Two Orange County supervisors on Tuesday criticized as "hogwash" a grand jury report praising the county's El Toro airport planning process, saying a new panel should investigate the way the county is handling the project.
The grand jury report in May said county executives were doing a good job informing the public, releasing information and following federal guidelines in planning the conversion of the Marine Corps Air Station into an international airport.
But Supervisors Todd Spitzer and Tom Wilson, who both oppose an airport, blasted the grand jury for a study they called deeply biased and short-sighted.
Spitzer called for the new grand jury, impaneled last month for a yearlong tenure, to launch a new review of the county's effort. Wilson said he would likely back Spitzer.
"The 1997-98 grand jury failed in their role," Wilson said. The newly impaneled grand jury, Spitzer said, "will not allow itself to be manipulated."
The remaining three supervisors, though, disagreed and praised the staff on the El Toro project for their work.
Clark Lehmann, a former grand juror who headed the El Toro investigation, said he stands by the findings. "I don't think there is anything wrong with the review we did--it just didn't come out the way some people wanted it to come out," he said.
For seven months, ending in April, the 19-member panel interviewed the county planning team and members of the anti-airport group El Toro Reuse Planning Authority.
The grand jury found that county planners had not withheld information, as many airport opponents had alleged. It stated that planners were doing an excellent job of keeping county citizens apprised of the process.
But Wilson and Spitzer said several concerns they raised about the planning process were not addressed in the final report.
"Not one of my observations was given any consideration," Spitzer said. "There are many, many questions looming out there, and they were not raised at all. They were not even raised and then dismissed."
Wilson was particularly blunt: "The report is short-sighted and it's wrong. Quite frankly, I would call it hogwash."