Bill Dies in Appropriations
By Jorge Casuso
September 4 -- A State bill
to measure alleged pollution from
jets using Santa Monica Airport died
in the Appropriations Committee last
week, marking the second time the
effort fails in the past two years.
Committee members voted Thursday not to appropriate
the $100,000 needed to create a technical advisory
board that would analyze pertinent studies and
advise on how to mitigate the impacts of air pollution
around the airport at the southeastern edge of
Santa Monica City officials, who threw their
support behind AB 700 after opposing a previous
measure, indicated they would not pick up the
David Ford, the chief of staff for State Assembly
member Ted Lieu, who first floated a bill to address
the issue nearly two years ago, said he was “shocked”
by the committee’s decision.
“We thought we were in pretty good shape,
and, frankly, we’re shocked by the result,”
Ford said. “The only cost concern that was
raised was raised by the City of Santa Monica.
“When in the State budget we cut wheelchairs
for blind old ladies, $100,000 to convene a task
force is a big deal,” Ford said.
The bill would have had a better chance making
it out of the Appropriations Committee if the
City of Santa Monica had not made it clear they
would seek reimbursement from the State if they
put up the money, Ford said.
“What sometimes will happen in a bill like
this is that they (the City) will file a letter
with the Appropriations Committee saying we’re
not intending to go after reimbursement,”
Ford said. “Santa Monica made it clear that
they would seek reimbursement.”
Neighbors -- who have long complained that a
sharp increase in jet traffic has resulted in
noise and air pollution in residential areas around
the airport -- blamed the City for the bill’s
“One can’t help but feel that since
the City of Santa Monica was not willing to pay
for the costs of the Technical Advisory Committee,
(the State Appropriations Committee) silently
killed the bill without even the courtesy of showing
how the votes were cast,” said Martin Rubin,
director of Concerned Residents Against Airport
“Had Santa Monica not objected to paying
the cost of hosting this advisory committee. .
. AB 700 would have passed out of this committee
and moved to the vote from the full Senate,”
Rubin said in a statement issued Thursday.
“Santa Monica has shown that it can talk
the talk, but it repeatedly walks feebly, only
when it is compelled to under strong pressure
from the community and other legislative entities.”
Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom said blaming
the City for the bill’s failure is “ridiculous.”
“We were working well with (Assembley member
Lieu) as far as addressing the specific concerns
he had,” Bloom said. “We had a rocky
start and worked hard to build a relationship.
“We made our position clear throughout
this,” Bloom said. “When we came to
an agreement, everybody was happy. . . We maintained
the position that the State should fund it. We
don’t believe in unfunded mandates in Santa
Monica. I think that’s responsible.
“Legislation in Sacramento is frustrating,
it takes time, you have to work out the right
formula,” the mayor said. “To lay
it at Santa Monica’s doorstep is ridiculous.”
The appropriations vote came nearly a year after
a controversial measure that singled out Santa
Monica airport to keep tabs on jet traffic died
in the state legislature.
That bill, AB 2501, was opposed by Santa Monica
and former Assembly member Fran Pavely, because
it targeted the Santa Monica airport and funding
was not specified in the bill.
This year, Lieu met with City officials
and representatives of Assembly member
Julia Brownley, Senator Sheila Kuehl
and Los Angeles Council member Bill
Rosendahl to come up with a joint
plan backed by all parties.
Ford said Assembley member Lieu plans
to talk with City officials.
“I don’t think we’ve really
had time to plan our next move,” Ford said.
“We’re going to talk to the City of
Santa Monica to see how we can move ahead with
Bloom said: “We’ll continue to work