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El Toro Airport Plan Waves Red Flag at O.C.

June 10, 2003

Re "L.A. Asks for Airport at El Toro," June 6: Silly me! I was one of those naive south Orange County voters who assumed that a 58% vote against the establishment of a commercial airport at El Toro would actually lay the issue to rest. Now, arrogant Los Angeles airport commissioners and self-serving north Orange County representatives are reportedly teaming up to nullify the votes of our community and build one anyway.

Anyone who has bought a home in Inglewood or Newport Beach/Costa Mesa during the last several decades has known that an airport and its accompanying pollutants were part of the package. In contrast, people who have bought homes in south Orange County have done so specifically because of its clean and healthful quality of life, in no small part due to the absence of the air/noise/traffic pollution intrinsic in an airport -- even if it meant a long commute to get to an airport when they needed one. For people who live elsewhere to have the right to negate the votes and the quality of life chosen by an entire community is the ultimate insult to democracy. What are we coming to?

Alitta Kullman

Laguna Hills

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As former executive director of the El Toro Local Redevelopment Authority, and having personally worked on El Toro airport planning for over five years, I would like to point out some compelling arguments for supporting this initiative.

An El Toro airport represents a safe, convenient, low-cost option for Southern California that can be operational in temporary facilities within 12 to 18 months. The environmental impacts at El Toro are manageable. There are virtually no homes within the existing 14,000-acre noise buffer zone that surrounds the 4,700-acre site.

El Toro is bordered by four highways and Amtrak -- very easy ground access already in place. Operating El Toro as a commercial airport would improve air quality and traffic in the region due to the decrease in diesel trucks carrying air cargo to and from LAX each day.

There is no land to purchase (already owned by the feds) and the runways are already built. The Federal Aviation Administration has already approved safe aircraft arrival and departure procedures for an El Toro airport. It can be designed and built as a state-of-the art airport with all the latest in aviation security. Its close proximity to the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton makes it a great backup military airfield.

Let's show full support to our elected officials for this bold move. They will need it.

Gary Simon

Huntington Beach

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So Los Angeles has secretly asked the federal government to let it operate a commercial airport at El Toro, next to our homes. It can now be revealed that, in turn, we have secretly asked the feds to allow us to operate a garbage dump across from its City Hall.

Volney V. Brown Jr.

Dana Point

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Kudos to Mayor James Hahn and Los Angeles World Airports for fighting shortsighted NIMBY provincialism with regional leadership in their bid to lease El Toro. Bring down the Orange Curtain! And while you're at it, tack a service charge onto every ticket sold to an Orange County ZIP Code for an LAX flight. We can use the dough to build L.A.'s next great international airport!

David Kay

Los Angeles

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