Countywide : Drive Against El Toro Airport Well Funded

More than $457,000 has been raised to support Measure S, which will go before voters in March and would block efforts to build a commercial airport at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, according to campaign reports filed Wednesday.

A spokesman for Taxpayers for Responsible Planning, the key committee backing Measure S, said the funds will help the campaign reach out to voters using radio, cable television, newspaper advertising and mailings.

"We're going to be doing all those things to get the message across," said co-chairman Bill Kogerman.

While the vast majority of donations come from residents and businesses in the area, the campaign got a generous boost from residents in Leisure World in Laguna Hills, who have contributed more than $250,000.

In conjunction with Taxpayers for Responsible Planning, the Repeal Measure A! campaign has raised more than $20,000 to concentrate on convincing Irvine voters to oppose the airport.

Meanwhile, an appeals court this week refused to become involved in the legal squabble over Measure S. "We're thrilled," said Bert Hack, another co-chairman of Taxpayers for Responsible Planning. "Now the voters will decide."

Proponents of a commercial airport had asked the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana to reverse a Superior Court's decision to keep Measure S on the March ballot. Critics had contended Measure S did not meet legal requirements.

"We're disappointed," said attorney Darryl R. Wold, who represents airport backers. "We felt there were issues that cast considerable doubt about the legality of the qualification" for the ballot.

County voters in 1994 narrowly endorsed Measure A, which called for a commercial airport when the military stops using the base by 1999. Supporters say an airport will boost the economy and bring jobs.

Critics, who believe an airport will bring traffic, noise and pollution, are backing rival Measure S.

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