A majority of the Board of Supervisors appeared to get a grip on its senses late last month on the matter of a high-priced public relations campaign to sell a proposed airport at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. The board wisely, if unexpectedly, rejected the controversial plan to spend more than $450,000 on a campaign to tell the public about the conversion, and correct "'misinformation" from airport foes.
Better late than never; the board deserves recognition for making a sound course correction. There may be some bad scuttlebutt on both sides of this issue, but depth of conviction should not be mistaken for misinformation.
The two supervisors who serve parts of South County clearly were disturbed by the proposal. Supervisor Thomas W. Wilson said it reminded him of brainwashing, and would promote only one side of the debate. Both he and Todd Spitzer, who also criticized the effort, pledged to find some county funding for airport opponents who are preparing a non-aviation plan for El Toro. In finding that money, the supervisors not only would be serving their constituents, they would address the larger need for a more comprehensive review of options.
The surprising turnaround came from Supervisor Jim Silva, who has been a strong airport supporter. He correctly observed that the antidote for those who worry about "misinformation" by airport opponents simply would be to do the job well for less money.