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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

L.A. Chimes In on Airport Debate

June 22, 2003

Re "L.A. and O.C. Rev Up Fight Over El Toro," June 10:

While I admire their chutzpah in trying to alleviate their problems by forcing their will on a whole group of people who cannot vote for them, it seems the time may have finally come for Los Angeles politicians, and all Californians, to think outside the ballot box. Most communities, Orange County included, are not willing to take on the detrimental consequences of having a major airport in their backyard, period.

It is time to look past the quick-fix "commercial airport" solution to less polluting, less intrusive and more decentralized means of increasing capacity. A huge percentage of California air travel is within California or between California and adjoining states. Developing good alternatives to air travel would go a long way to alleviating the load on all California airports.

What about the bullet train? On a good day it takes four hours to travel by air, door to door, from Orange County to San Francisco. A fast train could easily beat that, and with far less stress and frustration. Or consider a "Chunnel" type train. How much time, air traffic, highway traffic and pollution would be spared if one could drive a car or freight truck onto a train that travels from San Diego to Oregon? Yes, regional and statewide leadership is definitely needed to craft solutions for the future that improve the quality of life for Californians, not destroy it.

Lindsey Davis

Laguna Niguel

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This Newport Beach resident loves L.A. for the offer to operate an airport at the El Toro Marine Base. It's time Irvine NIMBYs learn to "share the air."

The runway at John Wayne Airport is among the shortest of any commercial airport in the world. El Toro has a buffer zone and John Wayne doesn't. At El Toro, there would be no deceleration upon takeoff as there is at John Wayne.

It is time for everyone to share the benefits and burdens of convenient air travel here in Orange County.

Many in our surrounding communities, who didn't want to listen to their Costa Mesa and Newport Beach neighbors, are finally "listening" to the air space above them.

Irvine residents love to fly out of Orange County and plop down in those seats only 15 minutes from their home.

When they were growing up, didn't anyone teach them to share?

Vicki Zimmerman

Newport Beach

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Groups trying to limit expansion of Los Angeles International Airport have focused temporarily on El Toro as an answer to their problem.

Build an airport there, they claim, to absorb Orange County's "fair share" of airport demand.

This flies in the face of the fact that Orange County is nearly built out.

There are plans for 36,000 to 42,000 additional homes and condominiums in the county, but from a regional perspective, that's a drop in the bucket.

Major population growth in the region will be in northern L.A County and in the Inland Empire. Orange County will not be a major source of future airport demand.

Len Gardner

Laguna Woods

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