Appreciates recent repaving of Sepulveda Eastway, Westway

To the Editor:

I submitted a paving request for Sepulveda Eastway and Westway two to three years ago. They are the streets that run behind the shopping center parking lots [for the stores on Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester]. I heard all these reasons why they couldn’t be resurfaced and paved. They were not in the maintenance plan and were not considered main streets.

They just started today, Saturday, August 22nd, working on them. They are ready to bring in the paving crew.

I think Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office deserves a “well done.”

Robert Mogck, Westchester

Says Assemblyman Lieu didn’t see relevance of huge slip fee increases to boat abandonment

To the Editor:

Assemblyman Ted Lieu did not really explain Assembly Bill 166 at the Boating Town Hall meeting. He introduced parts of the bill and then deferred questions to Ray Tsuneyoshi. He and Tsuneyoshi failed to see the relevance of the huge slip fee increases that we have incurred over the last couple of years and how that affects the abandonment of boats, inferring it was a “local issue.”

There were several marina operators and yacht brokers that praised the bill. These private businesses were the “many” supporters alluded to in The Argonaut’s article in the issue of August 6th entitled, “Assemblyman Lieu to explain benefits of abandoned vessels legislation at boating town hall in the Marina.”

The vast majority of our derelict boats are in the smaller, affordable categories of boat slips which LA County and the developers have been trying to usurp to obtain the dedicated boater parking (0.75 parking stall/boat slip) for higher revenue apartments near the water. Will AB166 help with this? Of course it will. Is this really a win-win situation and good for boaters?

Jon Nahhas, Playa del Rey

Gives some history on relationship between Santa Monica Airport and the surrounding community

To the Editor:

Santa Monica Airport (SMO) has certainly earned a place in history for its contribution to fighting World War II. The airport and the communities around the airport have grown up together, literally side-by-side. Today the airport is very different than it used to be, physically as well as operationally. On average about 30 jets fly into and out of SMO daily, up from two a day in 1984. Piston aircraft traffic is half of what it was. What effect has this had on the airport’s neighbors?

Spend a few hours in the Los Angeles community of North Westdale east of the airport when jets are taking off and landing to understand why residents find today’s Santa Monica Airport intolerable.

SMO neighbors mostly complain about noise. The intent of the 1984 “Santa Monica Airport Agreement” was to respond to the concerns of residents of neighborhoods affected by noise from the airport. However, jets now account for almost all of the noise violations recorded at the two official monitors located a quarter mile from each runway end. Unless you live at one of these locations, your area receives no monitoring of noise. Reverse thrusters and the high pitched wine of idling jets are more examples of noise from SMO that neighbors find disturbing and go unrecorded.

From 1984 until 1994 SMO underwent major changes. With the addition of a jet center and a $10 million runway resurfacing, the number of total annual jet operations began their steep rise, going from 1,270 in 1985 to 4,951 in 1995, to 17,736 in 2005.

Residents close to the runway ends began to experience an invasion of jet exhaust into their living quarters. See home video of this phenomenon at our Web site www.jetairpollution.com/.

The awful smell of these fumes and their health consequences jump-started my involvement around 1998. I began attending Santa Monica Airport Commission meetings to lodge complaints about the fumes. As I repeatedly complained, month after month, I gained perspective about what the community needed for a better shot at having our voices heard.

In August 2003, Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP) was founded by me and my wife Joan as an umbrella group representing all SMO impacted communities. Our Web site was designed to present factual information and garner community membership to strengthen our voice. What progress have we made since 2003?

In 2004, the time was ripe to get involved politically. We sought help from our political representatives by holding candidate forums in both Santa Monica as well as Los Angeles. Candidate endorsement was not difficult with such outstanding candidates as Bill Rosendahl running for Los Angeles City Council, and the late Mike Gordon running for the California Assembly.

After Mike passed away from brain tumor complications, his protégé Ted Lieu was elected to fill his big shoes. Ted has been outstanding in all he has done at the state level regarding SMO.

Councilman Rosendahl’s efforts have been a major reason our concerns are being taken seriously. His persistence prompted Senator Barbara Boxer to write the new FAA administrator on our behalf. Politically, regarding SMO air pollution, we now have the ear of Senator Boxer, Congresswoman Jane Harman, CA Assemblyman Lieu, and Councilman Rosendahl.

The press has grown more involved with SMO since CRAAP was founded. I learned I could write to our local press via a letter to the editor, or even an opinion editorial. The local Santa Monica papers regularly report about SMO. The Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly also covered our April 21st, 2007 Earthday protest at the airport, as did a number of local TV stations. The New York Times did an article in November 2007. We truly appreciate all their coverage.

Getting the scientific community to produce a comprehensive study regarding SMO air pollution is not easy. Councilman Rosendahl convened a panel of experts who concluded that a record of jet ground operations could be used to update a 1999 risk assessment of emissions generated at SMO, prepared by Bill Piazza from Los Angeles Unified School District Office of Environmental Health and Safety. Recently, Norman Kulla, Rosendahl’s senior counsel, and I met with an expert in jet fuel toxicity who believes we could have a big problem at this airport.

Although we have made progress, as a community we have much to do to make certain that our interests are considered. Those who are interested in joining our efforts to safeguard the airport’s neighboring communities, can sign on to our contact list at www.jetairpollution.com/.

Martin Rubin, West L.A., director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution

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