is very important for us citizens-for us to feel like we have a voice and that the elected reps will listen and take action- They all owe you an apology and all should be repremanded It seems the city council does not like to have Anything to do with the Airport -and always try to divert any questioning regarding it and its toxic pollution The airport is killing residents living near it and has outlasted its use- Time to close it down for GOOD - Shame on all city council reps !
Richard B August 30, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Justice Air Flight School needs to be renamed NO Justice- Hey your previous student just crashed his plane - Ouch !
Nan August 31, 2011 at 02:55 PM
I agree with all the comments here. Additionally I would like to thank you for your indefatigable efforts to stop the pollution, to stop the noise, to stop the unsafe practices of having such an airport with flight training schools immediately adjacent to residential homes -- and lacking adequate runway lengths!! and lacking adequate space around the runways!! Additionally, I find incomprehensible the fact that Santa Monica City Council is operating in some sort of a vacuum (without including the County of Los Angeles in all airport deliberations, since a great number of residents adversely affected by the impacts (pollution, noise, safety) of Santa Monica Airport reside in Los Angeles and not in Santa Monica. These arbitrary political boundaries (what is Santa Monica/Los Angeles but land and air connected to one another!!?) are ridiculous when we consider the safety impacts of this airport on all people affected. The fact that Santa Monica City Council did not have the grace to provide you with one additional minute (or even two!) to discuss the concerns all of us have and which you have so unselfishly been articulating for all of these years is deplorable. Martin, if you could let us know exactly who is not cooperating with you (and us!) in Santa Monica City Council, we can vote them out of office by publicizing their transgressions. I think being impolite and not giving you time is enough of a reason for us to vote them out of office.

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