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Should Santa Monica Airport Be Closed?

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After the crash yesterday at the Santa Monica Airport that has apparently claimed at least two lives, one City Councilman is calling for the airport to be permanently closed.

Mike Bonin, who represents the 11th District which includes Venice, Marina del Rey and LAX, wrote on his Facebook page this morning: "Last night's crash was just 150 feet from nearby homes. Just 150 feet. There have been more than 80 crashes related to this airport since 1982. Meanwhile, nearby residents are suffering from harmful jet fuel emissions. It is time to shut this airport down."

Bonin posted a link to this LA Times story, in which officials said that the small jet nearly could have easily hit nearby homes, as has happened before.

David Goddard, chairman of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, told the Times that the crash site was about 150 feet from residences. If the plane hadn't hit the hangar, it could have gone up an embankment and gotten over a wall before slamming into homes, he said.

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As it was, only those on board the plane perished in the flames, which were made more intense by jet fuel.

"We've been attempting to get the City Council to reduce operations at the airport," Goddard told The Times. "The [assumed] fatalities were tragic, but I was certainly grateful that it happened on the tarmac ... versus off the end of the runway."

Goddard said as he was driving to his Sunset Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, "we could smell the burning fuel."

Neighborhood advocates were also concerned that the fire could spread to nearby homes, the Times reports.

After a man drove down the Venice Beach boardwalk in a deadly rampage in August, Bonin called for more barriers to be put up to prevent a similar tragedy.

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Related:
Photos, Video: No Survivors After Small Jet Crashes Into Hangar At Santa Monica Airport [UPDATED]
Councilman Wants Tighter Barriers At Site Of Deadly Venice Hit-And-Run