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Sat, Jul 19, 2014

Santa Monica Residents To Have A Say In Airport's Fate

Industry-Backed Ballot Initiative Will Be Decided In November

A grass-roots organization has gathered enough signatures from Santa Monica residents to have a measure placed on the November ballot which would give them a voice in land use decisions involving Santa Monica Airport (KSMO)

Santa Monicans For Open and Honest Development Decisions says the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters and Santa Monica City Clerk Sarah Gorman has approved the Voters Decide Charter Amendment for the November ballot. After Santa Monica voters submitted an unprecedented 15,700 signatures in June to place the Voters Decide Charter Amendment on the November ballot, the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters was required to examine and validate the signatures.

The announcement ensures that Santa Monica voters will have a chance to be consulted before any decision by politicians to redevelop 227 acres of low-density airport land can go into effect.

“Voters will resolve one simple question: should Santa Monica voters be asked for their approval before politicians, developers and special interests can convert 227 acres of low-density airport land for their own purposes,” John Jerabek, a member of Santa Monica Voters for Open and Honest Development Decisions, the sponsor of the initiative, said in a news release. “We think the clear answer is yes. Voters have a right to decide a land use issue that would fundamentally impact the character of Santa Monica.”

Jerabek noted that the low-density land use at Santa Monica Airport protects the community from higher-intensity development that would add to Santa Monica’s well-known traffic problem. Just as importantly, airspace restrictions around Santa Monica Airport protect residents from the development of high-rise buildings within many miles of the field in all directions.

The Voters Decide Charter Amendment has two main requirements:

  • Voter approval will be required for any City plan to change the use of low-density airport land for non-aviation purposes.
  • Unless voters approve such a change, the City shall continue to keep airport land in low-density aviation use.

The Santa Monica City Council has been struggling with how to respond to the Voters Decide Charter Amendment. They remain opposed to a clear and simple requirement for voter approval and are expected to place a competing measure on the ballot in an attempt to confuse the voters with a complex scheme that ensures that decisions can be taken while evading voter approval.

“They will say something about voting, but they won’t mean it. The activists, politicians and developers that have controlled this discussion for too long are in a panic about voters getting involved in the debate,” Jerabek observed. “Our initiative is honest and straightforward. The City must seek voter approval to change the use of 227 acres of low-density airport land, period. We’re not sure yet how the political insiders will respond, but you can bet on the fact that they will seek to change this land use while evading any requirement for voter approval.”

The Santa Monica Voters Decide Initiative is being led by Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions. The committee believes the City and airport opponents have not been forthcoming with voters and taxpayers about redevelopment and land-use plans for the valuable airport property.

The group has been supported financially by AOPA and NBAA along with support from local businesses, residents and pilots.

(Image from file)

FMI: www.smvotersdecide.com

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