Screaming jets versus squeaky wheels

July 9, 2015
In The News

Didn’t we already deal with the airport in the last election? Aren’t we done with that one already? Those of us who live near the airport hear this talk every day. We also hear the racket of helicopters, screams of jets, noise of small planes and the occasional random celebratory flyovers.

We hear them taking off and landing every day, 365 days a year, until 11 p.m., and sometimes landing after 11 p.m., since landing is not restricted. On average, we see and hear a crash every year! Keep in mind; the runway is within 300 feet of homes.

We hear talk about the “Airpark” that has been here for 100 years and the benefits to the community from the aviation industry and hear from those who are rightfully sentimental over the history of the airport. What we want to stop hearing is the daily screaming of the jets. They have been terrorizing the neighborhoods surrounding the airport since the 1960’s. The conflict was “settled” with the 1984 agreement that is set to expire on July 1, 2015.

Many things have changed since 1984. We have learned of the cardiovascular affects from noises over 55 decibels — the decibel limit for our airport is 95 decibels. We have learned of the effects of ultra fine particles emitted by the jets and their link to cancer and other diseases that affect our autoimmune systems. We have learned of links to asthma, IQ, and more. Also, since 1984, the Federal Courts have established proprietary rights and new case law regarding airport lands.

We talk of sustainability and green. We hear the scream of jets. We ban leaf blowers and smoking. We hear and smell the jets.

We want action that has been promised by our City Council for years. We are a small subset of the city and so perhaps, to those not affected, it doesn’t matter. But the truth is it affects all of us economically and morally. And we need your help to take back our neighborhood.

We know after July 1 all leases can go to market rates. Two companies that service the jet trade have made millions off extremely sweet deal master leases. Now the city can reap profits that aviation businesses have been gifted for the past thirty years. There are no contractual obligations to offer aviation leases after July 1st. The agreement that requires us to do so expires with the leases on July 1.

We now know the majority of the companies that hold leases are not aviation businesses. There are artists, restaurants, film companies, design firms, law firms, insurance firms, party facilities, storage units for fancy cars, and more. Santa Monica is a desirable location to have a business and space can be leased without difficultly.

We do not want to see business as usual after July 1. We want to tell the FAA, with the help of our mayor and congressional representatives, that the time for change is now and if the FAA thinks otherwise to let us know in writing.

Our Congressional Representative, Ted Lieu, along with Representative Karen Bass, have scheduled a meeting in Washington, DC on July 8th.

Ted has asked us to help him show that we are more than a few cranky neighbors. We recently fought for and passed Measure LC to protect and insure that the land is used for parks, arts, and culture. The opportunities are huge and we have an obligation and protections to do so.

In the last election we stood against out of state lobbyists who spent almost a million dollars to get control of our airport. We won. Now we must continue to stand up against billions of dollars of jet owners and operators who do not care about airport neighbors or our city. At one time Santa Monica Airport supported the community with jobs and a war effort. Now it has not been reduced to a convenience serving only a handful.

Do we really want to sit back and wait for the next crash, the next tumor, or the next case of adolescent asthma? Please help your neighbors, our mayor, and U.S Congressman Ted Lieu and print, fill out, and return the form at this case sensitive web address: bit.ly/HelpTed

It’s a little bit of work, but doesn’t anything worthwhile lead us out of our comfort zone? Take a breath. It’s not that hard!

As I finish this, at 10:04 p.m., another big jet noisy jet screams by.

Thanks for helping the squeaky wheels get the grease.

Alan Levenson

Santa Monica

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