Yesterday afternoon, a World-War-II-era plane made a semi-controlled crash landing on the Penmar Golf Club in Venice after losing power to its engine just after taking off from Santa Monica Airport. It sounds ridiculous, and it is—the airport has been the site of some scary accidents the past few years—but the crazy factor doubled when golfing doctors (!) rushed to help at the scene of the crash and found the pilot was everyone's favorite aging action star, Harrison Ford (!!!). Ford was scuffed up in the crash, but is expected to make a full recovery. The airport might not make it, though.
Local residents have been trying to shut the airport down for ages, citing noise, pollution, and danger as chief concerns; there's also the matter of devoting 227 acres of highly desirable land smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood to storing rich people's dangerous toys. The battle over the airport's future has been raging between well-off homeowners and more well-off plane owners (including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, and hotelier Steve Wynn) for years. The airport's lease is up this July, at which point residents hope to begin the process of shutting the whole thing down. And now airport opponents have seized on the high-profile crash as the last straw.
Last November, the city of Santa Monica voted in favor of Measure LC, which dictates that the airport be turned into a public park or recreational facility if it closes and is redeveloped. At the same time, voters rejected Measure D, which would have required the public to vote on shutting down the airport or otherwise restricting activity there. Ford himself was a donor to Measure D. —Ian Grant
· Harrison Ford plane crash becomes rallying cry from airport's neighbors [Guardian]
· Santa Monica Airport Foes Want To Turn It Into a Park [Curbed LA]