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Using Los Alamitos Base for Civilian Jets

October 23, 1988

Your front page article, "Congress Passes Plan to Cut Bases," points to just how serious a threat is the possibility of a commercial airport at the Los Alamitos Armed Forces Reserve Center. For the past five months, the Airport Site Coalition has been meeting in Orange County to locate one or more new airport sites in the county.

One of the sites studied is the base at Los Alamitos. This site already possesses three runways. One is 8,000 feet with 1,000 feet of overrun and is reported to be one of the longest in this area. The second is 5,900 feet, which is 200 feet longer than the longest runway at John Wayne. The smaller 3,000-foot airstrip is used for the helicopters. It is said that anything in the skies can land at Los Alamitos. The sophisticated navigational aid VORTAC is already in place at Los Alamitos and is used by Long Beach Airport. This is the same navigational aid used at Los Angeles International Airport.

The bill passed by Congress paves the way for the closing of many bases.

In your report, Rep. Robert E. Badham said: "Bases that are not important to the national defense ought to be closed down. . . . I will have to say everything is up for grabs. . . . The Army National Guard base at Los Alamitos is important to the Guard and Reserve programs . . . but I don't know if it is essential to national security."

The handwriting is on the wall. The Airport Site Coalition study for Los Alamitos shows the potential for 6.2 million annual passengers in 1990 with 73 daily departures and arrivals of jet aircraft.

SPRING, the Seal Beach Preservation and Open Spaces Initiative Group, has been conducting an education campaign to educate the residents of the Seal Beach/Los Alamitos/Cypress area of the potential for a commercial airport in their back yards. The pro-development Seal Beach City Council dismisses this possibility, saying that it will never happen as long as the military is present. With this closure bill, just how long will the military be present?

El Toro is not letting any grass grow under its feet. With the help of city officials from Irvine, Tustin, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and representatives of homeowner groups in Irvine, Leisure World, Laguna Hills and the Saddleback Valley area, a group to fight commercial use of the base at El Toro has swelled to 3,700 people who have collected $57,000 for a public education campaign aimed at crushing any attempts to use the Marine base for commercial flights, in addition to military flights.

The time is now for Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Cypress residents to fight to keep commercial aircraft out.

MICHELLE A. BRENDEL

Seal Beach

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