* I read your excellently researched article, "Duo Brings Personalities to Bear on O.C. Base Issue" (April 17).
Why do I get the completely unsettling feeling that I no longer live in the United States, but in a banana republic somewhere with an oligarchy, namely Buck Johns and George Argyros, who, with their unlimited money, control the lives of ordinary people who never elected them in the first place?
Why do people, whose lives are tied up in the homes and businesses that would be ruined if an international airport is put in El Toro, permit this utter arrogance to exist by going along in any way with these people and their followers?
I have heard reports that they are using high-pressure people who are promising 21,000 new jobs if they sign their petitions.
Johns and Argyros are in for a fight from the people who proved in the last election that money doesn't control everything, and that Orange County is still in the United States!
* As I read the Times story on Buck Johns, I recalled my first meeting with Buck. I was at a private home in Huntington Beach to hear then-Republican primary candidate Bruce Herschensohn, who was making his first bid for public office.
I was new to Orange County politics and didn't know anyone who was at the event. While I was busy blending in with the wallpaper, I was approached by a friendly smile and an outstretched hand. Behind both was Buck Johns. We talked for about five minutes, and he then insisted on introducing me to several attendees, after which he introduced me to Herschensohn.
Did Buck and I go on to be bosom buddies? No. It was just a simple act of kindness to a stranger. I think it says a lot about the nature of Buck Johns.
LYNN R. FILLMAN