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News, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

Proponents Of SMO Ballot Initiative Receive Major Financial Backing

Posted Aug. 1, 2014, 9:09 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

It has been no secret that the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) have largely backed the group identifying itself as the “Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions” (SMOHDD). Some have went so far as to allege AOPA and SMOHDD are essentially one in the same.

According to a series of forms filed in July with the City Clerk’s office, it can be confirmed AOPA is a significant backer of the SMOHDD group and its ballot initiative campaign claiming to give voters the power to decide the future of Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

According to several forms, the committee is officially labeled as “Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (Aviation) with Support from Local Businesses and Pilots.”

Also according to the filed paperwork, SMOHDD has received more than $268,000 in contributions so far this year.

The individuals listed on one of the forms include Flora Lin (treasurer) and Dana Reed (assistant treasurer). Coincidentally, both Lin and Reed are attorneys at the Century City law firm of Reed and Davidson.

According to the firm’s website, Lin is a partner who “works closely with the firm’s political compliance unit and advises clients on campaign and lobbying laws in California and other states.”

Reed is also a partner at the firm and, according to its website, has practiced election and political law since 1975.

The website adds Reed “as been involved in California state politics and government all of his adult life serving in senior government positions.”

Another individual listed on filed paperwork was Bill Dunn of Frederick, Md., where AOPA is based. Dunn, who is listed as an officer on SMOHDD paperwork, is also the vice president of airports for AOPA.

Other officers listed on the filed paperwork include Santa Monica resident John Jerabek and David Shaby of Culver City.

On the form listing monetary contributions to SMOHDD, the AOPA group is listed as one of largest donors. So far this year, AOPA has contributed $117,399.80 to SMOHDD.

Another major donor: National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), who reportedly contributed $125,000 in June to SMOHDD.

In the 30-day period between June 5 and July 4, SMOHDD reportedly paid $56,896.50 to Carlsbad-based Arno Petition Consultants for “petition circulating.” Another payment of $16,025 was made to Culver City-based Frank Wilson and Assoc. for costs associated with Internet maintenance and email.

SMOHDD reportedly has an unpaid bill of $17,142.97 to Reed and Davidson. The group has reportedly spent about $256,000 to date.

Other groups reportedly supporting the SMOHDD ballot initiative campaign include Santa Monica Air Center and Santa Monica Airport Association.

Post a comment


Aug. 1, 2014, 11:11:13 am

jerry spencer said...

I don't have a plane. I don't use SM Airport BUT the airport is a vital member of the community. If you didn't want to live near an airport..... ya' shouldn't have moved near an airport! I just don't see the logic behind the attempt to remove the airport by some disgruntled folks who feel they are entitled to dictate what should happen to their neighbor. SM Airport has altered many of their procedures to assuage the loud voices - I think enough is enough. Like I said, You moved into the neighborhood, the neighborhood didn't move into YOU!

Aug. 1, 2014, 6:30:59 pm

Let the voterd decide said...

All this means is that the airport will get a FAIR chance! The anti-airport crowd has already been largely funded by big developer money and they own the Santa Monica city council and dominate the press like the Mirror. At least now with some financial backing the airport can fight back against the developers and get a fair vote. Let the voters decide!

Aug. 1, 2014, 7:02:05 pm

Ben W said...

Jerry, the Santa Monica Airport land is owned by the people and should be for the people. However, today it is used by less than 300 local pilots for either personal play or personal convenience, while there are over 90,000 residents who pay for it, as it operates at a loss. Moreover, the air-traffic inflicts additional social costs in the form of pollution, noise, and safety risks on the entire local community. The fact is that we want to close the airport so that we can all enjoy it rather than suffer from it. This is in line with the original intention almost a century ago when the land was first purchased by the City. The only outcome of the measure backed by the private-jet and aviation industry will be increased growth in jet traffic, thicker pollution, constant noise, and dangerous risks, with no regulatory oversight so that toxic leaded fuel use continues indefinitely. On the other hand, the City measure supports the will of the people. It will result in welcoming parks and nice open spaces that can be used by children, families, and seniors who are interested in Sports & Recreation; Arts & Culture; Education, Science & Technology; Environment

Aug. 1, 2014, 9:19:02 pm

Ben Dover said...

Ben W you are entitled to an opinion. Let the voters decide. That's all anyone is asking for. If the city does close the airport then I hope you're prepared to keep fighting for the rest of your life trying to keep the hungry developers at bay!

Aug. 2, 2014, 7:35:43 pm

PilotBob said...

I totally agree with Bob W. The airport is ready for all to enjoy. Having open land or a park would be perfect for the residents, old and young to enjoy.

Aug. 2, 2014, 7:41:10 pm

Natasha C said...

So loving the idea to close the airport. Many cities are realizing the need for more open space. I'm joining the thousands of residents who wish for it to change.

Aug. 3, 2014, 12:27:57 am

Roy said...

Park my rear. This is Santa Monica the development capitol of the west coast. I can't wait for the developers to get their hands on the airport. I hope they build plenty of condos and some affordable housing and a starbucks and a mall and a used car dealership and a Walmart too. Then I pray to Jesus that we have a 7.0 rendering the west side inaccessible to emergency crews except by horseback. Then people like Natasha and Bob and Ben can suck it.

Aug. 3, 2014, 5:58:55 pm

disgruntled viewer said...

SM needs more affordable housing. Several hundred units could and should be built on this site. Let's open the door to economically challenged ability to live in SM/ Affordable housing @SMO is the answer.

Aug. 3, 2014, 6:39:37 pm

Pilotfarrrt said...

Please close SMO. It is a major health concern. The jet fumes, the noise, the runways too close to thousands of homes. So many valid reasons to shut it down for good. From what I read the land will be used for open space and protected from any development. So we can be assured it will not be a developers dream.

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