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Sat, Apr 01, 2023

Confederacy of Affluent Pilots to Purchase SMO

Reprieve for an Historic Airport

Special 04.01.23 Parody Edition: Founded in 1923 as Clover Field, the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) covers a total of 227-prime acres within two-miles of Southern California’s Pacific coast and six-miles of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

SMO’s historical significance is estimable. In addition to being the original home of the storied Douglas Aircraft company, the airport served as both departure and arrival point for the world’s first arial global circumnavigation—a 175-day, 26,345-mile odyssey flown in 1924 by aviators of the United States Army Air Service—the precursor of today’s United States Air Force. 

Historical and infrastructural import notwithstanding, the aeronautically ignorant Santa Monica City Council—during a 24 January 2023 meeting—resolved to close the airport by 2028, approving an alacritous closure plan and timeline by which to hasten the actualization of their aims.

Following the meeting, Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis set forth in a press release: “This is the beginning of a community process to reimagine the airport site, which accounts for an unprecedented 4.3-percent of the city’s land. We know this is an asset Santa Monicans care about and we want to work together to set goals and priorities to meet diverse community needs for the next several generations. And even if they don't care, we'll care for them.”

Comes now 01 April, and a confederacy of monied aviators and aviation enthusiasts—comprising in part Seattle businessman, entrepreneur, and cellular telephone industry pioneer Craig McCaw; actor and celebrity aviator John Travolta; golf legend and Gulfstream G550 owner/pilot Phil Mickelson; and unnamed parties within the Paul Allen, Jack Northrop, and Howard Hughes Estates—has pooled its considerable resources and influence for purpose of acquiring the SMO property in a private transaction with the U.S. federal government. 

Pending Congressional approval—which is expected to be handed down prior to the legislative body’s mid-summer break—the deal will obviate the Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree formerly entered into by the Santa Monica City Council, the United States of America, and the Federal Aviation Administration, thereby nullifying the city council’s plan to appropriate and close the beloved airport.

In a prepared statement, attorney Nick Morebux—whose law firm, Aptu, Winsome, and Morebux represents the confederacy—set forth: “The Santa Monica Airport is as much a part of America’s historical tapestry as Washington’s Mount Vernon, Jefferson’s Monticello, and Daley’s Cabrini-Green. The interests my firm represents repudiate the notion of governmental overreach, and have come together to save the Santa Monica Airport from petty tyrants occupying purchased seats on the Santa Monica City Council.”

Mr. Morebux continued: “Unlike Mayor Davis and his cronies, whose plans for the SMO property consist almost exclusively of nebulous weasel-words the likes of public open spaces, cultural arts, and recreational facilities, my clients intend to bring genuine progress and prosperity to the people of Santa Monica. This they’ll accomplish by expanding the SMO airport and investing in the support industries and ancillary infrastructure against which Santa Monica’s elected bureaucrats have obstinately stood since the 1970s.”

In a subsequent open presentation to the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Morebux and representative of Atlantic Aviation; Hensel Phelps Construction; the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains; AlliedBarton security; Quanta [electrical] Services, Inc; the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, Denny’s Restaurants, Starbucks, and In-N-Out and Tommy Burger disclosed a concise, comprehensive, and forward-thinking plan for SMO’s revitalization.

Funded to the tune of $17.6-billion by the august assemblage of well-heeled venture capitalists, the plan laid-out by Mr. Morebux and his co-presenters entails in part: 

  • Demolition of extant SMO Runway 03/21.
  • Construction of a new, 12,000-foot x 200-foot, ILS-served, reinforced, asphalt, grooved runway extending west of the current departure end of SMO Runway 21 to a terminus between 3rd Avenue and Hampton Dr. near the city’s waterfront.
  • Construction of an ALSF II lighting system spanning a regulation 2,400-feet and stretching west of the arrival end of the new, vastly lengthened and broadened SMO Runway 03, and terminating, approximately, at Venice Beach’s low-tide mark.  
  • Construction of a new, continuously-operational, VFR Air Traffic Control Tower.
  • Acquisition and demolition of the IPBS at Life Energy Institute and Stewart Ave. parking garage complex at the southeast boundary of the current SMO property.
  • Construction of 2,080,000-square-feet of aircraft parking space on the antecedent parcel of land.
  • Additions to the Santa Monica Business Park (north of the existing Runway 03/21) to include:
  • Construction of four hotels comprising 3,500 guest-rooms and 1.5-million-square-feet of convention space and facilities.
  • Construction of specialized facilities appropriate to two-percent of anticipated passenger volumes.
  • Construction of seven restaurants including one fine-dining, two bistro, and four fast-food eateries.
  • Relocation of the Museum of Flying from its present location to the property currently occupied by the Penmar Golf Course as well as expansion of the facility to house the current collections of the Pacific Coast Air Museum, the Western Museum of Flight, and Oregon’s Evergreen Aviation Museum, which curates the Spruce Goose (a condition of the investors representing the Hughes Estate).
  • The demolition and reconstruction of the SMO runway and expansion of the airport’s facilities will bring a projected ten-thousand high-paying construction jobs to the San Fernando Valley. When opened in the latter part of 2025, the reimagined and revitalized SMO will employ some 6,500 employees in capacities ranging from caterers and de-icers to baggage-handlers and wheelchair attendants to airfield and cargo workers to housekeepers and security personnel. 

Concluding his presentation to the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce—and several hundred of the city’s denizens—Mr. Morebux remarked: “For decades, special interest groups have successfully prevailed upon the city of Santa Monica’s elected martinets to strangle the life out of the SMO airport. By investing in the airport, safeguarding its rich history, and encouraging the maximization of its potential, my clients have afforded Southern California’s working citizens the opportunity to better their own lives while curbing the self-serving ambitions of the squealing sounder penned up in Santa Monica’s City Hall.” 

FMI: www.tothesea.com

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