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Opinion

Readers React: ‘John Wayne Airport’ is a terrible name in modern Orange County. Here’s a better idea

A bronze statue of actor John Wayne inside the Orange County airport bearing his name.

To the editor: We are reminded that John Wayne openly espoused hateful views of African Americans, Native Americans and gay people. As Orange County’s star rises throughout the world, the name “John Wayne Airport” recalls a dark time.

As a longtime resident of Orange County, I ask government officials to rename the facility “Bernal International Airport.” Alejandro and Esther Bernal were the subjects of the first major court decision striking down racially restrictive housing covenants.

The Bernals purchased a home in Fullerton in the early 1940s. The deed said the house could not be sold or rented to non-whites or Mexicans, so neighbors sued to force the Bernals to leave.

An Orange County judge ruled in favor of the Bernals in 1943, finding the housing covenant unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court made a similar ruling in 1948.

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The name “Bernal International Airport” would better reflect the beacon of hope that Orange County represents.

Scott Hansen, Irvine

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