Community Organizes Against FAA

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Category: Community News
Published on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 15:49
Written by Amy M. Carnes
OCT17MT3 Monday night usually isn’t the most productive night of the week. You might celebrate surviving the beginning of another work week with a nice glass of wine on your porch or curl up with a nice book on your deck. Less and less West Adams residents are able to enjoy these simple pleasures since April 2017, when a new FAA program called NextGen has concentrated most planes landing at LAX to very low altitudes flying over the area. Dozens of concerned citizens from the West Adams area gathered on Monday August 28 to strategize how to minimize the noise pollution that is causing them to suffer; instead of relaxing in their yards, they were huddled together to plan for the community’s future.

OCT17mt6The meeting, convened by local residents Dianne Lawrence, Gavin Abercrombie, and Jim Mangia brought local and federal level political representatives into dialogue with the community. 

Gavin Abercrombie and Dianne V. Lawrence

OCT17mt2Jeff Camp, LA City Council President Herb Wesson’s Deputy, shared the active role the Councilman has adopted with respect to this issue, and urged residents to continue to hold their officials accountable. He also affirmed city officials’ coordination with federal representatives, including Senator Feinstein and Congresswoman Karen Bass. 

Jeff Camp addresses the community

For her part, Congresswoman Bass has assigned a staffer to this issue, who also attended the meeting. Jacqueline Hamilton reported on the Congresswoman’s dedication to this issue, highlighting her role on the House Quiet Skies Caucus and her introduction of twelve amendments related to noise in the FAA Reauthorization Act. Bass also plans to convene a community conversation in the Los Angeles area in the coming months related to airport noise. 

Jacqueline Hamilton

OCT17mt7Lawrence, Abercrombie and Mangia also invited legal counsel to brief the group. Pasadena-based lawyer Mitch Sy laid out the potential for a legal challenge to FAA’s NextGen program based on environmental justice. The new flight path concentrates flights over economically disadvantaged communities, and this could open a pathway to litigation against the FAA. Additional legal options were also discussed, and the need for fundraising in order to pursue this was a major source of discussion and strategizing. 
Mitch Sy

OCT17mt4 2Guest speakers from other communities also shared wisdom and words of advice with the group. Robert Ackerman, a member of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC) offered insight into the challenges of communities resisting FAA policies. His experience working with his Westchester community to fight the LAX expansion taught him one crucial lesson: noise pollution “isn’t a NIMBY issue, it’s a quality of life issue.” 

Robert Ackerman

This quality of life issue has galvanized the community and built bridges across many different groups of people. At least two neighborhood councils were represented UnitedNeighborhoods Neighborhood Council and North Area Neighborhood Development Council. Long-time residents and newly settled residents, speakers of different languages from different walks of life, couples who have been married for decades and young couples – everyone came ready to dedicate themselves to the betterment of the community.

Editors Update, Oct 11: 

Out of this meeting came the creation of the Action Alert Committee and the Action Alert Network. The Committee meets to plan actions for the community and the Network is made up of 83 and counting neighbors who might not have time to go to meetings but are willing to act on the suggestions of the committee. To date 66 people took the action to flood Senator Kamala Harris's office with phone calls asking her to state her position and the actions she is willing to take to move legislation forward.  So far she has remained silent  But she did send a representative to the townhall meeting that Representative Karen Bass organized for Oct 7.  (report coming soon) 109 people  from the Network, Nextdoor and the West Adams for Quiet Skies facebook page also sent emails to the Mayor, Council President Wesson and Councilperson Marqueese Dawson encouraging them to file a lawsuit.  These emails are credited with motivating the Mayor to send a rep to the same meeting. The Action Network participants also sent comments to the FAA site. They are considering creating an altitude of 6,000 ft at something called the GADDO waypoint at Normandy and Jefferson. This is an identifiable physical site for pilots to refer to. This will raise the altitude in communities west of Normandy to 6,000. Currently its averaging 3,000 feet and lower. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and put 
"PUT ME ON THE LIST" in the subject line. 

Representative BASS also made a valiant attempt on the Hill to get amendments regarding the noise included in the 2017 FAA Reauthorization package but Republicans blocked the possibility of any amendments. She is trying to see if she can get them passed as stand alone bills. 

She has also organized the above mentioned, packed house community meeting on Oct 7, with  Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and a who's who list of agencies. (report to come) Kudo's to Representative Bass!
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