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Federal judge throws out Santa Monica's lawsuit over airport

The effort to close Santa Monica Airport suffered a major setback Thursday when a federal judge threw out the city’s lawsuit that sought to wrest control of the facility from the federal government. U.S. District Judge John F. Walters dismissed the claim that title to the oldest operating airport in Los Angeles County should be returned to the city because the action was brought too late under the statute of limitations. ( More...

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PhotoFinish 25
It quite simple. If you don't want an airport in your backyard, don't but a house with an airport in your backyard.
skylloyd 6
How many times has this scene played out around the country: airports, racetracks, etc.Bluenoses are going to have to suck it up. LOL
Ben Ryan 2
How many airports have we seen close and become housing complexes (South Weymouth NAS in Massachusetts)? Now, how many malls have we seen close and become airports (hmmmm, I don't have an example)?
Tom Bruce 4
Phoenix Field in Sacramento and another west of Sac Exec closed... Phoenix Field now covered in housing and Ryan? next to exec closed the second the owner died...
Tom Ratigan 1
Tom, you're correct about Phoenix Field. Minor correction; it was located 25 miles northeast off Exec. Also Natomas Airpark 5 miles southeast of Sac. Intl. No houses yet but only because of the housing crash. There is beginning talk of closing Sac Exec. and if they do, houses will be on the drawing board.
Doug Herman 2
Denver Stapleton, which is now mostly overgrown with other stuff. Of course Denver did have the incredible decency to build a new and better airport to replace it. And far enough out of town that it may take a couple of decades before the bitching about the noise in the neighborhood begins (after somebody, knowing full well that there's a big, busy airport there, builds a housing development right under the approach or departure anyway). Go figure.
Ken Lane 2
There have already been tons of gripes. But houses won't get too much closer. They bought a LOT of land around that airport for a wide buffer.
Tim Marks 3
How about the ultimate grab when the city of Chicago bulldozed Miegs Field because they wanted the lakeshore property for their use as a park. The city stranded several multi-million dollar corporate aircraft that required disassembly to transport them from the airport. There were multiple lawsuits, but in the end the city padded the pockets of Congress and got away with it.
Doug Herman 1
Nearly perfect parallel to the Santa Monica deal. I'd forgotten about Chicago's little lakefront airport.
PhotoFinish 1
There are many more vested interests on both sides at Santa Monica.

Also despite some local residents thinking otherwise, Santa Monica isn't the center of its' own universe. The city exists in the urban chaos that I'd greater LA. That Chicagoland is the term referring to tmetro area is indicative of its' central role in the region.

Same. Same. But different.
James Hodges 0
Miegs was destroyed a long time ago before Osamas, oops, Obamas time but he is carrying on the tradition!!!
Bruce Miller 1
Hadley Field. Plainfield, NJ
Three words: Kai Tak
Is that two?
vic holtzinger 10
I really get tired of real estate developers who put up housing around an airport or a truck stop,and then the idiots that live there start complaining about the facilitys that were there first!just like the crybabies that build in a flood plain and then cry and whine when their house gets flooded,
Mark Lansdell 1
It's not unique to airports. Stone quarries, mines or any high acreage land use fall prey to the almighty land developers. The early rail roads wee famous for it. I watched houses being built around a blue stone quarry here in Maryland as well as in close proximity to the interstates highways and then complained to the "government" about noise, dust, smell, property devaluation, etc. Check out the noise walls around interstate highways in the East. I don't know about other parts of the country. They are horribly disruptive and expensive to install.
jack tucker 9
I grew up next to the Santa Monica Airport starting in 1947. Our country depended on the Douglas Aircraft Company for WW2 and Santa Monica City Collage benefited by receiving the best technical teachers that prepared me for a 40 year aerospace engineering profession. I supported the development of over thirty military projects that defend our country. I was a principal design engineer on the 30 mm canon used in the Gulf war. I owe all of my success to Santa Monica City Collage. I am a 12,000 hour pilot who commuted out of Big Bear into the LA basin and all over the united states. Only non American idiots would try and shut down the Santa Monica Airport. Andrew Griffith Big Bear City, CA. 92314
Marcus Pradel 8
One of these days, the FAA should just take an aiport back and the surrounding lands.

The city of Pompano Beach tried, but retreated after burning a few Millions worth of taxpayers dollars.

You gotta wonder if the people pushing for these stupid drives are on the take for the law firms getting the city contracts...
Mark Lansdell 2
Hmmm. That's a good president to set. Maybe the Department of Labor should assume ownership of the local factory. Not my America
Pete Boeller 7
The first job I landed in aviation after departing the USAF was Berlin Avionics at SMO. There are a lot of good jobs and business at this airport. Unfortunatly, this has been going on for quite some time and I am glad to read that their latest attempt has failed. However, they are far from done.
Ken Lane 10
Denver had no shortage of idiots who bought homes south of DIA that were built long AFTER the airport was planned and started construction. The expectation was airport employees would be likely buyers so they didn't have to drive from Aurora or further. But it drew a few idiots as well.

As for SMO, they should have been planning ahead. They made that deal in 1948. The crybabies trying to nix the deal are more interested in the tax revenue they can get from closing the airport and putting up other buildings.

I'm glad they failed!
Ignorance has never been a good defense either, but apparently they tried that as well!
Bruce Evans 4
Yahoo! One for the good guys. Without getting too deeply into the weeds about West LA politics and sensitivities, I find it ironic that in the past 15 years KSMO has morphed into Beverly Hills International with a lot of "heavy tin" being flown for the personal benefit of whom? And we won't bring up the Yeti-sized carbon footprints of the chattering class as they get out of the stretch to climb aboard the G-5.
Mike Brosch 7
They have been trying to close SMA as long as I have been flying and thats a while.
Frankly, if I lived on an earthquake fault I would want an airport near me. In 1987 the Watsonville airport was the only way we had to deliver food and emergency services to them after an earthquake took out the highways and train tracks.
Agreement says perpetuity or unless the Government agrees otherwise.

Statute of limitations for claims expired.

It appears from evidence that the closure of this facility would erode the public safety, which seems to be a compelling State interest.

Yet those supporting the closure call them minute technicalities?

Wonder how much money the City will waste on this failed effort? Reality must not be a requisite for living there.
BC Hadley 1
"...perpetuity or unless the Government agrees otherwise." This does not provide the reassurance it should.
Torsten Hoff 7
The city leaders were told by the City Attorney that the lawsuit had a low chance of succeeding and that the net result would just be more taxpayer money spent on litigation.

Of course that has never stopped them before...
Gary Dell 2
Santa Monica Airport brings in revenue. What does a park bring in?!
PhotoFinish 1
Does not matter. The neighbors would pearly prefer a park witoit revenue to an airport with revenue.

The problem is that the land would be redeveloped into a use that the neighbors may not peter to an airport (ie. Coil be even more disruptive than the occasional landing business jet. Worse, the developer(s) would likely be some insider-connected individuais who would personally benefit, at the expense of the public lost opportunity costs.
Martin Haisman 2
If it is closed they will be whining because of the noise of the park lawnmower. They should file a countersuit that all permits granted for building near the airport must pay an annual levy for the infrastructure of the airport and indemnity from all use and airport expansion and improvements.
oowmmr 2
One for the good guys. A park, HA, how many empty parks I see, yea right. All of two families will utilize it if that.
Martin Haisman 2
If turned into a park the radio control club can fly their aircraft around all day and the amateurs can crash into the surrounding houses. Must dodge the doggie poo though.
Bruce Miller 2
Hadley Field, Plainfield, NJ
Tim Eichman 2
The mayor of Allentown, PA has been trying to push for the sale of Queen City Airport (KXLL) which is operated by the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (of which, the mayor, as part of his position, is a member of board during his term in office). One, he claims the sale would use the proceeds to clear a debt that Lehigh Valley International (KABE) owes from losing a legal battle after an illegal land grab... His also has an unstated goal of seeing the land used for commercial development (one of the last, large, non-park, areas in the city) to produce more tax revenue...

But, he has a problem: when the WWII era airport (Convair Field where Consolidated Vultee TBY-2 Sea Wolf Torpedo planes were built) was gifted to the city by the FAA, it included the same clause that Santa Monica has: one that requires the airport to operate in perpetuity and would only permit closure if there was a like-for-like replacement... A replacement for Queen City will definitely cost more than the estimated $26 million sale would generate...

So far, the FAA is sticking by the clause... I'm glad to see Judge Walters denied their request... Hopefully this reinforces the case against sale in Allentown.

BTW: in reply to their claim of "insufficient compensation", the Fed should have replied "uh... well... we could have let the Japanese invade... do you not consider that compensation?" ;)
PhotoFinish 1
What compensation? The airport was a gift - a gift with strings attached - but a gift.

If a city no longer wants the gift, or are no longer willing to abide by the terms of the agreement, they can always give the airport back to the feds, and say, 'Thanks!'

Then the FAA could determine whether the airport was still necessary. For those like Santa Monica with lots of traffic and functioning FBOs that handle the business of operations at the airport, there would be no doubt the airport would continue. In these cases, it would just be necessary to appoint an independent airport board to oversee the direction of the airport, which may include hiring an airport manager.

For those rare cases, where the FAA and local government agree that the airport is no longer necessary and not being used, then the airport could be put out for bid to other purchase and/or operate the airport as an airport. Only in those cases in which no one (public or private) was willing to maintain the airport, should other uses be entertained.

Any proceeds from the divestiture of the airport should go to the US Treasury. This way there is no financial incentive for either local gov't or FAA to want to get rid of the airport. The process of choosing a buyer should be open and transparent. Typically highest and best use could be easiest determined by highest bidder.

But this trying to steal airports, that are important national transportation infrastructure, has to stop.
James Hodges -1
If somebody makes it worthwhile to him and his friends, Obama, by executive decree, will over rule the requirement that the Airports be kept open!!!
Good! Snobs need to understand the airport was there 1st and they knew it when they bought their houses!
James Hodges 2
It is just a matter of time. The developers smell big money. Enough to buy a Judge eventually.
Dave Blevins 4
Kalifornia seems to have an inordinate amount of stupid. And they seem to work for their comrade leaders rather than for the people. Remember that Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely.
Tom Sherer 2
In this case, I would presume that "their comrade leaders" are R/E Developers, regardless of the projected 'park use'.
PhotoFinish 2
The land would be a prime spot for real estate developers to build. One of the few things that mitigates the desire among locals to close the airport, is the possibility that the airport would be replaced by a huge development eg. retail mall that would bring much more chaos, traffic, outsiders and disruption into 'their' town, than the airport does now or ever would.
James Hodges 2
That won't bother the developers who will make many, many millions. They don't live nearby.
joe milazzo 2
In today's economy how many jobs will a park create and how many jobs will be lost if the airport closes. Liberal American's are as economically ignorant as they come.
Let's just hope we don't wake up one day and find two big x's dug into the middle of the runway like we did at Chicago's Miggs Field several years ago.
Ken Lane 3
The more interesting thing there is the FAA was about as impotent as a castrated male when they pursued the issue.
Tom Sherer 2
Actually, Joe, "Liberal Americans" are the ones who have paid DOWN the National Debt - everyone of them 'Liberal' Democratic Admins since Harry S. "Liberal Repubican" Ike did, too. It is Conservative Americans who are so "economically ignorant" that they ran UP the National Debt - Nixon-Ford (<$1T), Reagan ($4T), Bush41 ($3T) and Bush43 ($8T).

"Liberal Americans" are also pilots. Let's keep silly political nonsense out of the SMO issue.
Ken Lane 1
Gosh, you seem to have forgotten current affairs. The national debt was $10.7 Trillion when Obama took office. It's now just shy of $17.3 Trillion. Obama has rivaled Bush's both terms and has more to go. It is estimated the debt will reach $21 Trillion by the time he leaves office.

After each president:
Ford: $653 Billion
Carter: $930 Billion
Reagan: $2.684 Trillion
Bush 41: $4.177 Trillion
Clinton: $5.662 Trillion
Bush 43: $10.699 Trillion
Obama: $17.294 Trillion (And three years to go!)

So, you were saying?

There needs to be a balanced budget amendment. Neither party wants that as it makes it too hard to spend pork and buy votes. I was opposed to the climb under Bush as well. But you can thank the Democrats who changed government, added to it and in the process, created the much hated TSA.
btweston -1
What a lovely trip to the theater.
Brian De Jong -2
Santa Whineinca.
Tony Smith -2
Just another example: California, land of the entitled, home of the NIMBY.


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