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Battle Over Base Reuse Options Rages Unabated

August 21, 1994

* Kudos to Professor (James L.) Doti ("Why an Airport at El Toro Is So Critical," Aug. 11) for setting forth all of the compelling reasons why El Toro Marine Corps Air Station should be converted to a large commercial and international airport.

All the NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yarders) in south Orange County are far too shortsighted to see that in five or 10 years they will be crying loud and long for the airport their present protests may deny us.

Its proximity to the Santa Ana Freeway would minimize local traffic congestion. I firmly believe the protesters are vastly overestimating the noise and pollution such an airport would produce.



* An airport at El Toro is not critical as James L. Doti claims in his article. Rather it would be a deterrent to the future growth and quality of life in Orange County.

The noise pollution created by another airport and the noxious emissions the aircraft generate and expel into the environment will help destroy the quality of life in the area. This will also lessen property values and reduce tax revenue.

As for the dollar benefits he so glibly quotes, these are theoretical figures and can be matched or exceeded by estimates for a variety of enterprises, for example: entertainment complexes, light manufacturing or residential developments with the supporting businesses that accompany such areas. There is a strong want by many for gaming facilities such as horse race tracks, dog tracks and gambling casinos.

Anything is preferable to an airport which would benefit only a few companies involved in intercity overnight freight hauling.

There is more than adequate air passenger facilities available for present and foreseeable needs. John Wayne Airport has yet to even come close to testing its full potential.

To preserve and enhance the quality of life and ensure its future for Orange County, the last thing we need is another airport.


Laguna Hills

* Not every resident of South County is against El Toro becoming an airport. My wife and I are in favor of such a development. I thought that Mr. Doti made the case for positive economic impact very well.

As one who made numerous international and long distance domestic flights that had to originate from Los Angeles International Airport, I'll add that the human impact will be dramatic as well.

The biggest complaint is coming from people who bought fairly inexpensive houses that were convenient to the beach and urban centers of Orange County but near El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Well, they reasoned that would be a minor inconvenience that would never grow. Now that their houses have increased in price (astronomically in some cases), they don't want their cozy situation disturbed and they are willing to penalize all of Orange County to that end.

Please stop characterizing this as a South vs. North battle. There are some of us down here who are all for the airport.


Mission Viejo

* Any half-baked economist can tell Mr. Doti that for any project like the proposed airport conversion of El Toro there are both costs and benefits. Doti only considers the "benefits." He ignores completely the negative environmental costs of pollution, additional congestion, noise, toxic waste and the danger of air traffic accidents over the area.

Doti does not mention that individuals pushing for the commercial airport at El Toro are benefactors of his own university (of which he is president) and serve on his trustees' board. Doti is putting his loyalty to those individuals and their money above his professional objectivity. Readers can judge for themselves whether it is appropriate for a university president to endorse a plan proposed by some of his own benefactors by voicing half-truths and a biased assessment of facts.

Doti argues that an "international airport" at the El Toro site is crucial for high-tech industries in Orange County. In fact, the most important high-tech center in the world, Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley, grew up without an international airport in the community--the San Jose Airport cannot be considered an "international" gateway, and most international travelers heading to or from Silicon Valley use San Francisco International.



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