Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Alan Levenson 

Secret Agreement Between City and FAA Over Santa Monica Airport Not Revealed. Why Not?

Maybe the above agreement detail sounds final to some. Read it again. It clearly is not.


February 3, 2017

History has a habit of repeating itself.

Yesterday, on a Saturday morning, the city announced that an agreement has been reached with the FAA to close Santa Monica Airport on December 31, 2028. The City Council voted in closed session and came to a 4 to 3 SPLIT VOTE accepting the agreement. Our usually unanimous voting and often mistrusted city council could not agree that this is a good deal!

We quote from the sketchy details released by the city yesterday in a whirlwind of surprise,

"If the City does not enter into future agreements with the FAA that continue to require the City to operate the Airport after December 31, 2028, the Parties agree that the City may, in its sole discretion at any time on or after January 1, 2029 cease to operate the airport as an airport..." (underline added)

Maybe the above agreement detail sounds final to some. Read it again. It clearly is not. Among other details revealed was an agreement to immediately shorten the runway to 3500'. City Manager Rick Cole added this would occur in maybe three to six months or when planning can be completed and engineering done. No specific date was given when questioned, even though the city attorney used the word "immediately." Why does the city highlight a date twelve years out, but not specify a hard date to shorten the runway? Do not forget that the city passed a resolution to close the airport in 2018 and a Leasing Policy prohibiting lease harmful to the community.

Furthermore the actual agreement, which has been deemed "historical" by City Attorney Joe Lawrence, has not been made public.

Senior Airport Advisor Nelson Hernandez is leaving on an extended vacation, returning March 6th, as details unfold.(Yes, really)

The last major settlement agreement made with the FAA was in 1984 and was supposed to return the airport to the city on July 1, 2015. Now the city is attempting to railroad another 12 year OR MORE agreement with no public input or discussion.

No residents were allowed to ask any questions at the press conference that was held yesterday at 2:00pm at City Hall. News outlets were informed of the press conference. Very few residents were informed. Were you?

Is this lazy bureaucrats at work, the influence of power and money, soft or hard corruption, or a brilliant solution for the community? You decide.

The story of Santa Monica Airport is not over yet. Stay tuned and pay close attention. Lives are at stake for decades to come.

Thank you.

Alan Levenson, No Jets Santa Monica Airport "A drop of effort can cause a sea of change."

The Feb. 4th Rally @11am Next Saturday is still on. Now, More than ever attendance is crucial if you have any interest in how the airport will affect your life and the lives of your family and neighbors. Spread the word. For Details Click:


Reader Comments(5)

Anstein writes:

We should be asking why the chosen people of a certain religion are the ones fighting so hard to close SMO.

JerryR writes:

Shortening the runway actually makes the airport LESS safe but who cares about human lives when property values are at stake?

Thatguy writes:

shortening a runway is idiotic if the goal is to make things safer. The few jets that will leave as a result are nothing compared to the sure fire increase in other traffic now that if the city ever wants to close the airport. The City of Santa Monica will assuredly violate the terms of the settlement agreement in the next decade. that's a given. The City has demonstrated well over the years that they cannot uphold their agreements with regard to the airport. This settlement is simply a long slow journey which will end with another settlement agreement keeping the airport open another decade or so. Jet traffic will go down, sure. Helicopter and other air traffic will sure as heck go up though now that there will be plenty of room. lol. It's about to get real noisy!! Hehehehe

ZumaHans writes:

Your raise a valid question, but are too lazy and self-righteous to get the answer. The city must design new runway and taxiway configurations, including design specs for the crushed concrete arrester beds to be built. By the way, those are standard FAA requirements at airports - SMO would never be approved in its present, dangerous layout today. The new airport design must be published to airmen. That is a legal and safety requirement. The pilots must be informed in advance. This so-called newspaper is frequently short on reporting skills. If you are going to attack someone, you owe it to them to have your facts straight and legwork done.

Dave writes:

If the authority to shorten the runway has indeed been granted then it needs to be shortened ASAP.


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