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Rohrabacher's, Residents' Views on El Toro's Reuse

August 29, 1993

* Thanks for the coverage on my support of turning El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into a commercial airport ("Rohrabacher In Favor of New Airport," Aug. 21). Unfortunately, as when you cover me on other issues, none of the many people quoted in the article agreed with my position. Is it impossible for the Los Angeles Times to find anyone who agrees with me on anything? You either did the job you set out to do very poorly or very well. I guess the public will have to determine that for themselves.

DANA ROHRABACHER

Congressman, 45th District

Huntington Beach

* In the uproar over the El Toro Marine base closure, I have not heard much about what residents in study after study have said they wanted and needed: affordable housing and jobs.

If an airport is needed in the future, the most logical solution would be to expand John Wayne Airport. Besides creating jobs (in addition to the jobs that would be made available at the freed-up base) the hundreds of people hired on at both sites would actually be able to afford housing because we had the foresight to build it at the base. To not plan for affordable housing will only mean increased commutes, overcrowded living conditions and congestion. Wouldn't this be, in the words of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, "committing a crime against future generations" too?

SUSAN PERLSON

Brea

* Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's recent comments, in which he categorized those of us in opposition to the proposed conversion of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to a regional commercial airport as ". . . wealthy people (who) are hysterical," are not only ludicrous, but a total fabrication and misrepresentation.

Those of us who oppose the airport are residents and homeowners, some who have lived in this area for several years and others who are relatively new to the area, who are and would be directly affected by the continual noise, pollution, safety hazards, and other deleterious effects a commercial airport would create.

On the other hand, it is the very wealthy (the fat-cat developers, the corporate executives, the jet-setters) who stand to profit the most from, and are therefore pushing the hardest for, a commercial airport in South County!

Of course, Congressman Rohrabacher neither resides in nor represents South County, so his remarks, while disturbing, are not at all surprising. As long as the airport is not going to be in his district, he's all for it!

Of greater concern to those of us who live in South County are the positions taken by those legislators and public officials who do (or at least claim to) represent us. Oursupervisor, Tom Riley, and his heir apparent, Marian Bergeson, as well as Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), who represents a significant portion of South County, all reside in Newport Beach. And, Riley's public pontification to the contrary notwithstanding, it is only too apparent that Newport Beach residents are among the strongest supporters of an international airport at El Toro in order to relieve some of the air-traffic congestion at John Wayne Airport.

Fortunately, Riley , who owes his political career to the very same developers and other special interests who stand to gain the most from an international airport at El Toro, is retiring. Both Bergeson and Cox have their sights set on other offices, however. Voters in South County, before they blindly vote for these individuals, should demand to know where they stand on the proposed commercial airport.

Special interests have a lot at stake here. Gullible voters should review the campaign contribution statements of their elected officials. It may open their eyes.

EDDIE ROSE

Laguna Niguel

* I was appalled at Congressman Rohrabacher's negative description of South County residents ("wealthy" and "hysterical") with regard to their reaction to the possibility of El Toro becoming a commercial airport. As a longtime resident of Newport Beach, I am poignantly aware of the real personal effect of unchecked airport noise. My concern with Congressman Rohrabacher centers on the fact that if ever there was a time for thoughtful words and cool heads, this is it.

Airport advocates, particularly elected officials who are there to solve problems and not create new ones, have a crucial obligation to reach out to those affected with understanding and a spirit of compromise to do what is in the best interest of all residents of Orange County.

FREDRIC J. FORSTER

Corona del Mar

* So, Dana Rohrabacher thinks it's a good idea to put an airport in South County. Once again, this buffoonish legislator from Huntington Beach, known more for his right-wing zealotry than for quality legislation, has demonstrated his utter disregard for reason and serious debate and his penchant for pitting two groups of residents against each other.

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