COMMITTEE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE TO HOLD DISCUSSION ON CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP

The Committee for Racial Justice (CRJ), in con-
junction with African American Parent, Student,
Staff Support Group (AAPSSSG), will host a com_
munity discussion with Dr. Terry Deloria, (Assis-
tant Superintendent for Educational Services,
of Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District)
at 6 pm, on Sunday, November 3rd, at Virginia
Avenue Park, Thelma Terry Building, 2200 Vir-
ginia Avenue, Santa Monica.

Dr. Deloria will present a plan for narrowing
the achievement gap between African American,
Latino and white students. “For over two years,
the Committee for Racial Justice has worked to
ensure that Santa Monica students are given
the necessary resources to excel equally,”
said parent and CRJ member, Keisha Woods.
“Part of that strategy has been to address the
racial inequities in the classroom, and to
call for immediate action in closing the gap
in education.”

Woods went on to say that Dr. Deloria will pres-
ent a plan of action that will seek to narrow
the educational divide between African Americans,
Latinos and their White peers. “It’s important
that parents attend the meeting so they will
know what the district plans for those students
performing below the set standards and to share
their concerns.”

“Closing the Achievement Gap” discussion is part
of an ongoing monthly seminar held by the Commit-
tee for Racial Justice that focuses on racial
justice, mass incarceration and educational
equity.

For more information, call 310-399-1631.

CITY PRESS RELEASE EXPLAINS ITS FAA LAWSUIT

The City of Santa Monica has sued the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish
the City’s right to control future use of the
Santa Monica Airport property, which the City
has long owned. The lawsuit, filed in federal
court in Los Angeles, asks the court to declare
that the City holds clear title to the land.
And, it also challenges, as unconstitutional,
the FAA’s claim that the City must continue
to operate the Airport indefinitely, even af-
ter contracts establishing the City’s Airport
obligations expire.

In 1984, the City and FAA entered into a Sett-
lement Agreement with the FAA that obligates
the City to operate the Airport until 2015.
In anticipation of the expiration of that con-
tract, the City undertook a three-year Airport
Visioning Process, intended to identify options
for the Airport’s future. Hundreds of communi-
ty members participated in this three-phased
process – the largest ever conducted by the
City. In April of this year, the Council recei-
ved a comprehensive report on the results.

After considering the report and conducting a
lengthy public hearing, the City Council dir-
ected City staff to report back in March of
2014 for further public discussion and a dec-
ision about the future use of the Airport land.
Meanwhile, the Council also directed staff to
continue to explore any and all possibilities
for a voluntary agreement with the federal
government that might modify Airport operations
so as to significantly curtail adverse impacts
on the community.

Since then, City representatives have contin-
ued to meet with FAA representatives in Wash-
ington. City Manager Rod Gould explains, “We
met in Washington many times, and conveyed
community concerns and proposed possibilities
for changes, including operational changes,
that could significantly reduce many of the
Airport’s adverse impacts. The FAA represen-
tatives were polite and respectful. But,they
were simply unwilling or unable to agree to
any changes that could bring significant re-
lief to Airport neighbors. They believe that
the City is legally obligated to continue op-
erating the Airport as it now operates and to
keep operating it forever because of the post-
War transfers.”

The City has owned and operated the Airport
since the 1920’s. During World War II, the
City leased it to the federal government for
a nominal amount in support of the war effort.
During the War, the City and the federal gov-
ernment worked together to expand and improve
the Airport; and, after the war, when the
federal leases expired, the Airport was re-
turned to the City through an Instrument of
Transfer. The federal government claims that
the Instrument of Transfer obligates the City
to operate the Airport “in perpetuity” (forever)
or forfeit its ownership interest to the federal
government. The City disputes this claim based,
in part, on the City’s near 100-year ownership
of the Airport land, the fact that the Airport
was merely leased (not sold), and constitutional
guarantees that prohibit commandeering property
without compensation and forcing local govern-
ments to perform the federal government’s work.

Speaking of the lawsuit, Santa Mayor Pam O’Con-
nor said, “We need to get these legal questions
answered. The community expects us to protect
their health, safety and welfare. And, of
course, the community’s demands for relief from
Airport impacts have only increased since last
month’s terrible crash. We need the court to
decide whether the City has control over its
land so that, next year, we can make a decision
about the Airport’s future. Because this dis-
pute is unique and incredibly important, the
City Council directed the City Attorney and her
staff to partner with the best outside legal
team they could find.”

The City Attorney and senior members of her
office conducted a competitive process that
resulted in the City hiring Morrison & Foers
ter – a global firm with sixteen offices and
more than 1,000 attorneys. Explained City At-
torney Marsha Moutrie, “We were particularly
impressed with the Morrison & Foerster team’s
litigation credentials, aviation experience,
and appellate expertise. I’m certain that
they will provide excellent representation in
this singularly important case. And we look
forward to working with them to resolve the
dispute about the City’s authority to control
the use of its Airport land.”

The case will be heard in Federal District
Court in Los Angeles. Federal rules give the
federal government 60 days to respond to the
City’s complaint.

CITY OF SANTA MONICA SUES FAA FOR CONTROL

LA WEEKLY story

Following last month’s fatal crash of a private
jet at Santa Monica Airport, the city of Santa
Monica is suing the Federal Aviation Adminis-
tration over control of the neighborhood land-
ing strip.

See also: Fiery Crash at Santa Monica Airport.

The community around Santa Monica Airport, in-
cluding Mar Vista on the city of Los Angeles
side, has long been opposed to the kind of
air traffic, including private jets, that
affects the area. Critics maintain that the
facility, surrounded by residential neighbor-
hoods, was never designed for jets. But they
have faced one problem:

The federal government.

The city says the FAA has essentially required
Santa Monica to continue running the airport
as is, forever, as a result of an obscure, World

War II–era contract.

During wartime the city leased its circa-1920s
airport to the government to support the war
effort, and afterward the city got the land back.
But according to Santa Monica, the government
has used “the Instrument of Transfer” paperwork
as a basis for demanding that the city continue
operating the airport as the FAA sees fit. Accord-
ing to a statement from City Hall:

The City disputes this claim based, in part, on
the City’s near 100-year ownership of the Air-
port land, the fact that the Airport was merely
leased (not sold).

The city is under a separate agreement with the
FAA to operate the airport until 2015. After that
all bets are off, at least with this lawsuit in
the mix. Santa Monica City Councilman Kevin
McKeown told us this:

That decision still lies ahead. We already have
a major council meeting on the issue scheduled
for March 2014.But there’s certainly a shut-it-
down state of mind both in Santa Monica and in L.A.

The FAA has ruled the airport with an iron fist,
rebuffing efforts, even one by Westside U.S. Rep.
Henry Waxman, to implement even some its own
safety measures.

See also: Santa Monica Airport Is Dangerous, Rep.
Waxman Says.

For example, the agency recommends a 1,000-foot
buffer between airports and residential areas,
but Santa Monica has 300 feet in places. In fact,
last month’s fatal jet crash happened about 150
feet from homes, Santa Monica Airport Commission
chairman David Goddard said at the time.

According to a city statement, the federal suit
seeks to …

… establish the City’s right to control future
use of the Santa Monica Airport property, which
the City has long owned. The lawsuit, filed in
federal court in Los Angeles, asks the court to
declare that the City holds clear title to the
land. And, it also challenges, as unconstitutional,
the FAA’s claim that the City must continue to
operate the Airport indefinitely, even after
contracts establishing the City’s Airport obli-
gations expire.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow
Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero.
Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

MIRAMAR DEVELOPERS STILL DON’T GET IT

We’ve lost count of the number of Miramar full
color mailers that have turned up in our mail
boxes. Each one of them has attempted to explain
its massive project to us. But the problem isn’t
that we don’t understand it. The problem is that
the Miramar owners don’t understand us or Santa
Monica.

Its slogan is “Restoring Our Legacy – Invest-
ing In Santa Monica’s future.” In fact, Santa
Monica residents and the Miramar owners don’t
have a common legacy. The residents’ legacy is
long and illustrious and unique, and it is un-
der fire now and threatened by an increasing
number of mammoth projects – including the Mir-
amar, which proposes knocking down virtually
everything on its block and replacing it with
a faux Art Deco tower that is 320 feet tall
(twice the height of the Huntley). But if res-
idents have their way, and they should because
it’s their town, nothing new will be over 55
feet.

What’s more, the owners, led by Michael Dell,
a billionaire, aren’t investing in our fu-
ture. They’re not even investing their own mo-
ney in their project. The L.A. Times has re-
ported that in order to reduce their taxes,
they used a loophole which allows a tax re-
duction if none of its owners holds a majority
of the stock – never mind that two of the four
owners are Mr. Dell and his wife.

As significant, the sale of the 120 condos
will cover the construction loan that will
pay for the tower, several smaller buildings,
the inevitable “retail,” underground parking,
and the so-called “public space” that will
only be “public” when hotel guests aren’t
using it.

As the mailer notes, no developer of hotels
in his right mind would build a “luxury hotel”
these days without including “luxury” condos
as equity.

The mailer promises the ”luxury Miramar” will
generate new property taxes, but it’s unlikely
that the owners will discontinue to use the
loopholes.

It promises to build “affordable housing” but,
in fact, condominium developers are required
to build affordable housing. It’s a simple eq-
uation. 120 “luxury” condos mandates 12 “affor-
dable” housing units – across Second Street.

It also promises to “support the City’s vision
for Downtown…Our City Council has recently em-
braced creating a dynamic, mixed use environ-
ment for our Downtown with more housing for all
income levels.”

That’s the plan that has been in the works
for three years and has stalled out due to
residents’ continuing objections to the City’s
“vision,” which includes the Miramar proposal.

The Miramar mailer’s reference to “Our City
Council” inadvertantly sums up the real dilem-
ma. For, as the Transparency Group’s recent
brilliant report demonstrated, the majority of
the City Council has been bought by developers,
who will, in time, make billions from their
investments here in this gloriously idiosyn-
cratic beach town — once they reduce it to
a “luxury” money mill.

A CRASH AND A FLOOD ENLIVEN THE NIGHT

Around 10:45 PM last night, helicopters gath-
ered over the north side, as they do when any-
thing unusual or bad happens.

Last night, a driver at Georgina and Fourth,
a normally serene Santa Monica intersection,
lost control of his car and crashed into a
house.

About the same time, a water main broke on Sal-
tair in Brentwood, and the water rushed down the
street and flooded San Vicente.

And once again, Santa Monica was the site of
“breaking news.”