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The Future of El Toro Marine Air Station

April 25, 1993

Allow me a response to your editorial urging me and Chris Cox to "lead the charge" to keep MCAS El Toro open. It was a classic example of the L.A. Times rushing to judgment.

The Times claims that the question of whether closing El Toro would save money "has been answered fairly decisively" in the negative. This position is based wholly on remarks by Marine Gen. P. Drax Williams, who stated that cost estimates on housing and facility upgrades at Miramar necessitated by Marines moving from El Toro may be higher than anticipated.

I phoned Gen. Williams about his remarks, and he told me that though he has concerns, there is no official change in the position of the Marine Corps, which still believes that closing El Toro will ultimately save money and enhance readiness. The general said his remarks were part of an interview that covered many subjects and were taken out of context. Why didn't The Times make a similar phone call before using a word like decisive ?

Now it may turn out that Gen. Williams is on to something. But I need something more definitive than conjecture that initial Marine Corps estimates "may" be wrong before I reverse my stand on so important an issue.

Let me once again reiterate my position for your readers. As of now, I remain confident in the recommendations of the military, especially respected leaders such as the Marine commandant, Gen. Carl Mundy Jr., and Gen. Williams, who say that closing El Toro will save money and enhance readiness.

At the same time, however, I am committed to protecting the best interests of the taxpayers and the military. Therefore, if it is subsequently established that the original estimates on which I have based my current position prove inaccurate, and that moving El Toro would not save money or would hurt readiness, I will oppose it on those grounds. And then the Congress faces equally difficult decisions regarding Miramar NAS and Lemoore NAS.

But at this point the case to reconsider El Toro's fate has not been made--except by the L.A. Times that is. But since The Times has been on the wrong side of almost every military question the past three decades, I am not about to start using Times editors as military policy advisers.


Congressman, 46th District

R-Garden Grove

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