The Closing of Santa Monica Airport Would Put the Entire Westside in Jeopardy
Just 7 residents are behind the movement to close the airport. Why do they get so much official attention?
October 9, 2016
I find it alarming the level of untruths Santa Monica's City officials will tell in their effort to rationalize their illicit actions aimed at strangling and/or closing the airport ("Health Protected by Eviction of Airport Tenant, Santa Monica Official Says," October 3, 2016).
Nelson Hernandez (senior advisor to the City Manager on Airport Affairs) raises the issue of "Safety of residents" yet neglects to include the fact that closure of the only two providers of fuel at the airport would in itself put everyone in not just Santa Monica but the entire west side of L.A. in jeopardy, serious jeopardy.
Santa Monica airport is the staging and jumping off point for virtually every community's emergency evacuation and disaster relief plan of action on the west side of Los Angeles. It is from this vital airport that almost all search and rescue efforts, resupply efforts and other emergency services will base, in the event of a major quake or other disaster.
Nelson Hernandez neglects to offer any sort of plan by the City of Santa Monica to fill the void in these emergency plans that closure of the airport would assuredly cause. Why? Simple: Safety is not the problem.
If we are going to talk about safety, let's talk about the whole picture and not just the little piece of the puzzle that Nelson Hernandez wishes to speak on. I think most folks with even one shred of common sense will understand a couple things:
1. It's not a genuine safety issue at all. The City officials will say whatever sounds good and which they believe the public will buy into. Santa Monica airport is actually one of the safest airports in the United States. Not the constant danger that the City officials would have everyone believe.
2. The highways are far more dangerous and polluting than this little airport ever could hope to be yet the City has made no attempts to stem the flow of traffic on the freeways which pass through its boundaries.
There are roughly seven residents who are at the foundation of the anti-airport movement in Santa Monica. Unfortunately, they are also the only real political activists the City really has, so the City Council members are afraid to anger them for fear of losing the next election.
Santa Monica Airport is an integral part of the national airspace system, a reliever for LAX and the jumping off point for emergency plans affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Los Angeles.
Again, the City has not offered any alternative plan of action to fill the void that closing the airport would cause in every other westside's community emergency plan. The City clearly has no regard for the importance of other communities emergency plans nor for the residents who would be in harms way by such an action on the part of the Santa Monica City Council.
If there was a major disaster tomorrow the only way to get supplies and workers into the westside, if the freeways are down, would be KSMO. That is a very simple fact. The City cannot be permitted to close the airport without having alternative plans in place because nobody knows when the next disaster will strike, but we do know that without KSMO as a jumping off base, the entire westside of LA from Malibu to south of LAX could be rendered inaccessible.
When the Loma Prieta quake hit in 1989, General Aviation aircraft moved 500,000 pounds of supplies into Watsonville airport in one 24 hour period of time. This airlift potentially saved hundreds of lives and prevented mass chaos. How in the world the City Council of Santa Monica believes it has the authority to directly effect the emergency plans of other communities is just beyond me.
The City of Santa Monica is not going to succeed in closing the airport now or ever, and no amount of rationalization is going to change these facts. Its truly disturbing that Mr Hernandez seems so comfortable with the elimination of this airport without consideration for the overall effects doing so would have.
Thankfully, the FAA and the Courts, as they have done several times in the past, will step in and prevent the City of Santa Monica from breaking its long time, binding agreements, no matter how many temper tantrums the City officials throw. Its just not going to happen and it sure as H isn't a genuine safety issue. If safety was so almighty important to the City Council of S.M. they would make absolutely sure not to compromise the emergency action plans of the hundreds of thousands of citizens which would be compromised by a sudden closure of KSMO.