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Civilian Airport at El Toro Base

January 24, 1988

Let's settle this once and for all. This letter is in response to The Times article (Jan. 14) regarding the Federal Aviation Administration's study into joint use of El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

Joint military/civilian use of El Toro has been considered and reconsidered ad nauseam for at least 30 years. The issue will recur until Orange County stops wasting taxpayers' money on additional studies and selects the most feasible site for a regional airport--and builds an airport there over the objections of people and interests antagonistic to an airport being built in their "back yard."

There will never be a regional airport in Orange County if all possible objections must first be overcome. Each time the subject comes up, the issue is decided by indecision. There is still some space in Orange County large enough to build an airport that is inhabited mainly by rattlesnakes and rabbits.

But the space under the approach and departure routes from this space is inhabited by people who object to aircraft noise over their space. People object by not voting for a supervisor who will allow this noise to happen in their zone. The long-range interests of Orange County are less important than getting reelected, so another study group is assigned the task of considering joint use of El Toro.

The most feasible site will never be El Toro unless the nations of the world decide that international disputes will be settled by means other than warfare.

The 1973-74 Orange County Grand Jury, of which I was a member, urged the Board of Supervisors to approach the Department of Defense for a "once and for all" determination of joint use possibilities.

The grand jury had no illusions about Department of Defense agreement. It wanted the matter settled so that the illusive dream of getting El Toro for commercial aviation could not be used for procrastination forever. Without El Toro as a stumbling block, perhaps some serious efforts toward locating and building a regional airport might begin.

G. E. WASSON

Santa Ana

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