Angry over the lifting of the nighttime curfew on takeoffs from Lindbergh Field after the Super Bowl, some San Diego residents say they will form picket lines at the airport or try to aggravate delays at the passenger terminals Sunday night by adding to the anticipated traffic jam.
Plans for the protest represent a backlash by some of the 75,000 residents living around the airport against the San Diego Unified Port District's recent decision to lift the 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. curfew for one night. The dispensation was granted to allow charters and private planes bearing Super Bowl revelers to depart anytime Sunday night or Monday morning.
But the port's action has been condemned by the residents, who have long complained of the noise made by the departing planes. Among them has been former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock, who has bewailed the plan on his popular morning radio talk show on KSDO.
In addition, there have been at least two calls for direct protests as Super Bowl guests are rushing to go home.
Picket Line Planned
The United Agency for Fair Treatment is calling on angry residents to form a picket line in front of Jimsair Aviation Service, the company handling the fueling, cleaning and maintenance of the fleet of private jets and charters in town for the Super Bowl. The company is located on the north end of the airport on Pacific Coast Highway.
Dan Russell, a 45-year-old San Diego firefighter who is a spokesman for the group, said Friday he hopes the picket line goes up at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Russell said that pickets will hand out flyers to departing corporate executives urging them to "think about when they come back to San Diego . . . whether it wouldn't be more reasonable to schedule their trip so that they leave at a reasonable hour."
Russell also said he didn't know how many people would respond to the last-minute call for a picket line.
A second form of protest is being called for by an anonymous group that has mailed out and affixed flyers to utility poles in the Loma Portal area.
The flyers urge angry residents to "send a message" to the Port District.
"Load your families and friends into the car and just drive through the airport a few times," the flyer reads. "Let the Port Commissioners know that the people of San Diego are serious about their peace and quiet. Take your message to the street. . . ."
While the flyers do not say so directly, the intent of the protest is clear--exacerbate traffic problems at the airport when congestion is expected to be the heaviest. Airport officials have said they expect ground traffic delays of one to three hours for departing travelers.
Sympathizes With Protests
Nancy Palmtag, spokeswoman for the Airport Coalition, said she sympathizes with both protests but that Sunday night she will be sitting in her Loma Portal home, about 1 1/2 miles from the airport runway.
"I'm going to stay home and pay attention to what it is like because this is what we believe is a taste of things to come," said Palmtag. "I myself want to know what it is going to be like, because I might decide I can't live with it."
Palmtag said air traffic at Lindbergh is expected to double over the next five years--from 9 million to 18 million passengers annually.
The Super Bowl, she said, could serve as a foreshadowing of what may become routine after the waterfront convention center opens in 1989. If the airport is not moved, there will be pressure to curtail the curfew on takeoffs at Lindbergh, she said.
"We are gearing up for the 21st Century," said Palmtag. "When the convention center is completed and the city is going to take over responsibility for running it and having to pay the bills, they're going to have to fill up that convention center.
"They (city officials) are going to want the Republican convention or the Democratic convention, as many as they can get in here," she said.