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Enough is Enough

October 3, 2011

I have lived on 18th and Hill Streets in Sunset Park for almost 17 years. When we moved to this special neighborhood, it was a quiet, clean, “unknown” part of Santa Monica. Periodically, on the weekend, there were the “hobbyist prop-plane flyers.” I can say it's a different story today.

My husband and my two now-teenage children are affected every day by the overuse of this small airport – the exponential increase in jet traffic, pollution, safety risk and noise that has bombarded our “once sleepy” neighborhood.

We live west of the airport, presumably upwind of the fuel stream, but there are many mornings and afternoons when the breeze is still and I step outside and almost choke from the thick stench of jet fuel hanging over my house. At all times of day I can hear the jets idling, or revving their engines as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 11 at night. This is not to mention the constant take-offs and landings that continue often past 11 p.m. at night, including just last Saturday. (I don't believe the time restrictions are respected in the least by these charter companies.) The jet engines are deafening and even drown out the television with the windows closed. And I know the noise is much worse for those who live on Ashland and Pier.

I wonder if any members of the council have attended their child's softball or soccer game at Clover Park and had to hold their ears as the huge jets rev and take off, several an hour. I won't even address the safety issues – but I can't imagine the impact of a fatal crash in that area! Just the recent near-miss of the student plane at Navy and 21st streets attests to the risk all residents face living under this badly-regulated urban airport. Everyone admits that the Santa Monica Airport was never designed for the commercial uses it pursues today. Nor could the Douglas Aircraft company, built at Clover Field in the 1920's, have envisioned the populated community that would grow up around it!

We, and all of our neighbors, have been unhappy for years with the exploitation of our part of Santa Monica as the “runway” for the FAA, the private aircraft companies and flight schools, and the wealthy clients who overuse these dangerous jets which pollute our parts, endanger our streets, and disrupt our peace. We pay a high price to live in Santa Monica, which has a deep environmental commitment, yet is unwilling to take a stand against this powerful commercial enterprise. The residents have been suffering for many years. Let's not wait until a catastrophic tragedy happens to force us to finally cease the politic game-playing and act.

Today we take a stand and say “Enough is enough!”

Karin and Greg Wholey
Santa Monica

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