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Supervisor Coad Should Rescind Her El Toro Vote

June 30, 2002

Re: "Coad Threat to Base's Future" editorial, June 16:

Supervisor Cynthia Coad was acting responsibly in trying to ensure a small degree of equity between north Orange County cities, which have 75% of the population and few parks, and South County cities, which have 40 times the park acreage with one-fourth the population. But even with an "ironclad" agreement, North County cities would never see the park money.

However, the crux of your argument is that Coad should vote to turn over control of the former El Toro Marine base to Irvine so that Irvine can annex the land and also control the surrounding unincorporated land.

For the county to turn over control of this large tract of land to Irvine would be an abdication of the county's responsibility. Since the authority of Measure W is by no means assured, the county must retain control of the former base until the lawsuit against Measure W is resolved. Coad must rescind her vote turning over the base to Irvine and the developers.

Shirley Conger

Corona del Mar

*

Poor Gary Simon, the former county El Toro project manager. He lost his lucrative position trying to peddle an unwanted and unneeded airport at El Toro and now complains in his letter of June 23 that "only about 10% of the Orange County population voted to reject the airport plan. That small percentage made a land-use decision for the entire county."

Playing Simon's irrelevant numbers game, we can state unequivocally that only 7% of the Orange County population voted for an airport at El Toro on March 5. The low turnout in the primary election of March 2002 cannot be compared with the higher vote in the general election of November 1994, but the countywide vote for Measure A that mandated an airport won by a slim 2% of the vote--51% to 49%--compared with the repeal of Measure A by a margin of 16 percentage points with the passage of Measure W by a vote of 58% to 42%. To say that the 297,735 votes for Measure W represents only 10% of Orange County's 2.9 million residents is silly.

Apparently, Measure A land-use planning--51% to 49%--is acceptable to Simon; but Measure W--58% to 42%--is not.

In any event, under the federal Base Realignment and Closure Act, how to use a closed military base must be decided primarily by the residents living near the facility.

The 10 cities making up the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority are adjacent to El Toro and voted overwhelmingly to repeal Measure A on March 5. Aliso Viejo voters approved Measure W by a vote of 93.9%; Laguna Woods, 92.8%; Lake Forest, 92.4%; Laguna Niguel, 92.4%; Rancho Santa Margarita, 90.4%; Laguna Hills, 89.8%; Mission Viejo, 88.8%, Laguna Beach, 88.2%, Irvine, 86.0% and Dana Point, 82.6%.

Does Simon believe the 59% pro-airport vote in Yorba Linda should be given the same weight as the 90% anti-airport vote in the cities surrounding El Toro?

In ruling against Measure F, which received a 67% favorable vote in 2000, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge S. James Otero stated, "Should the citizens of the county of Orange not wish to proceed with the building of an airport at the El Toro facility, they can seemingly accomplish this in a variety of ways, including the passage of an initiative repealing Measure A." That is why Measure W--an initiative to repeal Measure A--was put on the ballot, and that is why lawsuits to overturn Measure W will fail.

Dave Blodgett

Member,

Airport Site Coalition

Study Group of 1988-89

Laguna Woods

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Re: "Navy Target of El Toro Lawsuit, June 20:

The same group of zealots that has been trying for years to force airport development at El Toro knows no shame. Now, when our nation is at war with terrorism and under threat of attack, the group sues the Navy, the Department of Defense and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The group is piqued that the voters of Orange County had the temerity to reject the county's ill-conceived plan for a commercial airport at El Toro, and that the Navy says it will abide by the will of the voters. This lawsuit is supported by the Orange County Regional Airport Authority and, through it, the taxpayers in the cities that make up the authority: Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Placentia, Seal Beach, Stanton, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda. It's time for the people in those cities to pull the plug on this lawsuit and the authority.

Len Gardner

Laguna Woods

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