Mailbag: JWA, Newport's interests are incompatible

Re: "Visit Newport Beach is not calling for airport expansion?" (July 29): Former Daily Pilot Publisher Tom Johnson was amazed and surprised by my letter; I'm delighted by his.

Tom, with his characteristic candor, at least clarifies a fact that Visit Newport CEO Gary Sherwin was working on the John Wayne Airport's Marketing Task Force, not as head of Visit Newport Beach, but as head of the Orange County Visitor's Bureau. Sherwin and Visit Newport Beach together are participating in marketing JWA to bring more visitors to JWA and then possibly to Newport Beach.

Well, that's a problem. The residents and the city should not pay Visit Newport Beach one cent to market JWA at all; surely, we should not pay them the more than $3 million paid in 2012. It's bad for the city, it's bad for the residents, and it's bad for our environment and property values. And there is no guarantee that Visit Newport Beach's marketing of JWA will actually result in more visitors to Newport Beach.

I believe that AirFair supports bringing more visitors to Newport Beach. However, we have also supported the city's policy efforts to distribute the passenger load to other area airports, including Ontario. The city, in the past, has adopted policies and sent mayoral correspondence supporting Ontario Airport. We also support the city's policies regarding protecting our residents from the adverse impacts of JWA, including more passengers and more flights.

So, if as Tom maintains Visit Newport Beach, and Mr. Sherwin as its CEO, seek to bring more passengers to JWA, the city has a huge problem: we are subsidizing a group which seeks to expand JWA.

As I pointed out in my letter, the proposed settlement agreement will substantially increase the allowed passenger loads at JWA if Visit Newport Beach and Mr. Sherwin are successful. I call on all of the community groups, including AirFair and Airport Working Group, as well as the Aviation Committee and the City Council, to oppose these efforts.

Thanks for the clarification, Tom.

Robert C. Hawkins

Newport Beach


Running columns

Re. "Commentary: The fellowship of runners" (July 29): I enjoy the various human-interest stories that are shared in the L.A. Times and Daily Pilot. This one especially caught my eye.

Carrie Luger Slayback wrote such a touching story. She really captured the spirit of her running group, the bond they share and the compassion they have for each other.

Sometimes we don't realize how common interests can create lifetime friendships. Though Carrie admits her running group does not socialize, that doesn't mean the caring and kindness for one another is not present. Their friendship is based on their training and support for one another's fitness goals. They have fun and joke with one another, then go their separate ways until the next run. But their hearts remain connected. Thank you for bringing balance to my day with refreshing commentary such as this one.

Peggy Bodenreider

Newport Beach

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