The March 12th City Council agenda includes item 13-B: “Recommendation to accept Ofer Grossman’s resignation from the Airport Commission and authorize the City Clerk to publish the vacancy.”
Airport Commissioner Ofer Grossman resigned from the commission following the February 25th meeting. Commissioner Grossman has spent 12 years on the commission and brought a depth of understanding, advocacy, experience, and focus, that will be sorely missed by the Commission and the public.
Commissioner Grossman intends to stay involved in the airport debate, but said that after all this time, he wants to ‘take on a different role’.
In reviewing the audio tapes for the February 25th meeting looking for clues as to what might have precipitated this decision, the discussion regarding items 10 (a), (c), and (e) may shed some light on Ofer’s reasoning.
During those discussions, Commissioner Grossman stated that during the prior month he had interacted at length with a number of City Council members, and the City Manager, concerning various matters, including the proposal by the Airport Commission that the Council adopt the A/C recommendations into law (Item 10 (c)), as well as the idea of using incentives tied to the installation of mufflers on prop planes at the airport (Item 7 (c)).
Commissioner Grossman reported that ‘the fear among those who he had spoken (regarding 10 (c)) to was of precipitating either a Part-16 hearing, or some other preemptive FAA action such as a preliminary injunction’ as a result of adopting the A/C recommendations into law. He felt that 10 (c) was unlikely to get any traction. During his explanation, Commissioner Grossman made the following statements:
“He does not believe that communication with the council through this body (i.e., the Airport Commission) is proving effective or efficient”.
“It is most effective for the public to speak directly with the City Council, not through the A/C”.
“That for a variety of reasons including the Brown Act, (i.e., the discussion must be public), the Council is loath to discuss the airport in public, … though they may discuss it privately”.
“To be honest with you, the City Council meeting on April 30th is probably the best way for people to convey their thoughts to the City Council in a way that they can be sure the City Council is hearing them, listening is another matter, but that’s the way you’re going to have to communicate…”.
“For a variety of reasons that we’ve discussed, the public discourse that people are looking for will probably not happen in this forum (the Airport Commission)”.
CASMAT’s read of these statements is that Commissioner Grossman has decided that he can be more effective advocating on airport matters as a member of the public, rather than being constrained as a Commission member through the Brown Act and other contingent restrictions.
Commissioner Grossman has been one of the most active and effective commissioners we have had, and his departure from this role is a serious blow to the community. However, CASMAT takes this development to mean that it is even more important for the community advocacy organizations and members of the public that are concerned about the airport issue to step up their activities, and to coordinate more effectively with each other to ensure that the City Council heeds the community as they discuss the airport issue. To that end, there will be a special A/C meeting on April 1st regarding the airport visioning process, and then on April 30th there will be a one-topic City Council meeting regarding the airport, at which time everyone will have the opportunity to express their concerns to the Council.
This is your chance to ensure City Council hears your voice. We have until April 30 to make sure the message gets through. You can e-mail the council at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ to let them know what you think.
Also please be sure to attend the April 30 City Council meeting on the airport beginning at 6:30 PM.