Comparing El Toro's Noise Levels

Not everyone living in Irvine is against an El Toro airport, as many of your letters indicate. In fact, the number of Irvine voters who voted for Measure A in 1994 provided the margin that carried the vote in Orange County. Recently, the Irvine Chamber of Commerce came out against Measure S, and I for one resent the squandering of Irvine taxpayer revenue to push Measure S.

Orange County needs an airport with international flights and competitive air fares. Right now every flight out of John Wayne costs more than a comparable flight out of LAX. An El Toro airport would allow Orange County residents access to more destinations without going through the hassle of driving to and parking at LAX.

As for noise, the loudest commercial airliner is quieter than any military aircraft flying out of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. If the Irvine city fathers are so concerned about noise, why haven't they done something about the Marine helicopters, which have rattled our walls and windows each and every day for over 10 years? No commercial plane flying out of El Toro will ever create vibrations like that in Irvine.

RAY UHLER

Irvine

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* It seems there's a simple solution to the El Toro site dilemma, at least one I haven't heard about. The government doesn't seem to care which bases it closes. Why not take a few miles of Camp Pendleton large enough to accommodate an international airport capable of all the air traffic requirements (passenger and cargo) for all of Orange and San Diego counties combined? I'm sure San Diego would like to rid itself of Lindbergh Field, and Newport Beach to solve its "problem" with John Wayne.

Flights out of Orange/Diego International Airport could take off over the ocean and not bother anyone. Let's face it--Camp Pendleton can't hold on to that land forever. Once the developers get a foothold on that land, look out!

RENE P. FOURNIER

Laguna Hills

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* In the story on the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority ("They're Defying Authority by Maintaining It," Feb. 24), Mission Viejo City Manager Dan Joseph states, " . . . the citizens of Mission Viejo are unquestionably opposed to the location of an airport at El Toro."

What am I missing? What does he think has been there for nearly 50 years?

DEANE BOTTORF

Corona Del Mar

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* I live in Buena Park and fly about four or five times a year for pleasure and about once a month on business. My career is in the aerospace industry, and in addition I am an amateur pilot. I have flown out of LAX, John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario. I suspect my residency, flight activity and occupation should indicate that I would be in favor of an El Toro airport.

Based on my knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration regulations and observations of all airports, it is my estimation that about 50% more flights could be made from John Wayne legally, without the need to change the bizarre noise abatement takeoff procedures employed there. I'm sure that employment of normal takeoff procedures would allow the use of larger (and, unfortunately for the local residents, noisier) equipment. I must conclude that, at least for the near to intermediate future, Orange County's airport expansion needs could be very adequately served, at an amazingly small cost and without using up valuable additional real estate, by improving flight operations efficiency at John Wayne. This would cause the residents near John Wayne, rather than those near El Toro, to suffer the noise. Oh well.

MARTIN MINNICH

Buena Park

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* I have just finished reading the report titled "Opportunities for Commercial Aviation Development at MCAS El Toro," prepared for the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority and dated Feb. 29.

I was quite disappointed. A better title would have been, "What does it take to block the consideration of a commercial airport at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro?" I would suggest that the people of South County read this document to see how your representatives are wasting your tax dollars.

I am not going to critique the entire report, but let me give you an example of what lengths these people have gone to justify their numbers. To come up with the $2-billion to $2.5-billion cost for the new airport, they would propose adding a new runway 3,400 feet to the west of the existing north-south runway.

As they put it, "Unfortunately, most if not all of the existing El Toro runway and taxiway facilities would have to be knocked down and torn out to accommodate this configuration, along with some buildings."

No one in their wildest dreams has ever considered tearing up 2.8-million square yards of aviation-grade concrete worth roughly $100 million, not even the planning authority's previous consultant, who did the operational commercial analysis using the existing runways.

Orange County, wake up and pay attention to what is going on. The County of Orange federally recognized Local Redevelopment Authority, together with the 13-member citizens advisory committee and the consultants, are doing an excellent job of evaluating the reuse of the 4,700 acres at El Toro and involving the citizens of the county. What can you do? Vote no on Measure S and keep the current meaningful studies in process.

TOM NAUGHTON

Newport Beach

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* Lost in all the dialogue about the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station is, in my opinion, the lack of foresight for an untapped use of the land that could be a real cash cow for the Orange County area. Why hasn't anyone proposed a truly international golf center for the land use?

In 1993, Orange County ranked 309th out of 321 U.S. metropolitan areas in population per hole for private and public golf courses. With nearly 3 million golfers in California, plus a huge contingent of foreign golfers arriving daily, 365 days a year, not to consider this option for use of the El Toro land space would be a disservice to the taxpayers of Orange County. Golf fee projections for 18-hole course use will exceed $50 nationally due to player demand growth.

It seems that five new courses, designed by the likes of Gary Dye, Arnold Palmer or Tom Fazio, in different styles, could have both international appeal year-round, and wind up being a huge draw for hotels, restaurants and the like. Add a first-class driving range, 18-hole executive learning course, 18-hole putting course, plus a large tournament design clubhouse and you have the making for a real PGA Tour setting.

What would be lost by looking at an environmentally suitable use for this land with all its contamination than a truly first-class golf center to be added to the El Toro Marine Golf Course?

WARREN K. GOETZE

Mission Viejo

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