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Help saving the famous Santa Monica airport

Santa Monica airport has a famous aviation history and is an important part of the local economy. Advocates for Santa Monica Municipal Airport gathered to rally support for Measure D, a ballot initiative that would require voter approval before the airport can be closed or redeveloped.

The event, hosted by Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions, attracted a standing-room-only crowd and featured a panel of local airport advocates who spoke about the importance of the airport to the city’s economy and quality of life. Santa Monica Municipal covers 227 acres in the heart of the city, is home to 175 businesses, and is responsible for 1,500 jobs and a quarter billion dollars in annual economic activity. The airport also serves as a critical general aviation reliever in the crowded Los Angeles Basin.

The panelists urged pilots, airport supporters, and Santa Monica residents to educate family and friends about Measure D, support the campaign, and above all go the polls in November.

According to news reports, AOPA President Mark Baker and National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen spoke briefly, thanking airport supporters for their efforts to preserve the iconic field that contributes so much to the community and encouraging attendees to get out and vote.

“For years, a small number of vocal individuals have tried to strangle, close, or redevelop the airport,” Baker said after the event. “But the majority of Santa Monica residents value this irreplaceable community asset and they don’t want the added traffic and congestion that could come with redeveloping the land. For nearly a century, this airport has served the people of Santa Monica and they deserve a say in determining its future.”

The proposed Measure D, which AOPA supports, will not be the only item concerning Santa Monica Municipal on the November ballot. The city of Santa Monica has sponsored a competing initiative, known as Measure LC, which would keep control of the airport’s fate in the hands of the city council, allowing the airport to be closed and permitting certain types of redevelopment without voter input.

This rally was closely followed two significant court victories for airport supporters. On Aug. 19, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin threw out a case that claimed Measure D violated the state constitution and elections code and was not properly reviewed by city officials. Then on Aug. 22, a second Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, Joanne O’Donnell, dismissed similar allegations in a related lawsuit. Attorney Jonathan Stein, who represented the plaintiffs in both suits, said he would appeal.

Historically, Santa Monica Municipal has been the subject of numerous legal actions in recent months. In February, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter granted a motion from the Department of Justice and FAA to dismiss a lawsuit designed to release the city of Santa Monica from its obligation to continue to operate the field as an airport.

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