In case there was any doubt before, it is now abundantly clear that the Orange County supervisors (except perhaps Tom Riley) have absolutely no understanding or compassion for the residents of Santa Ana Heights, Newport Beach and east Costa Mesa, who must put up with the irritation, anguish, frustration and continuing degradation of their quality of life and property generated by the ever-increasing jet flights from John Wayne Airport.
The board's decision on Dec. 18 to allocate previously "unused" flights and thus cause a dramatic increase in flights over the next three months was totally unnecessary, as it was neither mandated by the settlement agreement, nor were the airlines currently at the airport about to file lawsuits over flight allocations with only three months left in the "airport year." In my opinion, the supposed threat of litigation that promoted this decision was all in the imagination of the county's airport attorney.
However, this decision by the supervisors is a valuable lesson because it demonstrates for the world to see just how callous they can be. Also, it is going to give us residents a preview of air traffic in 1990, when the airport settlement allows the number of passengers to almost double from current levels; and when there could be as many as 100 takeoffs in a single day, depending on aircraft types in use, load factors and time of the year. One hundred takeoffs per day is, on the average, one takeoff every nine minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.!
Back in August, when the City Council of Newport Beach was debating the proposed airport settlement with the county, Councilman Don Strauss warned his fellow council members that signing the agreement "may well be seriously damaging to our city." How right he was! He just didn't know that he was going to be right quite so soon!