A rather pompous proposal to alleviate weekend and holiday traffic at the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) is going up before the city's seven councilmembers at tomorrow's meeting. They'll be taking the fates of eight surrounding airports into their own hands, deciding whether to offer flight schools $150 to take their noisy training elsewhere — a small price to pay for the quieting of the Santa Monica/Venice gentry.
It's called the Flight Training Reduction Incentive Test Program, in which “reduction” really just means “displacement.” And the affected parties aren't about to take on Santa Monica's gassy byproducts without a fight:
“We're extremely displeased they are going down this path,” Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto tells the Daily Breeze. “If there's an increase in traffic to Torrance Airport… we're going to figure out a way to restrict it.”
John Bailey, president of the Southeast Torrance Homeowners Association, spits more venom at the proposal:
“Oh come on, it certainly has to be an (environmental) impact. That would shift not only noise, but air emissions to those eight other airports without disclosing the potential environmental impact of that action and without giving the people who live around those impacts an opportunity to comment.”
Santa Monica's director of Public Works, however, writes in his proposal that added flight-school activity wouldn't be out of the norm for the airports, so no environmental-impact report is needed.
Wealthy residents in both Venice and Santa Monica who live directly beneath the SMO flight path have waved picket signs and thrown darts at their state representatives for years. They claim that the racket is disrupting their beauty sleep; that the exhaust fumes are percolating down into their kale gardens and poisoning their young. (We kid. We've actually lived under said flight path, and it's a damn nuisance. Westsider problems! But still.)
So desperate are Santa Monica city officials at this point that they're offering up $90,000 to pay off six local flight schools to take their training elsewhere on the weekend.
According to the Breeze, the six-month program would “divert up to 4,800 takeoffs and landings to eight other unnamed airports on weekends and holidays.”
We've contacted Public Works for a list of the airports, which is suspiciously missing from the proposal. (Maybe SaMo doesn't want to set off any Google alerts?) But here's the rest of it — a small victory for anti-SMO activists and a pending nightmare for residents of Torrance, Hawthorne and beyond.