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Controversy Over Who Gets a Say in Conversion of El Toro Marine Base

July 04, 1993

Now the pressure begins. The Orange County Cities Airport Authority, a self-titled, self-appointed clique led by Newport Beach, is about to exert its influence and wishes about the conversion of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro.

The American Heritage Dictionary, paperback edition, defines authority as "the right and power to command, enforce laws, exact obedience, determine, influence, or judge." In other words, dictate the future use of the base.

Those members of the Airport Authority, with one exception, are neither adjacent to nor near to the base. If it is the business of the interfering members to determine what happens to areas in the South County, then it is only reasonable and fair that Lake Forest, El Toro, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel form an Authority to dictate the use of Newport Bay, Fashion Island, the new Anaheim Arena and Westminster Mall, among other sites.

Obviously, the Airport Authority does not think it appropriate that cities in South County directly affected by conversion of the base be members of its all-powerful decision-making process. If South County cities were members, their influence would be counter to that of the Airport Authority.

Let those who surround the base and are most influenced by the conversion be the ones to make the decisions. Putting it in plain language, keep your nose out of our bailiwick and we'll keep ours out of yours.

H. HENRY MINICK

Laguna Hills

* I would remind the mayor and residents of Newport Beach to remember the parable of "living in glass houses." Those who would rush to judgment urging the conversion of El Toro to a commercial facility must remember that there is a much simpler and cheaper solution to increasing passenger trips directly into Orange County--expand John Wayne Airport!

It is much simpler and cheaper to lengthen existing runways and conduct round-the-clock operations at John Wayne Airport than to rebuild an entire new facility seven miles away.

Beware, Newport Beach residents, that you do not unleash your own "airport monster." Beware of being so willing to inflict intolerable noise levels on those of us in Irvine, Orange, Tustin Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills and Laguna Beach. Beware of living in your own glass houses.

JIM FRISBIE

Irvine

* In reference to the article ("Cities Hope to Control El Toro Conversion," June 17), I hope so too. We definitely cannot trust the county supervisors to do the proper thing in this regard.

They have previously gone on record as stating that we require another airport in Orange County and had pledged to obtain one. Subsequently they went on record as stating that there is no place in Orange County for another commercial airport while at the same time promising continuing action.

Now that we have an opportunity to satisfy this need, they are apparently adamantly opposed to the use of El Toro.

The existing Orange County airport, despite the apparent supervisors' desires, hopes and attitudes, is beyond help as far as increasing operations is concerned.

If control is left with the supervisors, El Toro will become another ugly housing development and that we definitely do not need.

ALAN L. BLUM

Balboa Island

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