Emotions Running High Over El Toro Airport

Thanks to Dana Parsons for publishing the apparent frustrations and personal opinions of Superior Court Judge James Gray in his ruling on whether opponents of an El Toro airport used misleading language on a petition drive for which they had already collected 128,000 signatures (Aug. 22).

Gray's opinion that "there has never been a neutral study talking about options [or] weighing benefits and limitations openly and honestly as to those options" is certainly not complimentary to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Instead, the supervisors have wasted millions of our tax dollars to spread misinformation and serve their own goals.

What is the legal remedy for the citizens of Orange County to be represented fairly and not have something crammed down our throats without being heard or being represented properly?

Why are we denied our constitutional rights to express our wishes because of the "misleading information" regarding the proposed park while the board moves forward with their unpopular and misleading airport plans?

The bottom line is that Gray, in his ruling, favored the three-member board majority and has thus denied us the opportunity to legally voice our opinions by ballot in March.

I hope this strange sort of democracy will be ameliorated in time so that the will of the people will prevail.

Hans J. Roehricht

Lake Forest

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The account of the Aug. 15 public forum about El Toro in The Times described a classic example of bad manners and lack of consideration for the 80% of Orange County's population outside of South County on the part of South County.

Supervisors Todd Spitzer and Tom Wilson were the jeer leaders, coaching the audience to shout and rant and rave so that nothing the visiting experts said could be heard.

Wilson asked, "If they lived in our homes, would they be satisfied with the information they are giving us tonight?" That same question could be asked of the thousands of homes in Tustin, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach that are much closer to the flight paths of planes from John Wayne Airport than any homes in South County are to the El Toro flight paths.

In North County, John Wayne Airport has expanded several times, each time moving closer to existing homes. The last expansion was required to handle the increased flight loads from affluent South County.

In contrast, South County residents willingly and knowingly bought next to the large 14,000-acre buffer zone of an existing airport that was operational when they moved in.

Because of the buffer zone, no houses are directly under the flight paths as are the homes near John Wayne. The passenger demand generated by South County is increasing at a rapid rate. There are 14,500 homes going into a planned city on the O'Neill ranch; there is a 380-acre business park planned for Lake Forest. An even bigger commercial development by the Irvine Co. and Irvine Spectrum is picking up steam.

By the time all the open land in the holdings of the Irvine Co. is built up, combined with the building planned by the remaining land holders in South County, South County will certainly grow.

Since most of the new air demand will come from South County, and since a well-designed airport exists already in South County, it would boggle the minds of any regional planners to consider plowing El Toro under and shifting all passenger and freight demand to the freeways and nearby and more distant airports.

In view of these projections it is time to reopen El Toro airport.

William J. Kearns

Costa Mesa

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I cannot imagine what religious, educational or cultural background would cause people to boo or hiss at our important meeting.

They are displaying a lack of knowledge or a total disregard of ordinary courtesy. Surely they don't believe it helps their cause.

Laura B. Heiser

Laguna Woods

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Opponents of a commercial airport at the site of the abandoned military airport at El Toro repeat that airports create noise, air pollution and hazards of engine malfunction for nearby residents and schools in spite of the size of the base and buffer zone and 10,000-foot runways.

However, none would close John Wayne Airport to commercial traffic even though the five schools and thousands of homes are nearer to noise and air pollution than any schools or homes near El Toro.

Also, John Wayne's 5,700-foot runways are more dangerous if an engine malfunctions. So far, the only airborne planes in trouble made it to a longer runway.

Opponents contend that El Toro is unneeded because John Wayne is not used to capacity. Do emotions obscure logic, or do such airport opponents lack integrity?

Roy B. Woolsey

Newport Beach

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It is becoming more obvious that the will of the people means nothing to the gruesome threesome on the Board of Supervisors.

They ignored the message the citizens sent when they voted against an international airport at El Toro and passed Measure F by an overwhelming 67% majority. Now they have failed to join the appeal to put the Great Park initiative on the ballot.

Their strategy to dump an airport in the area is to do everything they can to prevent the taxpayers from exercising their voting power. Let's face it: No one wants to live next to an airport.

The neighbors at LAX are fighting an expansion; Newport Beach is fighting hard to put an airport at El Toro because in 2005 the settlement agreement with the county on flight restrictions at John Wayne Airport expires and cannot be extended, therefore allowing flights 24 hours a day. And neighbors at El Toro don't want an international airport that operates 24 hours a day in their bedroom community.

But Ontario has an airport and wants more utilization. Stop the nonsense of wasting more millions on these fights and work with the officials of Ontario to make it a destination.

Listen to the taxpayers and stop wasting money on these battles. Those millions would be better spent on a light-rail system to transport passengers to Ontario.

Glenda Maddox

Irvine

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I am so tired of all the whining by South County residents over El Toro Airport. They claim pilots say it is unsafe. Wrong.

There is a major difference between "unsafe" and "not perfect." The fact is John Wayne Airport has far more safety concerns than El Toro, yet residents in South County cities use it the most.

The complainers say it will ruin their quality of life. Wrong. There is no evidence of that. There might be a change from perfection to some annoyances, but "ruined"? No way. Every single resident made the choice to buy his home fully aware of the military planes overhead or that El Toro Airport was in their future.

Ann Bratt

Anaheim

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