Measure D backers are not outsiders

Re: “The Argonaut’s Ballot Measure Endorsements,” editorial, Oct. 16

The Argonaut seems to speak with a bifurcated tongue regarding their endorsement of the Santa Monica City Council’s Measure LC on the Nov. 4 ballot.

On one side of the coin, The Argonaut is to be congratulated on their view that closure of KSMO is not a good idea, given that it is a vital piece of transportation infrastructure. But then The Argonaut flips with the City Council on its recommendation of yes on LC, which advocates the opposite.

The Argonaut goes on to castigate the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association as part of the “aviation industry,” but this is not the case.

The AOPA is a grassroots organization which protects aviation’s little people as a general aviation advocate. Membership in the AOPA is similar to membership in the Auto Club (AAA). It is not an “outside organization” in that it is supported by individual pilots at every airport in the USA with a GA presence. AOPA has had a member presence at KSMO for at least 50 years.

In order to promote aviation to the public and serve pilots all over the country, AOPA protects members from governmental excess and litigates for aviation issues. Therefore most of the GA pilots in the USA are members of AOPA in order to have a voice in aviation political matters.

AOPA mirrors the United Nations in this regard.  An attack on one airport is an attack on all. AOPA members voluntarily contribute funds to AOPA’s PAC. This provides funds for GA community awareness and litigation if necessary against airport closure all over the nation.

If the Argonaut chooses to call a modest contribution on the part of small airplane owners part of the “aviation industry’s self-serving Measure D,” so be it. If it were not for AOPA, airport users would have no protection against rapacious city councils whose friends are big developers. One has only to look at the Santa Monica Hines referendum to gauge the feelings of Santa Monica’s voters in regard to development.

Measure LC specifically states: “Subject only to limitations imposed by law, the City Council shall have full authority without voter approval to regulate the use of the Santa Monica Airport, manage airport leaseholds, condition leases and permanently close all or part of the airport to aviation use.”

So how many users of Santa Monica Airport did The Argonaut interview before coming to the conclusion that AOPA is some sort of “aviation industry” behemoth? Only one of the most rabid airport opposition representatives was quoted in the Argonaut’s endorsement.

Walter Davie

Mar Vista

‘D’ stands for democracy

Anyone who follows the airport issue knows that while city staff does a great job actually running the airport, the City Council-appointed Airport Commission is trying to strangle the airport out of existence with hostile leasing policies and other attempted restrictions. That’s why Measure D provides that no new restrictions can be imposed on the airport without a vote of the people.

Most voters in Santa Monica support the airport. Measure D will make sure that the airport can’t be closed by “other means.”

The city-sponsored Measure LC, however, maintains council control without voter approval. This is why I am voting yes on Measure D and no on Measure LC.

Furthermore, I do not want the City Council to spend millions of our tax dollars fighting the FAA, and very likely losing. Then the FAA could take back the airport and we could have a hub for local commercial airlines.

On the off chance that the city wins, the City Council has stated there are no other options but to “develop” the land: meaning more traffic, pollution, lower LAX jets and a lower quality of life in the Westside.

LC should stand for the people Losing Control of their way of life.

D stands for Democracy.

Michael J. Kent

Santa Monica

Allen vs. Fluke: Follow the money

Ben Allen and Sandra Fluke, the two Democratic candidates for the 26th California Senate District, are both publicly labeled as “progressive” at the various forums that emphasize superficial similarities rather than the differences. Questions distinguishing the respective campaigns, background and policy positions never seem to be asked. Yet the most basic research indicates that these are two very different candidates on several very important counts.

As we all know, talk is cheap and money shouts. Ben Allen is receiving wide and deep money support from some very non-progressive sources who also donate to Republicans.

William Bloomfield, who helped finance the open primary and redistricting initiatives opposed by liberal Democrats, has given money to GOP candidates McCain/Palin, Schwarzenegger, Whitman and Poizner. He is supporting Marshall Tuck of the charter schools movement and GOP gubernatorial challenger Neel Kashkari. As of this writing, Bloomfield has spent over $1 million on independent expenditures in support of the Allen campaign.

Other wealthy conservative donors include William E. Oberndorf, a California investor who funds conservative causes that include the privatization of education, and David Crane, a former UC regent who is also part of the education “reform” movement.

Allen’s stint on the Santa Monica–Malibu school board has been marred by the poor handling of the carcinogenic contamination at Malibu High School.

Though both attorneys, Allen and Fluke do not have similar legal backgrounds. Ben Allen’s legal work was corporate. Sandra Fluke’s was nonprofit, working with NGOs advocating for abuse victims and other underrepresented people.

When I ask self-described progressives who know about this information why they support Ben Allen, the response is uniform: “Ben is such a nice guy!”

As Carl Sagan wrote: “If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. … It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.”

Maureen Cruise

Pacific Palisades

Dem. vs. Dem. means we lose

Election Year 2014 presents Santa Monica Bay voters with opportunities and disappointments.

Voters will have the opportunity to end the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento by electing local candidates to the state Assembly. A strong Republican challenger, Iraq veteran and L.A. County gang prosecutor Elan Carr, is running to replace Henry Waxman in the 33rd Congressional district.

There is also one big disappointment. The 26th California Senate district, which comprises the Santa Monica Bay from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica, has two Democrats running for office.

Santa Monica school board member Ben Allen boasts an impressive resume of endorsements, from illiberal Henry Waxman to moderate Don Knabe. I asked him pointed questions about tort reform, school choice and right-to-work reforms. I felt he was very evasive.

Sandra Fluke is the celebrity candidate, famous because Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, but not much else. Whatever record of legislative work she claims is nothing compared to Ben Allen. When I asked her serious questions about real reforms, she looked offended, as though she had no need to explain anything.

Neither of these candidates represents my values, nor do they recognize the serious problems affecting this state. They want to talk about climate change (a discredited, alarmist fraud), campaign finance reform (unnecessary) and forcing the minimum wage (bad policy). When will our representatives talk about ending labor union dominance, education reforms and local control for our cities?

Proposition 14 needs to be reformed to permit voters to write in different candidates. The current slate of options for the 26th California Senate District is not a choice.

Arthur Christopher Schaper