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Progressive Socialist Democrats in the People's Republic of Santa Monica want to use an aircraft accident to shut down the Santa Moncia Airport

Just like other progressive socialist democrats elsewhere in the nation, the progressives in the People’s Republic of Santa Monica want to use the latest fatal accident at Santa Monica Airport to shut down the airport or curtail flight operations at this historically important airport that serves as an emergency gateway into West Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

Mostly driven by yuppies and aging hippies who live nearby, complaints of noise and pollution have been a constant. Especially since the surrounding area has undergone gentrification. When I was growing up on Clover Avenue next to Clover Field, as the airport was then known, it was a place of wonder and delight. Of course, it was home to a portion of Douglas Aircraft and Bill Lear and Donald Douglas, Jr. roamed the grounds. People respected the airport for what it was and accepted the fact that there was bound to be aircraft-related accidents from time-to-time. One, when I was walking home from grammar school, the same one attended by Beau Bridges who lived nearby, and had a plane make an emergency landing in a tulip field next to me.

Unfortunately, the nature and character of the airport changed as the progressives attempted to cut back the length of the runway or shut down the FAA control tower. Night flight hours were restricted, strict noise abatement procedures were placed into effect, many antique aircraft and old war-birds were forced to seek accommodations elsewhere – and, worst of all, non-aircraft tenants took hold in the park – architects, artists and artisans were allowed to rent space. It seemed that the People’s Republic of Santa Monica wanted to pursue progressive politics – the same type of politics that curtailed light industry and manufacturing in favor of restaurants, yoghurt, and antique stores. What was the home of Himmel Steel Products, where I learned to weld and bend metal on Main Street became an antique shop. The wood-burning barbeque joint nearby was told to take their pollution elsewhere.

And, now the recent airport fatality is being used as an excuse to revisit the airport issue once again …

Bear in mind, this was not a crash landing. This was an accident, possibly caused by a blown tire that caused the aircraft to veer off the runway and strike a nearby hangar where it exploded. We will not know part of the story until the NTSB team removes the hangar and support beams off the aircraft fuselage and removes the bodies. Then their will be the usual thorough NTSB investigation.

Santa Monica Airport crash sparks safety debate

Douglas Aircraft Co. built its famous DC-3s there, and in 1924 it was the jumping off point for U.S. Army pilots who were the first to circumnavigate the globe by air. The first woman to fly the U.S. Mail began her milestone flight at Santa Monica in 1938.

But the oldest operating airport in Los Angeles County has become the most embattled general aviation facility in the nation as housing tracts, started during the Douglas years, moved right up to its boundaries.

Concerned about noise, pollution and safety, those well-heeled Westside communities have been pushing city officials for years to either close the airport or slash its flight operations -- demands that intensified after a private jet slammed into a hangar Sunday in a crash believed to have killed at least two people.

The fiery crash, which occurred as the flight from Idaho was landing, is believed to be the first fatal accident involving a jet in the airport’s history. The impact and fire collapsed the hangar’s steel roof onto part of the aircraft as well as on planes stored inside.

Some community activists are pushing to turn the 227-acre airfield into a park. They claim that the federal requirements and leases to operate a large portion of the property as an airport, including a section of runway, end in 2015.

Only in the People’s Republic of Santa Monica can you have an Airport Commissioner calling for a reduction in airport traffic …

“We hope it’s a wake-up call,” David Goddard, chairman of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, said of Sunday’s crash. “Now we hope the City Council will take the next step” and reduce flights.

Protecting the airport …

But the Federal Aviation Administration asserts that Santa Monica must operate the airport in perpetuity under a 1948 transfer agreement reached when the facility was returned to the city after World War II. Agency officials have vowed to protect the interests of pilots and aviation-related businesses at the airport.

The fate of the airport has been debated for decades. When jets began operating at Santa Monica in the 1960s, the city imposed restrictions and, at one point, a total jet ban, which aviation advocates successfully challenged in court during the 1970s.

Robert Chandler, a veteran Santa Monica pilot who lost a vintage 1953 Cessna in the crash and fire Sunday, said the airport has a good safety record and is a vital part of the region’s transportation system. “To close it would be the equivalent to closing 10 miles of the Santa Monica Freeway,” Chandler said. “It’s disingenuous to move next to an airport and then complain about it.”

But Sunday’s accident has emboldened those who live near the airport. In the 12 years since Pete Thorson moved into his house, he said the jets have gotten bigger and faster, posing a safety risk. The only things separating Thorson’s home from the crash site are a 7-foot wall and about 50 feet of space.

The last fatality related to an airport flight was in 2010. A pilot was killed when his plane crashed on takeoff on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice. Residents said the incident highlights the perils of having an airport so close to homes. Then-Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district bordered Santa Monica Airport, visited the crash site and called for the closure of the airport. His successor, Mike Bonin, on Monday renewed that demand.

“I have long thought that the airport should be shut down, and I feel the same way today,” Bonin said. “The airport is a proven danger to nearby residents, both from the risk of crashes and from growing evidence of pollution and emissions from jet fuel. Sadly, this is déjà vu all over again.”

Source: Santa Monica Airport crash sparks safety debate -

I am not exactly unbiased in the issue …

I grew up overlooking the airport’s final approach, watched the planes land, and monitoring its tower frequencies. I washed planes in return for rides around the pattern. Even youngsters my age, between eight and twelve years old were welcome on the airport property, taught how to be safe around aircraft, and guided by any number of people who shared their love of flying. I learned to fly at this airport. And, on it’s Fiftieth birthday, I was pleased to add my name to the list of well-wishers. When the signature panels were passed out, I told them if I couldn’t be first signature on the page, I demanded to be the last.


(Courtesy of the Santa Monica Library Research Staff)

Bottom line …

This is no different from any number of fatal car crashes or home fires that have occurred nearby. Accidents will happen and are a part of life. To turn this historic airport into just another park – or even worse, allow developers to build luxury homes on the site – would be a tragedy.

-- steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

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