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Rename Airport? Let's Not Go There

Supervisor drops his idea of replacing 'John Wayne' with 'The O.C.'

June 11, 2004|Stuart Pfeifer | Times Staff Writer

An Orange County supervisor's idea to rename John Wayne Airport after a prime-time soap opera called "The O.C." lasted about as long as one of the show's short-lived romances.

Two days after suggesting a name change to capitalize on the show's popularity and help give the county a hip, marketable image, Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby said maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all.

"Let's just say it was a trial balloon. It crashed and burned," Norby said. "With all the priorities we have, it is not going to be one of ours."

Norby's staff was besieged with e-mail and telephone complaints in the two days since he floated the idea at a board meeting and in interviews with reporters. He never proposed the idea formally and said he certainly wouldn't now after seeing the reception it received.

"I think people are happy with John Wayne Airport," Norby said. "I'm happy with it too."

The supervisor sent out an e-mail response to critics Thursday, indicating that he did not intend to pursue the name change.

John Wayne's son, Ethan, said he was not happy that Norby proposed the idea in the first place.

"I don't think he'll be coming up with any more ideas like that," Ethan Wayne said. "I think my dad stood for a lot more than this new TV show does. Nothing bad about this new TV show. But 72 years representing something, I think that's more important than a fad."

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