Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Santa Monica Files Eviction Lawsuits Against Airport Operators

This must be seen as a major step forward in the City's stated intention to close SMO ASAP

A TRO having been denied them yesterday, today the City of Santa Monica has filed UD's against 2 of the major tenants servicing aircraft and Santa Monica Airport. This has to be regarded as a major step forward in the City's stated intention to close SMO ASAP, and in any case before 2020 when (by some interpretations), the FAA's easement on part of the property expires.

Unlawful Detainers (what California lawyers call evictions) typically go to trial within 60 days of the date they are filed. But this is of course, not a typical landlord tenant action. It will be interesting to see what action the Federal Aviation Administration takes next week, after the Nov. 8th election. The FAA has previously stated their intention to keep SM Airport open. Here's the press release from the SM City Attorney:

Court Ruling Clears the Way for Santa Monica to Proceed with Eviction Actions at Santa Monica Airport

11/04/2016: SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- This morning, the City of Santa Monica filed Unlawful Detainer (UDs) actions in Superior Court in Santa Monica to force Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers to vacate Santa Monica Airport, where both are operating under leases that have expired. Having served both businesses with 30-day notices to vacate which have been ignored, the next step is to sue for possession of the City-owned property and facilities via the UD action.

This City's filing of the UDs comes a day after Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers tried and failed to prevent the City from moving forward with eviction proceedings. On Thursday, Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers filed lawsuits in Superior Court in Los Angeles and requested a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the City of Santa Monica from issuing the UDs, which were filed this morning.

Superior Court Judge James Chalfant denied the businesses' request. His ruling clears the way for Santa Monica to proceed with filing the UDs. Judge Chalfant also set the matter for an Order to Show Cause (OSC) preliminary injunction hearing on December 1, 2016 and instructed the City not to seek an expedited trial on the eviction proceedings prior to that date.

"Again, private aviation interests tried to thwart the public interest by seeking to preclude the City from having its day in court. Although the leases they signed explicitly acknowledge they had an obligation to vacate City-owned facilities last year, they sought to remain indefinitely to continue to reap profit from selling fuel from City-owned tanks and earn a mark-up from subleasing City-owned buildings. Judge Chalfant's ruling allows the City to move forward with evictions. Finally, the people of Santa Monica will have our day in court," said Mayor Tony Vazquez.

"The Santa Monica City Council is confident that, in the end, the City's rights to local control will be upheld in State court and ultimately respected by the Federal courts. In the meantime, the Council has directed staff to proceed in an orderly fashion to assert our right to take over all legally-required Field-Based Operations at Santa Monica Airport and to establish a City-run fixed-base operation (FBO) that operates in the public interest and not for private profit."

A trial date for the eviction lawsuit will be calendared by the division of the Superior Court that handles these unlawful detainer proceedings.



Reader Comments(6)

Smowillsurvive writes:

The residents of Santa Monica are truly stupid. All worried about pollution from a few aircraft that leave faster then the parking lot you call the 405 and 10 freeway. Way more pollution coming out of those cars then planes. LAX is not the answer. The delays to get in there can top up to 2 hours at times just to depart where they are coming from. That's where airports like SMO come into play so those aircraft don't burden an already busy airport. It's eventually going to come down to the FAA seizing the airport from the city via legal action and the the residents and corrupt city leaders will have no say so on the airport.

cnkiv writes:

The cities actions are blatantly illegal: 1) The transfer of ownership of the property by the Federal Government to the city required the property remain an airport in perpetuity. Go look at the deed. 2) The cities acceptance of Federal money for airport improvements also required the city to maintain the airport past 2020. 3) The city, even though it said it would provide service cannot. As far as I know the City of Santa Monica employs no aviation professionals i.e. mechanics, flight instructors, airport management professionals. 4) The cities intent to provide fuels it deems acceptable are illegal. Only FAA approved fuels may be used. This is a court battle the city cannot and should not win. The airport serves a greater economic interest than developers or non aviation related business can ever hope to equal. Their desire to close the airport is in contravention of Federal law, wishful thinking not withstanding and the city cannot provide the services already existing.

Resident writes:

Just wait til the next major disaster .. blah blah blah. Like the Northridge quake? SMO is useless for emergency use other than medevac choppers. If a major disaster requires air relief, LAX is 8 miles away and SMO far too small, it has no air freight capabilities at all. It would be smart to plant grass on a remnant of runway 21/3 for medical choppers.

inVenice writes:

Put a lien on the planes at American flyers and lock the doors to Atlantic Aviation. Whatever it takes to stop the noise and air pollution that adversely affects 140,000 citizens. Even more importantly, if you are a pilot please do not fly planes that use Avgas, as it contains lead that is a neurotoxin and does not vaporize but falls on residents of West LA, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Venice and Marina Del Rey.

Reallyyy writes:

Wait until the next major catastrophe hits Santa Monica...thank goodness for the airport...wait a minute...the high rise towers collapsed too!! People are really naive over there with their political leaders...must be getting some good money...just like that you know who

Donald writes:

Finally. About time.