Santa Monica Airport neighbors stand by concerns on aircraft operations

To the Editor:

Re: “Defends aircraft operations at Santa Monica Airport” (Argonaut letters, Sept. 15):

It is disconcerting to know that the president of the Santa Monica Airport Association would expound these views.

Even after several credible, unbiased scientific studies have shown huge elevations of pollution attributed to jet idle and jet blast, and even after credible, unbiased scientific studies have shown elevated lead levels near Santa Monica Airport (SMO), the letter writer submits that pollution from aircraft is largely negligible.

I say that the only way to stop blasting the downwind community with the toxic soup is to eliminate jet traffic at SMO and to get the lead out of aviation gasoline.

With regard to safety, the residents near SMO are not talking about the large percentage of aircraft operations that do not have problems. They are talking about the inevitable small percent that do run into problems. To those living by SMO, it is a risk that can be mitigated by eliminating all practice flights.

Actions need to be taken now. It would be unconscionable to allow these toxins to continue raining on the communities surrounding SMO. There is no good reason for it.

Santa Monica Airport has been allowed to grow into an environmental and safety hazard that the communities have had cast on them for decades. It is the airport that is guilty of poor planning.

If SMO’s surrounding communities unite and sue those who are responsible, arguments like the letter writer’s would not tip the scales in the favor of aviation enthusiasts.

Martin Rubin director, Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, West Los Angeles

To the Editor:

I have lived in the peaceful Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica since 1995 and purchased my dream home in 2009. Six months later, student pilots started pattern flying around my house. This had never happened before.

I used to think, “Well if you buy a home next to an airport you accept all the horror and hell that goes with the airport.” But then I started to understand that the airport grew out of control, over-sized jets pushed the prop planes over with the 250-degree flight path heading, and science caught up to the damaging effects of leaded and jet fuel pollution.

Historically, formaldehyde was legal but then science realized it was bad for the communities’ health; jet and leaded fuel is just like formaldehyde. The effect of the airport on me is specific to people attuned to sound and vibrations, the planes that fly and bank corner around my house repeatedly scare the bloody hell out of me.

I hear and feel the planes coming at me and I tense up and get nervous, fight or flee.

I have no say about the student pilots repeatedly pattern-circling my home. The least the flight schools could do is get rid of the old, loud junky planes and fly quiet “green” planes. Show some regard for the community.

Rob Nokes, Santa Monica

To the Editor:

On Monday, Aug. 29, a Cessna plane crashed into my neighbor’s garage. The good news is that the injured pilot and an injured man on the ground will be okay.

The bad news is in my imagination.

I imagine the moment a jet takes off from the Santa Monica Airport one block west of my house and crashes on my street, exploding, setting the neighborhood on fire and killing people – children, elderly, my son, my husband – me.

“Donnie Darko” was a cult film where a plane crashes into a teenage boy’s bedroom. It is a fantasy about the boy and his journey. But the boy is dead. Dead from the plane crashing into his bedroom. Dead, not even from a private jet, but from a small recreational plane – like the one that crashed into my neighbor’s garage.

Yes, I moved into this neighborhood aware of the proximity to the airport. But I had no idea of the irresponsibility and lack of concern for this community by the people who use the airport and fly planes out of it.

I was ignorant of the Federal Aviation Administration’s lack of concern for citizens who are making a home here and want only to provide a safe haven and community for our children and families.

Yes, I have written letters to my Congress members and to the airport. Yes, I have marched and made posters.

But, the truth is I hate this airport.

This is far beyond my irritation over the engine noise – and I have plenty of that. This is even beyond the concerns that the folks on the east side of the airport endure because of the highly toxic fumes that blow into their yards and through their windows.

Does a jet have to skid across the roofs of the houses west of the airport and burst into a fire bomb killing 50 or 100 or several hundred people? I pray (and I am not a religious woman) the answer is an emphatic, no.

Stephanie Allen, Santa Monica

To the Editor:

The jets at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) have come after houses were built. SMO should be required to file an environmental impact report for new usage, and it has not done so.

The jets endanger air quality and noise quality. It is unacceptable that a significant new usage pattern should be allowed with no EIR.

Let’s shut down jet usage until the pollution and noise problems have been properly evaluated.

Fred Dashiell, Santa Monica