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Convenience of El Toro Airport Aside, Many Questions Linger

October 30, 1994

The "NIMBYites" of Orange County would like to cast fear, confusion and negatives and have you believe having an international airport at El Toro is very non-beneficial.

For me, the issue is clear and simple.

Should I wish to take a nonstop flight to the Orient or to Europe, would I rather travel to LAX or El Toro? Frankly, I'll choose El Toro.

The runways are there. The business community is ready to put together the brains, energy and money to make it a reality. Let's get on with it. Orange County needs a first-class international airport. Let's make it happen.

And incidentally, I own a property under the flight path and have always been thrilled to see and hear a flight of Marine F-18 jets fly overhead. That's what this country is all about. Let's not fight progress.

VICTOR H. JASHINSKI

Newport Beach

* The Times recently reported another "easy decision" by a North County city council. This time the Placentia City Council voted support for converting the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to a commercial airport.

It was not too long ago that the same council, in concert with the councils of Yorba Linda, Brea and Fullerton and others in North County, were in the fight against the same Orange County big-development interests--now promoting the commercial airport at El Toro--who were then trying to locate a major airport atop Chino Hills.

The North County cities that now praise the economic benefits to themselves if El Toro becomes a commercial airport were rabid environmentalists then, crying about the deterioration of the quality of residential life in their cities. Their cries of anguish of "not in my back yard" were answered by pressure at the state level, and the Chino Hills airport location became the Chino Hills State Park.

Now that the North County tears have dried and another back yard has been found for an airport far from their cities, the unthinkable airport is now a fine idea. In truth, the airport was a bad idea for the Chino Hills and the cities around it. A second county commercial airport is equally a bad idea fro El Toro and the surrounding cities.

I hope the residents of North County cities have more sensitivity than their councils.

SINCLAIR JONES

Laguna Beach

* Opinions vary on the need for El Toro to remain an airport, and the strongest views are held by those who are or might be affected by the air traffic. Since voters will be deciding the issue, they should realize that statements made by Irvine, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills and Newport Beach residents tend to be biased. Hopefully, we will have the advantage of deciding the issue on information put forth by unbiased experts who study the facts.

ROBERT F. OLSON

Anaheim

* I would like to raise an issue which, to date, both the proponents and opponents of Measure A and the proposed El Toro airport have failed to address, and which constitutes what may be the greatest single expense to this county's taxpayers if a civilian airport ever arises on that site.

For at least 20 years, California law has required that homeowners adversely affected by the noise of jet aircraft operations, particularly takeoffs and landings, be entitled to compensation from the airport owners and operators in the dollar amount of the diminution of their homes' market value caused by that noise.

In light of the varied takeoff and landing patterns which would have to be used, there is probably not one community in Orange County south of and including Irvine that would not be adversely affected by the noise which a fully functioning civilian airport would generate.

If nothing else, the issue certainly demonstrates why a complete study is needed before any irrevocable decisions on the airport are made, whether by the voters or by the governmental representatives charged with evaluating the issue.

As for Measure A, as a resident of the Saddleback Valley and an attorney whose practice encompasses inverse condemnation issues, my own reactions are mixed. Although I view with alarm the prospect of the decimation of the values of my and my neighbors' homes, and the degradation of the quality of our lives--which a fully functioning airport would create--I cannot but help be tempted by an initiative which, if passed, will amount to a lifetime full-employment act for me and a lot of my colleagues.

ANDREW M. SUSSMAN

Rancho Santa Margarita

* Proponents of Measure A, the El Toro Airport Initiative, claimed that a commercial airport, preferably an international one, will be an economic panacea for Orange County. Yet, they have not been able to provide facts to substantiate their arguments on costs and revenues.

More important, there is one major and crucial flaw in the arguments favoring a 4,700-acre airport facility as the only viable option for jobs and revenues. El Toro is surrounded by a 16,000-acre restricted area, designated as a safety and noise buffer zone, hailed by the proponents as minimizing environmental impacts to nearby residents.

However, without an airport these 16,000 acres will be available for development! Will even an additional development of 5,000 acres create more jobs and revenues? You bet it will! In fact, an El Toro airport may even have a detrimental impact on the economic development of Orange County.

PAUL WILLEMS

Laguna Niguel

* Orange County voters have the opportunity to help revitalize the economy in our area. Allowing the El Toro base to be a commercial airport has the potential to create over 50,000 new jobs and generate billions in new economic activity.

Unfortunately, too many businesses have left and others are leaving the county because we have over-regulated, over-taxed, and been insensitive to their needs. We must send a new message, and providing an additional airport that can meet their growing needs is a step in the right direction.

KATHY SMITH

Costa Mesa

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