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County Has Options After El Toro Vote

June 09, 2002

Re "Our Air-Traffic Woes Aren't Going Anywhere," Letters, June 2:

After 10 years of planning for an airport at El Toro and wasting more than $50 million in taxpayer money, and just three months after a majority of Orange County voters junked the El Toro Airport plan through Measure W, some people still don't get it.

Sore losers like William Kearns, who still believe that another airport is needed in Orange County, should explain why John Wayne Airport is operating at only half its capacity. If he and his Newport Beach cohorts really want jumbo jets flying in and out of the county around the clock, they can organize and start collecting signatures to expand John Wayne Airport. It's already there and it's underused.

Kearns can call me. I'll volunteer to help collect signatures as I did with Measure F and Measure W.

Sam Castelo



William Kearns' letter states that the El Toro base has "operable runways ... that already have been paid for by taxpayers." Previous misleading oratory by Kearns and other pro-airport folks was what turned me against the airport. The flat-out mistruths, half-truths and innuendo were misleading to the point of lying. And I'm a pilot and aircraft owner who loves aviation.

The runways at El Toro are not operable for a commercial airport, and Kearns knows it. The east-west runways have a slope that is the equivalent of an eight-story building. Planners stated the runways would be raised at one end and lowered at the other, meaning a complete rebuild at massive expense. That isn't "operable."

The north-south runways are too close together for instrument operation, so one of them would have to be rebuilt to accommodate the stated 18-million passenger capacity. The taxiways and tarmac setback areas don't comply with current design and anti-terrorism requirements, so they would need to be demolished and rebuilt.

I predict that should an airport ever be built there, barely one chunk of existing concrete will remain. The freeway and roadway infrastructure that would be built to accommodate the surface traffic would be huge, and the net result would be a totally new facility at great expense.

Patric Barry

Laguna Hills


Re "Wrong Route to an Airport," Editorial, June 2:

The Times' editorial was as indirect and confused as William Kearns' companion letter on the same subject was clear and direct. Both essays identified Orange County's failure to accept its regional airport responsibilities. But neither recommended the necessary action that must be taken--the creation of a true Southern California Regional Airport Authority. The SCRAA must be a state agency, not a voluntary association of cities and counties, like the current SCRAA, or the larger Southern California Assn. of Governments.

Kearns correctly called for El Toro's reactivation, but it's probably up to the governor and state legislature to save El Toro, either through legislative action or a regional ballot initiative. The entire region should be empowered to vote on regional airport issues.

Regardless of El Toro's fate, an umbrella agency is needed to ensure that all of Southern California's counties adequately provide for air transportation in an environmentally sensitive and politically transparent manner. The state should act now, and it wouldn't hurt a bit if The Times said so too.

Robert M. Beard

Newport Beach

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