Randomly Chosen Panel Should Guide Airport’s Future, Officials Say


“September 25, 2023 — The future of Santa Monica Airport should be hammered out — not by the usual community activists and civic volunteers — but by randomly selected “everyday people,” City officials told the City Council Monday.

The information item from top Public Works officials proposes using a democratic lottery to “engage new residents through a randomized selection process,” instead of relying on “the same self-selected individuals.”

After meeting in person for six weekends over the course of some nine months starting next fall, the panel would make recommendations to the Council for the 227-acre site that under a 2017 agreement with the FAA would cease to operate as an airport at the end of 2028.

The panel will be charged with what City officials have said “is likely to be the most transformative urban planning event of the century for the City” (“Airport Plan Takes Off,” Airport Plan Takes Off,” January 25, 2023).

The lottery system — which is not common in North America — “would result in a panel that demands broad demographic representation, and minimizes the influence of special interests,” said the report from Public Works Director Rick Valte.”

Read the full article here.