Los Angeles, CA — Today, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez in response to the recent Whiteman Airport accident in Pacoima. The legislation calls for a report on the accident, an environmental analysis establishing the toxic nature of Whiteman’s impact on the surrounding community, a legal review of FAA assurance on all grant agreements and an economic analysis for other potential uses for the site. The Council also approved Councilwoman Rodriguez’s resolution supporting any state or federal legislation to close the airport and mitigate the public safety and health risks. The legislation builds upon her commitment to creating a safer and healthier environment in the 7th Council District.
“Today’s vote in Council is a step toward demanding environmental and economic justice for the residents of Pacoima and the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Rodriguez. “In addition to the obvious safety risk of an airport in a residential area, the many takeoffs and landings each day produce large amounts of toxic pollutants. The residents of the Northeast Valley deserve the same considerations as communities in Santa Monica and I call on the County to make immediate investments and seriously evaluate alternative uses for the property to provide economic opportunity, housing and open space for this community. It’s long past due to deliver substantial economic investment and environmental justice for a community that has borne the burden and no benefit from operations.”
On November 12, 2020, a small plane missed the runway at Whiteman Airport and landed on a nearby residential street. Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration indicates the plane was approaching the runway when it crashed in the adjacent neighborhood, narrowly missing residents. After the plane crash, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez visited affected families and facilitated the Mayor’s Crisis Response Team (CRT) to assist them. The accident is a tragic reminder of the trauma Whiteman Airport imposes on the community of Pacoima; a community that derives no value from its operation, but is subject to all the negative impacts.
“This incident has traumatized my family. Home is not home anymore; now it is a space of fear,” said Margarita Lopez, a Pacoima resident. “Another plane can fall anytime. We deserve our voice to be heard!”
Whiteman Airport is owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works. Its location near the Burbank and Van Nuys airports makes navigating the busy air traffic difficult and complex. The National Transportation Safety Board’s database shows fifteen aviation accidents related to Whiteman Airport since 2009.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez serves as the City’s Chair of Public Safety and represents the 7th Council District in the Northeast San Fernando Valley which include the neighborhoods of Sylmar, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Sunland, Tujunga, North Hills, Shadow Hills, and La Tuna Canyon.