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Ironic Outcome of Airport Protests

March 06, 1988

Regarding your recent story (Times, Feb. 14) on the mounting protests from area residents concerned with the redevelopment of the Santa Monica airport property: It seems the principal users of the airport (pilots, aircraft owners and aviation-related business owners) are about to have a chuckle over this most recent flap.

For years the local aviation community endured the wrath of residents of Santa Monica, Mar Vista and Venice who wanted to close the airport due to aircraft noise and concerns of airplanes falling like leaves. Fortunately, these attempts were futile, and the airport will be around at least until 2015.

However, in being so insistent, vocal and sometimes totally irrational in their approach to this matter, these people awoke a dormant giant, the segment of the Santa Monica City Council who, along with their developers, will turn what was a low to moderately busy airport into a bustling commercial park that will no doubt have stronger negative impacts on the surrounding communities than ever before.

While most users of the airport will agree that a good housecleaning and reorganization of the airport has sound basis, most will also agree that a plan that would have left the current property slated for aviation instead of commercial building would have been wiser. So now, residents are to face both the airport noise and noise and pollution, plus traffic jams from the commercial development. Had the airport been left an airport, and the local residency been willing to accept it on its own merits as a good (if somewhat noisy) neighbor, the problem might have been significantly less than what it is about to become.

As a Santa Monica airport user and aircraft owner, all I can say at this point is that you should have left well enough alone.

MICHAEL PATLIN

Los Angeles

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