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Leave El Toro Base the Way It Is

April 21, 1996

In view of the strong possibility of continuing confrontation, possibly military, with China, the closing of El Toro's strategic Marine Corps Air Station should be reconsidered.

During previous military crises, most lately the Persian Gulf War, the base has been an invaluable staging area for planes, weapons and troops. Deployment has not only greatly profited the U.S. military efforts, but has brought substantial economic advantages to this area.

It should not be shut down.

WILLIAM S. CALDWELL

El Toro

* There are not many people who would retire to a home that is in the flight path of a nearby commercial airport.

Such is the location of Leisure World, Laguna Hills, to the proposed El Toro airport.

There are about 12,000 units in Leisure World with about 20,000 residents. This is prime residential land, maintained like a park, with five swimming pools, two golf courses, eight tennis courts and other amenities, all paid for and maintained by the residents, not the taxpayers.

In spite of these advantages, home prices remain within reach of the average-income person.

Leisure World is a low-crime area. Its residents make a major contribution to the economic health of the area, and pay millions of dollars each year in property taxes. It has functioned thusly since it was established 30 years ago. All this would be destroyed by the proposed El Toro commercial airport.

How would the residents of Leisure World be compensated for the loss of the value of their homes? For most people this investment represents a large portion of their life savings.

Would the loss move them from being self-sufficient to a more dependent financial category?

There would be higher and higher vacancy rates, foreclosures, appropriation by the county for nonpayment of taxes. Maintenance costs could no longer be paid for by the dwindling number of residents. County tax revenues would decline.

This sounds like an extremely expensive proposition for the County of Orange. To destroy established, developed, prime residential land for the very iffy advantages of an El Toro commercial airport is very poor business judgment.

HAZEL HOLLRIESER

Laguna Hills

* In a few years we will be sitting on our deck counting the drilling platforms along the coast and overhead is the Beijing Concord that just took off from ETX.

L. JANE SHANKLING

Laguna Beach

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