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El Toro Airport Divides Readers

* Your El Toro series and May 25 article regarding the divisiveness between the North and South of Orange County is very much on target.

If an airport is imposed on south Orange County, every time we hear a plane or drive on a crowded freeway or have a smoggy day we will remember what north Orange County did to us. Parents will tell their children, and it will be a long time before the animosity is gone.

JACK HEILPERN

Laguna Hills

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* Wham! Bam! Send The Times to the penalty box for a major penalty.

We knew The Times hated El Toro Airport, and now the highly biased Baldassare survey has been headlined to show the bias. Baldassare loves parks and museums, but never saw an airport he loved yet.

How come Orange Countians voted nearly 60% in favor of El Toro the last time we went to the polls on this one?

BOB WOLFF

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Newport Beach

* The May 26 articles under the headline, “Where Will Orange County Land in 2020?” are both biased and misleading.

The articles are split into two sections, “with” and “without” a new airport, to imply an unbiased account of both sides of the argument. The articles, however, present both sides from a pro-airport perspective.

The “with” side is much longer and presents a very positive economic spin without calling into question the studies used to make these claims. The “with” side also downplayed the very negative potential impact to the surrounding communities.

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On the “without” side, you listed many of the positive claims of the alternative plan and then called every positive claim into question as not having studied the issue adequately or dismissed the viability of that portion of the project.

The political campaign regarding the reuse plan of the El Toro base is the nastiest, most misleading campaign I have witnessed.

Neither side has been immune from mudslinging, but the information that has arrived in my mailbox on the pro-airport side has been particularly false and misleading propaganda.

Unfortunately, George Argyros has personally contributed a tremendous amount of money to be able to outspend the antiairport community in the south.

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He bought the past elections long before the issue had been adequately studied and alternative development plans could be offered.

JAMES H. McNAMARA

Lake Forest

* I was amazed to see Supervisor Charles V. Smith’s reaction to the recent survey results, which show that Orange County residents prefer the nonairport Millennium Plan over any airport alternative (May 24).

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His suggestion that the preference is due to South County PR spending artfully sidesteps the fact that he has repeatedly approved spending county resources to try to convince voters that an airport plan has some shred of legitimacy.

In the ultimate irony, I find myself fighting my own tax dollars in trying to prevent what I consider to potentially be the biggest mistake in the history of the county (even bigger than the bankruptcy).

My advice to Smith is to stop spending my money on something I’m against, stop spending his own district’s money on something residents there don’t really care too much about, and start spending money on issues that his district does care about, like streets and job creation.

Maybe then he can truly call himself a “public servant.”

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GREG PETERSON

Laguna Hills

* According to the recent Times Orange County Poll, voters in Orange County are equally divided on whether they prefer the concept of an airport at El Toro.

Supervisor Charles V. Smith indicated the county needed to better inform the public about the need for and advantages of an airport, especially realizing antiairport activists have actively promoted their cause.

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I agree with Smith. Having attended an information meeting in which both sides superbly presented their plans, I walked away deciding the Millennium Plan would best benefit a few cities, but the airport plan would benefit the majority of Orange County citizens.

The county has not reached enough people to communicate the importance of an airport. In order for voters to make an intelligent decision, both sides must be equally represented with all facts presented and debated.

Only then will voters have enough information on both sides and be able to intelligently answer the questions presented in the poll.

KEVIN O’NEILL

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Costa Mesa

* To defuse all this crazy rage over El Toro reuse, why hasn’t someone thought more about Camp Pendleton as an alternative for an international airport?

No residences would be impacted. Orange County has enough money now; we just need to focus on hanging on to our good standard of living, which would be negatively affected by an airport at El Toro.

KAREN M. PHELPS

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Dana Point

* Not in My Back Yard “activists” are back again, at their worst (“Put Airport on Ballot Again, Voters Say,” May 24).

As a 25-year resident of Irvine, I have seen NIMBYs try time and again to influence decisions on property not their own, with total disregard for the costs to others.

It is no different in the case of the El Toro international airport. Opponents did little as the airport was approved in two elections, in 1994 and 1996.

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Now, perhaps because of the political dreams of one man who wants to return to office and is using this issue to regain popularity, NIMBYs are again on the move to kill a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reduce lengthy commutes to distant airports.

Democracy be damned. Forget those two elections; they don’t count. NIMBYs fight freeways, fight growth and fight progress, all in the name of their own shortsighted, selfish interests.

Any excuse will do for them so long as it can be grossly exaggerated and perverted. NIMBY conduct is consistently selfish, dishonest and accordingly reprehensible.

JOHN JAEGER

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Irvine


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