LA Times- Letter to the editor

@TheCityMaven tweet

@TheCityMaven tweet

Saturday’s NextGen Rally received coverage from KCAL and KCBS and also a piece by the LA Times (and Culver City Crossroads.)

The LA Times article is well written, researched and coherent. The reporter has succinctly summarized the issues surrounding the 2012 change in aircraft flights over Culver City. She has also combined a sample of the City’s research data with a pithy quote from council-member Meghan Sahli-Wells: “Our ears and our eyes and our neighbors don’t lie.”

I am very appreciative that this issue has received some coverage. Admittedly the #NoFlyDay rally had multiple purposes but one can’t help but notice that something is missing in the coverage: The NextGen concerns aren’t mentioned. Maybe this should be looked at as “baby steps.”

I sent off an appreciative letter to the enterprising LA Times reporter @TheCityMaven, favorited her tweet and followed her feed. Then I sent off this quick letter to the editor.

Over 1.1 million people will be impacted by an increase in aircraft noise due to the rollout of the FAA’s SoCal NextGen proposal. In Sunday’s “Culver City residents say noise from LAX flights is on the Rise” you’ve succinctly summarized the 2012 change in aircraft flights over Culver City but have missed the bigger picture issue which the #NoFlyDay rally was organized to expose.

Almost all communities between Santa Barbara, San Diego and Palm Springs will be impacted by proposed NextGen changes. Many communities are going to be hit much harder than Culver City. Culver City is just one community that took part in Sunday’s nationwide protest against NextGen.

The FAA has stated that NextGen will:
“reduce fuel consumption, aircraft emissions and noise over many neighborhoods,”

But this isn’t what their own research shows about the SoCal implementation:
There will be increase of fuel use by 8 metric tons (MT), and increase of CO2 emissions by 27 MT in the first year alone.

The FAA’s promise of reduced noise also doesn’t fly:

  1. 8.6 million people will experience an increase of aircraft noise.
  2. Some communities will have noise increases up to 9dB DNL. But due to these occurring under the FAA’s threshold, these are not being called “significant.”
  3. In Culver City the late-night flight path will be lowered 1000 ft. The FAA’s day-long metric averages thousands of ambient aircraft noise sources- but fails to represent how the noise from those individual planes, flying lower over our homes, late at night, will be louder. Despite what this number may be in modeling, people on the ground know that lower equals louder.

By eliminating noise abatement procedures, lowering and narrowing flight paths, NextGen procedures are bringing more planes closer to the ground and concentrating noise pathways

The FAA may be just following procedures but that doesn’t mean those procedures are “just” or correct. NextGen, as implemented by the FAA, carries disproportionate burdens to people on the ground.

(My LTE to the Culver City Crossroads is substantially the same- and it was published)

Thank you LA Times for exploring this topic. This omission of NextGen is understandable. Having been talking to people and briefing elected officials on the nuances I understand how this can move into potentially messy details. The FAA doesn’t make it any easier to understand or communicate about this difficult subject. There have been very few reporters who have ventured into the depths.

I look forward to the LA Times carrying this forward in greater depth to the 19 million people affected by the SoCal NextGen changes.

As the article’s final line summarizes with a quote by June Lehrman, Culver City’s first rep to the LAX Community Noise Roundtable and organizer of the #NoFlyDay rally: “We’re not going anywhere and we’re not going away, we’re not going to go down without a fight.”