Santa Monica Lookout
“Champion” of Airport Neighbors to Represent Santa Monica in State Senate
By Jason Islas
Lieu, who currently represents California's 28th District, will represent Santa Monica and other communities outside his area after redistricting left some neighborhoods -- called “deferral areas” -- without senatorial representation until the 2014 election.
After nearly a decade of advocating at the State level for tighter restrictions on noise and air pollution at SMO, Lieu has earned the reputation of being an ally of those who want to see the airport shut down.
“He's been the leader at the State level dealing with Santa Monica Airport,” said Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP) founder Martin Rubin.
“There is no one who would be more fair in investigating all the concerns that revolve around the airport.
Lieu was elected in 2005 to represent the 53rd State Assembly District and in early 2006, he authored a bill singling out SMO for increased pollution testing.
As an assemblyman, Lieu represented Venice and surrounding communities, whose residents complained that jet exhaust, driven by ocean breezes and the tarmac’s orientation, was harming their health.
At the time, Lieu said that the Santa Monica City Council and Airport Commission “don't have to pay attention” to his constituents' concerns.
“There are great number of my constituents who have no voice,” he told The Lookout in 2006.
The City Council opposed his bill -- AB 2501 -- because City officials estimated it would cost the City some $500,000 to administer.
In 2007, Lieu sponsored AB 700, which would have required the State to collect idling times of planes at SMO.
When Santa Monica's ban on large jets was challenged by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Lieu sponsored a resolution urging the FAA to respect the ban and review flight operations at SMO.
At the time, Lieu had accused the FAA of catering “to the demands of the wealthy elite, whether they are airline companies or those who can afford large private jets.”
Lieu moved from the Assembly to the State Senate in 2011 after he won a seat representing the 28th District in a special election.
Later that year, he organized the California Senate Select Committee on Air Quality hearing where experts testified that pollution from SMO was negatively affecting neighbors of the airport.
Santa Monica and the other “deferral areas” now under Lieu's jurisdiction -- including Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Westwood and Beverly Hills -- will eventually be incorporated into the new 26th District.
Lieu now represents 1.3 million people, according to the senator's webpage.
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