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Courts Rule on El Toro, but Debate Still Rages

September 29, 2002

Re "Vote to Zone El Toro as Park Upheld," Sept. 19:

It's time for El Toro airport activists to give up the ghost. The court decision on Measure W was clear: The people have a right to rezone via the initiative process, and Measure W's wording was not misleading.

The El Toro wars have always and only been about shifting the burden of an airport from Newport Beach to the communities around El Toro. The issue of a need for a second Orange County airport is a joke.

Four countywide votes have been taken. Measures A and S were for an airport but were taken before the county environmental studies were released and publicly debated. The last two measures, F and W, were taken after lengthy public debate and went decidedly against an airport. More recent polls show airport support dwindling even further.

Michael Smith

Mission Viejo

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The judge has spoken! Fifty-eight percent of Orange County voters supported a Great Park at El Toro. That's a majority, and in a democracy the majority rules. While the pro-airport Newport Beach attorneys will always feel that money, power and the ability to litigate trumps majority rule, I'll gladly take the more idealized view that all of our voices matter.

The reasons for killing an El Toro airport have never been stronger. Measure W is clear, fair and the law of the land. The demand for air travel has entered a long-term slump. A high-speed California train network is on the drawing board. The Navy's auction of the Tustin marine base is generating enormous sale values per acre, and Irvine's plan provides similar returns at El Toro, while keeping 84% of the land for public parks and educational, recreational and cultural uses.

Jaysen Gillespie

Irvine

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Re "Small Cities Wheeling and Dealing to Land Discount Airlines--for Jobs and Tourists," Sept. 18:

The article highlights the stark contrast between small cities like Wichita and south Orange County. All of these cities are engaged in fierce struggles to attract discount airlines to their airports to bring in tourists and associated jobs and increase competition among carriers to reduce air fares, thus encouraging existing businesses to remain in their towns. The cities are supplying subsidies, using taxpayer-funded ad campaigns, setting up marketing partnerships to entice discount fare carriers, and providing amenities for prospective airlines, all at considerable expense.

In South County the 600,000 residents of that "city" have waged an incessant campaign against an El Toro airport, saying it will ruin their quality of life. So instead of working to improve the business climate in South County, that "city" is trying to throw out an existing $50-million, well-planned airport. Instead of trying to improve the operating climate for existing tourist and entrepreneurial activities with easy access to the flying public, they want to remove any possibility of assistance.

The bottom line is that without El Toro, the growth of both north and south Orange County will be slowed and residents' buying power will be reduced. South County will be unhealthy, quiet and, when the developers complete their build-out, known as Levittown West, after the large, planned tract community on Long Island, N.Y.

William Kearns

Costa Mesa

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