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Newsletter No. 14, Oct. 15, 2022

  • Airport issues on Council agenda.

  • Lohnes and Hohus appointed to Civil Service Commission.

If you care about the problems at Torrance Airport, you should attend the Nov. 8 City Council meeting.


Mike Griffiths asked for a report on the new noise-monitoring system, and it is tentatively set for release on the 1st with that agenda. It will be interesting to see what the report says because many residents are extremely unhappy with the continuing noise.


Part of the problem – but only part – stems from the seven pilot training schools based at the airport. In a seeming effort to upstage Griffiths, at Tuesday’s Council meeting, Aurelio Mattucci asked staff to prepare an ordinance for a temporary moratorium on granting leases to more schools. A surprised Griffiths pointed out that the overall issue was already scheduled, but Mattucci still wanted staff to prepare the ordinance. It’s a waste of staff’s time.


This week the leaders of a Riviera Homeowners Association subgroup sent the Council a copy of a petition signed by more than 800 residents who want to see action on several issues. Some signers live far beyond the Riviera, indicating the scope of the problem.

The group also has snail-mailed a well-designed tri-fold flyer to thousands of residents in the affected area. If you didn’t get a copy, you can see it online, https://hollywoodriviera.org/torrance-airport-issues/ .


The residents’ main concerns and proposals:

· Lack of Torrance Municipal Code enforcement. TMC 52.7.3 bans repeated noise violators, but the City is failing to bar them.


· Switch to fines rather than meaningless hand-slapping. In Santa Monica, the fines start at $2,000 for the second infraction, followed by $5,000 and $10,000. The fifth offense comes with suspension or revocation of privileges or permits. For 2018, Torrance’s violation rate was more than 4 times higher than Santa Monica (2.6 violations per 1,000 operations vs 0.6 violations per 1,000 operations).


· The TMC limits aircraft noise (to 82dB maximum or 88 dB Senel) anywhere outside the airport boundaries. The City needs more monitors and/or better placement of the current seven noise monitors. Pilots can navigate between the current gaps.


· Non-Torrance-based aircraft don’t pay to use the airport. In 2020, staff reported that landing fees for all planes could net as much as $642,000 annually.


· The airport now has seven training schools that are creating a variety of problems the committee will delineate on the 8th. Besides questions regarding the legality of a limitation, the issues involving the schools are much deeper than their number.


· Ban leaded fuel.


How did we get to this point? Most of you have read earlier newsletters detailing the airport’s history. For newer subscribers, let me know if you would like to receive those newsletters.


The current situation began in September 2020 when Aurelio Mattucci, whose constituents are most impacted by these issues, made a motion not to renew the noise-monitoring system then in place. George Chen seconded his motion and it passed 4 to 2. Griffiths and then-Mayor Pat Furey voted against it, saying one system shouldn’t end without another in its place.


With no way to hold pilots accountable, the problem exploded. Angry residents wanted to know why the Council ended one system without looking for a new one to be installed. Finally, after two years with no enforcement, the Casper system was approved and went online on Aug. 15.


When two seats opened on the Airport Commission, Griffiths asked to extend the appointment period to draw more nonpilot candidates. He has consistently championed residents while Mattucci has worked against their interests.


It may not come up on the 8th, but some residents are suggesting changes to the purviews of the Airport and Environmental Commissions. The changes would limit the Airport commissioners to dealing with matters of the physical airport and would make the Environmental commissioners advisers to the Mayor and City Council on noise issues.


Future actions will tell us which council members are paying attention to residents’ needs, and which are catering to the pilots’ desires.


Before I go:


· The petition was turned in this week, but on Nov. 8, the City Council will be presented with an updated copy. So if you have been meaning to sign it, there is still time. Go to https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition-to-reduce-torrance-airport-impacts-now



· Nov. 8 may be a busier evening if the Alameda homeowner’s appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial returns to the City Council agenda.


· The Council filled the two Civil Service openings Tuesday, appointing Laura Lohnes to the seat expiring in 2024 and Julie Kohus to the one ending in 2023. Various letter writers praised both. Lohnes, the City’s retired Civil Service manager, received written encomiums from previous Civil Service Commission chairs Marla Shwarts, Rowan FoxWood and Reva Skoll.




· If you live in District 2, you can meet Bridgett Lewis, your new councilmember, this Wednesday at 7 p.m. either virtually or at Bert Lynn Middle School, 5038 Halison St. West Torrance and Southwood Homeowners Associations are sponsoring it. You need to register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_flU29eNgQqCcEUBGtlL4ow.



· Want to tell the City Council your opinion? Send it to CouncilMeetingPublicComment@TorranceCA.gov before 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting and it will be included in the supplemental material. If you just want to express an opinion on something, email CityCouncil@TorranceCA.gov. If you are discussing an agenda item, however, put Public Comment in the subject line.

Jean Adelsman

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