Key citizen coalition “Residocracy” declines to endorse airport initiative, citing misleading language


Another key Santa Monica citizens group, Residocracy, is withholding support of a petition being circulated regarding the Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

Residocracy recently led the successful fight to block a major development in Santa Monica. The group says it cannot endorse the petition circulated by paid signature-gatherers on behalf of an aviation lobbying group because of misleading language. The group says anyone who regrets having signed the petition can use a city-approved process to remove their signatures.

In an email labeled “Alert,” Residocracy said that while the petition talks of preventing overdevelopment at SMO “the actual goal…seems to be preserving the `status quo’ both for pilots flying jets and prop planes….”

Residocracy represents a “community network of residents” dedicated to ensuring that City Hall addresses resident concerns while preserving the character and livability of Santa Monica.

Neighborhood associations across the city oppose the initiative, including Friends of Sunset Park; Northeast Neighbors; Ocean Park Association; Pico Neighborhood Association; Santa Monica Mid-City Neighbors; Wilshire-Montana Neighborhood Coalition, and Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. The groups say the initiative is masquerading as an anti-development measure, while aiming to keep airport traffic, including jets, at its present or increased levels.

Under an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration, all leases at the city-owned airport expire July 1, 2015, giving the city an opportunity to reduce or eliminate flight activity, including jets and flight schools.

Recently, the city held a series of “visioning” sessions. A cross-section of citizens — scores of them — took part, with the vast majority favoring either closure of SMO or a sharp reduction of aviation activity, a position favored by the city’s five-member Airport Commission.

On March 25, 2014, the Council directed staff to consider such a reduction of aviation uses, and began a process to ensure future development would be low-intensity, such as a park.

That prompted a Washington-based lobbying group, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, to launch the current petition drive to change the City Charter. The measure it promotes would block the city from following its March 25 plan and prevent it from modifying the current leases.