Says officials should reconsider need for SMC facilities master plan

To the Editor:

The necessity of the proposed Santa Monica College master plan for 2010 needs to be re-evaluated for many reasons, not the least of which is the desperate state of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s financial situation.

With so many financial constraints placed on the school districts, it would be a virtual slap in the community taxpayers’ faces for the college to begin cosmetic demolition and reconstruction to its campuses, when the local schools are being forced to lay off teachers and cut back on programs.

Has it not occurred to anyone that the money would be better spent in the form of assistance to the schooling of our younger children, who will be precluded from a full educational experience, due to lack of state funds to support them?

While the money may be “earmarked” for college expansion/beautification projects, we all know that where there is a will, there is a way.

The college trustees need to join forces with the community to assure a high quality education for the children who reside here. The communities are coming to the realization that the constant/automatic bond requests for the Santa Monica College improvements to accommodate a student population that is 85 percent or more non-resident are excessive, unreasonable and may be more related to salaries and egos.

Additionally, demolishing Corsair Stadium is not indicated according to the Stadium Seismic Study of 2006, wherein only retrofits to the existing stadium were recommended. The effects on the surrounding neighborhoods, relative to demolition and reconstruction of the stadium and the liberal arts building, will be enormous, and the proposed plan is inconsistent with the city’s goals of recycling and living green.

The draft EIR (environmental impact report) includes a letter from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) dated June 4 that notes that the college failed to assess air quality impacts during the projects’ construction and operation.

This oversight is indicative of a lack of concern for the health, safety and comfort of the neighboring residents and their children, and is of great concern to us all. Remodel and retrofit needs to become your mantra, and hopefully you all will listen and take appropriate action.

Joanne Curtis, Santa Monica

Defends safety record of Santa Monica Airport flight schools

To the Editor:

RE: “Rosendahl calls for closure of flight school” (Argonaut, July 15).

The article is heavy on criticism of Justice Aviation and local flight schools in general. This incident (crash of Cessna 152 and death of pilot) is a tragedy to be sure.

Nevertheless, the incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and judgment as to the cause of the crash needs to reserved until this investigation is completed.

As pointed out in the article, the pilot was not a student pilot with presumed low flying time. Practicing take-offs and landings are a way of keeping a pilot’s skills sharp and, above all, safe.

Crashes would probably be more frequent if pilots did not routinely practice their skills. The flight schools at Santa Monica Airport have an outstanding safety record and pilots, student or otherwise, are not put at the controls of one of their aircraft without adequate training and scrutiny by their instructors.

Steven Siry President, Santa Monica Airport Association

Says city should get rid of airport

To the Editor:

RE: “Neighborhood council joins Rosendahl in calling for ban on ‘touch and go’ landings at Santa Monica Airport” (Argonaut, July 22).

I have lived here for 55 years at the end of the runway. When the jets came many people left, but our family stayed. I am at the end of the runway on the Santa Monica side and saw the whole crash that day.

Santa Monica plane falls out of the sky and kills pilot, missing homes.

And this pilot, with his last heroic deed misses our homes and tries to land in the golf course.

Years ago when the trees were small there was a safety net. No longer, the trees are huge. Now what if this is a jet? No comment from Santa Monica again. When the plane crashes in your yard, let’s see if it’s still no comment until you get more information.

Who are these careless officials who don’t get it?

Get rid of the airport and build homes that families can afford. Get some funds for our schools and get this airport out of here.

I now don’t even want the small planes here. What does this airport ever do for this city except cause heart attacks and pollute with sound and toxic fuel….Mow it down.

Patty Laurie, Santa Monica

Criticizes call to close flight school following plane crash

To the Editor:

RE: “Rosendahl calls for closure of flight school” (Argonaut, July 15)

The idea to shut down Justice Aviation because a commercially rated pilot rented an airplane from them, then crashed into a golf course, is just another Democratic knee-jerk reaction to an accident.

Should we shut down Budget, Hertz, Avon, American AirlinesÖÖ.? (you get the point)?

We pilots are trained to try to land in golf courses, or any other open area, in an emergency situation.

This pilot did the right thing and no one else was injured. It was very unfortunate that he died.

I think Mr. (Bill) Rosendahl should rethink his position on this and stop listening to Mr. (Martin) Rubin and the Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution people mentioned in the article.

Justice Aviation employs almost 20 people. At least three other companies on the airport rely on their business and they employ many more people.

I thought the Democrats wanted to create jobs.

Jim Ross, Marina del Rey

Clarifies Friends of Ballona Wetlands position on Ballona Lagoon path project

Friends of Ballona Wetlands (FBW) wishes to update and clarify our position regarding the City of Los Angeles’ proposed Ballona Lagoon path project (Argonaut, July 28).

FBW continues to support the Coastal Commission staff recommendation for approval of amendments to the city’s Coastal Development Permit, with conditions.

We believe the project, as conditioned, properly balances the protection of sensitive ecological resources with the need for regulated public access, education and safety.

FBW does not support the rerouting of the trail to cross Pacific Avenue, as we believe the risks to public safety from this approach are not acceptable, and the benefits to natural resources are very limited.

Our position is one reached by a consensus of our governing body. Consensus does not always equal unanimity, and our organization welcomes and values the diversity of opinions expressed by all our directors, staff and general members.

Lisa Fimiani, Executive Director, Friends of Ballona Wetlands, Playa del Rey