The AOPA is pushing an initiative that requires voter approval for ANY changes at the airport, intending to prevent the City from stopping selling jet fuel or reclaiming the end of the runway, or changing leases for aviation businesses without voter approval. But what they sold petition signers was a non-existant straw man - a fear of a non-existant development intention. Once voters understand that, this game will be over. Here’s the truth:
1. The Airplane Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), a national special interest organization in
Washington, D.C., is the sponsor and sole funder of the proposed initiative
2. The signature gatherers (paid by AOPA) sought to present the proposed initiative as a community-led “anti-development” initiative, when its purpose is to preserve aviation interests at the airport.
3. The proposed initiative states the City is planning “high-density” development at the airport that would result in increased traffic congestion, noise, and pollution. Truth is the City Council recently voted 6 to 0 to direct staff to plan “low intensity” uses at the airport that would not create more traffic. What’s more, a "high density" development project was already proposed at the airport by the Reliance Group in 1989. Residents collected a large number of signatures to support a referendum, and approval for the development was rescinded. We’ve been there, done that. We don’t need an AOPA initiative to give us the right to vote down dense development. We already have it and know how to exercise it.
4. The ;proposed initiative preserves the sales of both toxic “leaded” aviation fuel, as well as kerosene-type jet fuel, which emits toxic ultrafine particles and black carbon. According to the LA Times, the residential neighborhood downwind from the airport runway has worse air pollution than a freeway-filled area of East LA.
5. The proposed initiative will preserve the 250-300 daily takeoffs and landings of prop planes and private jets (a 32% increase over last year) directly over homes.
6. The proposed initiate supposedly offers residents the “right to vote” on the future of the airport. We already have that right, now, through the referendum process. If the initiative shouldl pass,, almost every change at the airport will require a ballot measure. This will provide AOPA the opportunity to try to manipulate the outcome of those ballot measures by means of unlimited campaign contributions. to avoid losing jet fuel sales, etc. According to their web site, "AOPA has committed to offering nationwide support to the effort to protect the historic airport.” (For whose benefit?)
7. The proposed initiative opposes the Pro-Park efforts organized by Airport2Park.org, a widely-supported coalition of community groups and environmental organizations.
8. The ;proposed initiative is opposed by the boards of numerous Santa Monica resident groups, including Friends of Sunset Park, Mid City Neighbors, Northeast Neighbors, Ocean Park Association, Pico Neighborhood Association, Wilshire-Montana Neighborhood Coalition, and Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights.
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