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Silva, Sullivan Reiterate Their Positions in Calm Debate

Campaign: Hourlong forum allows supervisor and his challenger to rebuke each other over airport, mailer.


For all the heat generated in the race between Supervisor Jim Silva and challenger Dave Sullivan, the two candidates got together Thursday at a forum and calmly rebuked each other about their differences and a nasty Sullivan mailer.

The one-hour forum, held at the Media One cable channel studios, covered their views about crime prevention, the proposed El Toro airport, the county's executive officer and campaign mailers.

Silva reiterated his support for the planned commercial airport to replace the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, while Sullivan articulated his continued opposition. Sullivan instead backs the non-aviation Millennium Plan devised by South County leaders.

Silva said that plan, which would put a park, a museum, homes and commercial sites on the 4,700-acre base, is not supported by voters in the district.

"The Millennium Plan has bombed in the 2nd District," said Silva, noting that the Costa Mesa City Council has voted to support an airport over the community plan.

Sullivan disagreed, saying that the non-aviation plan would serve as an "economic incubator" for the area and would not have a negative impact on the county in terms of traffic or pollution.

"We have to look at every decision we make and ask how it will impact our quality of life," Sullivan said.

He also called for television broadcast of the supervisors' meetings, but Silva said there was not enough money in county coffers to pay for it.

The two also sparred about Jan Mittermeier, the county executive officer whom Silva supports enthusiastically and Sullivan strongly opposes.

Sullivan also stood by his controversial mailer that accuses Silva of being soft on sex offenders--something Silva and his supporters vehemently deny. Sullivan insisted that Silva was not going far enough in trying to help warn parents about potential child molesters in neighborhoods.

After the forum, the Silva campaign came out with a hard-hitting mailer accusing Sullivan of being a "liberal" candidate who is opposed by law enforcement. The mailer, which was sent out to as many as 70,000 households in the 2nd District, was roundly condemned by Sullivan supporters as containing distortions and false accusations.

The candidates did agree on one issue. They both want to halt plans for bridges across the Santa Ana River at 19th Street and Gisler Avenue, connecting Costa Mesa to Huntington Beach. Both candidates feared the bridges would increase traffic into the area.

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