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In the Chair: Measure D vs. Measure LC [Video]

Watch as our chairman and longtime Sunset Park resident, John Fairweather, dispells the lies and distortions by Measure D spokesperson, Christian Fry. More information and updated versions of the charts that John shows in the video are below.

Only 2% of Measure D’s funding is coming from local, non-aviation sources:


This out-of-town and pro-aviation Funding for Measure D accounts for a whopping 57% of ALL fundraising for the November election, including all City Council Candidates, all other PAC spending, and other ballot measures!:


See here for a detailed document describing all the airport myths and facts.

Fry’s Lies

Lie #1: “Developers are behind Measure LC.”

1:30 – “powerful forces are behind plans to close the airport and have its air space protections removed…”
8:50 – “…one of LCs largest contributors is one of the biggest developers in this city…”
9:15 – “the developers are behind LC because they want this land…develop 43 square miles of Westside with high rise buildings….”

Here we see measure D’s basic game plan – Fear Uncertainty and Doubt plus a fake anti-development name (Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions) to fool people.  Measure D was designed to piggyback on people’s legitimate outrage at development in this City, as exemplified by Residocracy, and so camouflage its true purpose, which is to continue the gray train of city subsidies and expand the jetport without any interference.  Residocracy endorses measure LC and opposes D, as do other anti-development groups (see below).  To conduct that deception, D proponents must continually accuse measure LC supporters of being somehow in league with developers.  This is a ridiculous assertion.  Measure LC is entirely composed of local community activists who are opposed to development.  LC has received just one donation from any entity that could be construed as a ‘developer’, and that represents far less than 10% of all our funding.  In reality measure D has received more funding from known developers that measure LC has received in total.  This is not about developers.

The allusion to ‘air space protections’ is one of the baseless fears that D proponents use to scare people into voting their way.  The claim is that the airport creates a protective ‘bubble’ that keeps LAX jets from skimming Santa Monica hedgerows.  Like all such scary consequences they have rustled up, this is completely baseless as you can see here.

The allusion to the development of tall buildings is another one of D proponents favorite fears to put into people’s mind.  It too has no basis in fact – see here for details.

Lie #2: “Measure  D is simple and honest.”

1:43 – “Measure D is simple and honest… leaves all future decisions with voters & not politicians”
3:10 – “Measure D is very simple…puts the voters in charge…and exactly what form that redevelopment would take…”
7:00 – “its very simple…measure D gives voters the power…and if so what development is done”

Repetition of a falsehood while claiming it’s simple is a standard neuro-linguistic-programming trick to make those confused do what you want.  Mr. Fry is using that trick.  If this was so ‘simple’ and ‘straightforward’, why have out-of-state lobbyists spent nearly a million dollars trying to support it? And more importantly why has every single organization that has looked at this matter endorsed a YES on LC, and NO on D vote?  Examples include:

Airport2Park, The Argonaut, Ballona Institute , Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic (CASMAT), Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP), Friends of Sunset Park Board of Directors, Grant Elementary School PTA, Green Party of Los Angeles County, League of Women Voters of Santa Monica , Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, North of Montana Association Board, Northeast Neighbors Board, Mar Vista Community Council, No Jets Santa Monica Airport, Ocean Park Association, Pico Neighborhood Association, Residocracy Advisory Board, Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs, Santa Monica Democratic Club, Santa Monica Next, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR), Santa Monica Spoke, Sierra Club, Sunset Park Anti-Airport, Venice Environmental Alliance, Veterans for Peace – LA Chapter, West of Westwood Homeowners Association, Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition.

Measure D has ZERO organizational endorsements, not one after nearly a million dollars of trying.  Quite clearly to anyone who takes the time look into the measures, the ‘D’ in Measure D stands for ‘Deception’, and with a 100% history of failure to get endorsed, that is the only thing about D that is ‘simple’.

Lie #3: “A simple majority of voters.”

3:30 – “Language of D is incredibly straightforward…a simple majority of voters…”
5:45 – “define voter approval as simple majority…LC gives no vote at all…”
7:10 – “this idea of supermajority…been disproved by 3 state judges and City attorney…its a simple majority, defined in our language…”
13:30 – “Measure D gives voters most control over what happens to that property…”
15:00 – “the ridiculous assertion that measure D requires other than a simple majority…”

Here is what the League of Women voters had to say about the voter approval issue.  There are countless others that have come to the same conclusion: Measure D is a con, and the core of that con is the deceptive definition of voter approval.  Measure D does not contain the word “development” anywhere within its operative language, and as such it clearly cannot provide any protection over what happens to the property if closed. Measure D proponents would have us believe that the aviation lobby has spent nearly a million dollars, most from out of state, because they are such nice guys they want to give us the right to vote, and they want to protect us from development.  In fact they are taking away not only the Council’s power, but they are also removing any possibility that the people can actually vote to change anything.

The meaning of the deceptive sentence in measure D that redefines voter approval has not been litigated in court, and it will inevitably have to be if it passes.  When it is, courts tend to favor the language of the ballot, not any external agreements or statements that may have been made.  If that is the case, there is only one way to parse that language – see here – and the result is no vote for the people, and no power for the council – a complete and total land grab by the aviation lobby.

Lie #4: “Without voter approval.”

5:00 – “…Without Voter Approval…7 politicians…all control to CC…no vote…”
12:50 – “Measure LC buries the language very deceptively…”
17:25 – “Measure LC is the politician’s counter to D..”
17:55 – “There is no vote in LC…”
13:15 – “…and the replacement of all the arts, cultural, & educational facilities…w/o voter approval”
20:45 – “And they can also start the redevelopment tomorrow on all the non aviation land…”

Nothing in this list has any relationship whatsoever with the truth.  Our system of representative democracy gives the Council power to manage City facilities such as the police force, the fire department, the Big Blue Bus, etc.  The airport is one such facility, and the first sentence of measure LC is there purely to negate and cancel out the language in measure D that would seize that managerial power away.  Measure D envisages a world where the City can no longer control the airport because it takes a general election (i.e., once every 2 years) to do anything.  Imagine if that idea were floated for any other City service – it is absolutely ridiculous.  It is this managerial power that measure D supporters deceptively mis-quote with their fatuous claims of closure and redevelopment “without voter approval”. Measure LC mandates no re-development unless there is voter approval.

Measure LC was brought into being through collaboration between the Council and the community.  Because it contains an unprecedented relinquishing of power by the Council to the people, City staff repeatedly suggested other language that removed this provision and retained development power with the City.  To their credit, the council repeatedly sent staff’s language back to them until it was abundantly clear that all such power rested with the community.  The result was measure LC.  The only exceptions to this is as follows:

However, this section shall not prohibit the City Council from approving the following on Airport land that has been permanently closed to aviation use: the development of parks, public open spaces, and public recreational facilities; and the maintenance of existing cultural, arts and education uses.

If you read this, those are all the things the community wants and needs.  In other words if people simply vote down any plans the City submits that are for anything else, then what we get is land exclusively dedicated to “parks, public open spaces, and public recreational facilities; and the maintenance of existing cultural, arts and education uses.”  Exactly what we all want.  Its a once in a lifetime opportunity!   And that word “existing” is critical because it expressly forbids the kind of development Mr. Fry alludes to in his 13:15 lie.

As to the re-development of existing non-aviation land, that land has never been under any restrictions since it was released to the City in 1984, and yet as well all know full well, it remains exclusively in use for arts and cultural purposes. The council has been able to re-develop that land for over 30 years and yet it has not happened!

Lie #5: “The sky’s the limit for developers.”

8:45 – “…what do pilots get if they get if D wins, the continued operation of the airport…”
17:40 – “What do pilots get if D passes…the airport, What do developers get if LC passes…the sky’s the limit”

What do pilots get?  They get to increase jet traffic without limit (which is a large part of what this is about), they get to continue to freeze rents at 15 cents per square foot and reap millions of dollars each year by sub-leasing to non-aviation tenants, they will prevent the city from mitigating airport impacts by for example banning leaded fuel, they get to flaunt voluntary curfews and limits on hours because the city no longer has the power to manage the airport, they get to sue the City for anything they don’t like the sound of.  Bottom line, they get to keep their jetport and make a bundle of money because we the taxpayers of the City will be forced to continue subsidizing them by up to $8 million a year – money that would be far better spent elsewhere.

What do developers get? Absolutely nothing! The language of measure LC completely forbids development on airport land now or in the future unless the voters approve it, and we are not going to do that. The airport may well be the only patch of land in the City that is fully and permanently protected from development in the charter as a result of measure LC passing.  Nobody in CLCSMAL is on either the planning commission or the Council; there is no tie between LC and developers, exactly the opposite in fact.

More insidiously, if D passes in November, it will have proved the premise that to seize total control of a chunk of Santa Monica land, even one wholly owned by the people, all you need is $1 million and 6 months of lies.  There are plenty of developers out there with that kind of funding, and we can expect to see their ballot initiatives appearing next election cycle if D passes and proves it can be done.  This argument isn’t about the airport any more, its about if Santa Monica is for sale to lobbyist money.  This why we must defeat now, or live citywide with the consequences of failing to do so.

Lie #6: “The airport is safe.”

10:45 – “we’ve already made huge advances towards greenest, safest, quietest airport…”
20:10 – “The airport meets every state and federal environmental standard…”

Santa Monica Airport’s safety record is not good and is getting worse.  70% of all fatalities associated with the airport have occurred since the year 2,000.

The City offered a voluntary muffler rebate program to mitigate noise impacts – no takers in all this time.

Many studies have shown that SMO poses all kinds of health hazards to the surrounding communities.  See here, here, here,  and here for examples.

The very concept of a ‘green’ airport is an oxymoron.  That 160 acres of concrete generates 60 million gallons of runoff each year, causes a 2-3 degree heat island from surface heating, aviation activities as SMO burn 2.5 million gallons of fuel each year resulting in 50 million pounds of C02, and the use of leaded fuel at SMO deposits 1,438 pounds of lead over surrounding areas each year.

Lie #7: “The airport is good for Santa Monica’s economy.”

11:09 – “Finally start taking 10’s of millions of federal money available…”
20:18 – “we can continue to improve that with the federal money that the City has refused…”
11:15 – “Contributing even more than the $270 million airport contributes annually now…”
20:00 – “The airport is currently operating in the black and will continue to do so…”

Every time you take money from the FAA, you are obligated to maintain the airport as an airport for 20 years thereafter.  That is why the City does not take their money.

This ridiculous claim about the beneficial economic impact has been disproven so many times and by so many people that we’ve lost count.  Here are just a few links on the subject:

The airport runway is currently in need of repairs at a likely cost to the City of maybe $750,000.  The poor condition of the runway is largely responsible for the fact that SMO must be closed every time there is a major earthquake.  This and other pending airport expenses and management decisions are all on hold while this debate goes on.  These vast capital expenses will overwhelm the revenue generated from the new landing fees, and put the airport firmly in the red (as usual).  To date this maintenance reality has caused the airport to build up a debt of $13.5 million to the City’s general fund.  The airport loses money, and it negatively impacts the surrounding economy.  If measure D passes these losses will continue to mount uncontrollably.

Lie #8: “We’re not lying to voters.”

12:40 – “I do not think lobbyist money will be the deciding factor in who wins…”
16:55 – “The fact is Measure D mailers are absolutely 100% accurate…”
17:10 – “Measure D was brought forward with 15,000 signatures…we have a mandate from the people
21:00 – “I’m not lying to voters, you are…”

Mr. Fry’s statement that he does not believe lobbyist funding will impact the election is clearly belied by the vast quantity of money being spent by the aviation lobby.  Quite clearly he and his associates believe lobbyist funding and the deceptive campaign it finances, is the only way that they are going to slip measure D past the electorate.

Measure D’s mailers not only include all of the lies listed above which are easily disproved, but they also include lists of a purported 700 supporters in Santa Monica.  Those active in the community can only recognize a handful of names. We reached out to those people, and found that they were unaware that their name had been used, that they did not in fact support measure D and were voting for LC, and in many cases that they were outraged their names had been used in this way.  A couple of these people actually filed formal complaints with the City Clerk and with the Office of Fair Political Practices.  A number of others wrote letters to the press denouncing this deceit.   The mailers also include pictures of people implying that they are members of neighborhood groups, in fact they are not.

Measure D ultimately finished up paying $20 a signature to paid signature gatherers to get their 15,000 signatures, many of which were invalid.  We have sworn affidavits from many people testifying that they were lied to by the gatherers in order to get them to sign.  An unprecedented number of people actually rescinded their signatures.  Many signed thinking the measure was put forward by the City Council and that it was designed to close the airport – as they were told by the gatherers.

As to the “I’m not lying claim” … as the list above clearly shows, that is pretty much all Mr Fry is doing!

Vote YES on LC, NO on D and let’s send these liars packing!

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