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Airport Commission Reorganization Proposed


Citing petty squabbling among members that has created an inefficient Santa Monica Airport Commission, a city councilman suggests removing the current commissioners from their positions and replacing them with five new members.

The proposal, from Santa Monica Councilman Ken Genser, was postponed after Tuesday's council meeting and is scheduled to be discussed Aug. 12. Genser made the proposal as the City Council is considering candidates to fill three current vacancies on the airport commission.

"At almost every council meeting, we have a number of people who come up and speak about airport issues and say they feel that their points of view are not adequately considered," Genser said. "The commission is not weighing various points of view and trying to arrive at intelligent decisions."

Meanwhile, an alliance of businesses that operate at the airport have hired a lawyer and written a letter to the city, alleging that the current commission is fraught with conflicts of interest. The business owners complain that the applicants for the three open commission positions live too close to the airport to be objective.

Calling themselves the Santa Monica Business Aviation League, the group points out that its members have made substantial investments in the airport that may be at risk if the newly appointed commissioners unfairly cater to neighboring residents.

"If the airport commissioners are not objective, investors will not be likely to continue to invest in the airport," reads a letter sent by the group's attorney to Santa Monica City Atty. Marsha Jones Moutrie. "If so, the city will have to make up that revenue from other sources."

The city has considered the group's allegations and has decided there is no merit to their legal arguments, Moutrie said.

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