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Columnist twisted facts in attack on ROAR

September 16, 2000

In regard to the front-page column on Restore Our Airport Rights in

the Aug. 26 edition of the Leader ("ROAR plan destined to fail again").

The columnist mentions that those of us involved in ROAR have a record

of getting one thing after another seriously, egregiously wrong. To me,

the initial ROAR initiative failed on a technicality. A technicality,

much like the City Council encountered when letters regarding airport

expansion were mailed to Glendale and Pasadena residents.

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The city had abundant, tax paid legal advice and yet still erred by

printing each council members handwritten signature on the letters. A

technicality, just like the failure of the original initiative to state

the actual names of the proponents instead of simply listing ROAR as the

sponsor.

Let's talk about what the columnist either got seriously, egregiously

wrong, or twisted so badly that it might as well be wrong. First, he

states that the ROAR initiative cannot accomplish a curfew and limited

airport expansion. Is he right? Well sort of, the ROAR initiative cannot

guarantee a curfew and cap on flights. What it does guarantee is that a

new, larger, terminal cannot be built unless a curfew and caps on flights

are in place.

The columnist states that the ROAR initiative would unintentionally

allow a 70% boost in the number of commercial jets using the airport. Is

he right? Not really, the initiative calls for both a 10% cap on aircraft

operations and a 10% cap on the number of passengers. In theory, if all

the small planes were barred from using the airport it would be possible

to see a 70% increase in commercial flights. But, since there is a 10%

cap on passengers, if the airlines increased their flights by 70% their

load factor would drop down from the 60% to the 40% range. Has anyone

ever heard of an airline operating profitably at a 40% load factor?

The columnist states that claims of property values "plunging" with an

expanded airport have been discredited. Discredited when, and by whom,

and with what credentials? The columnist does not say. Let's talk about

someone with credentials, Richard Bell. Bell has an MBA in real estate

from UCLA and has an impressive list of credentials as an appraiser. In a

1997 letter to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Bell notes his

findings in a preliminary analysis of what would happen to housing values

if an airport were opened at El Toro.

The basis for Bell's analysis was a comparison of the prices of homes

located near LAX, John Wayne and Ontario Airports. The decrease in

property values due to proximity to an airport ranged from 15.1% to

42.6%. The average decrease was 27.4%. I wonder if the columnists home

has dropped in value by 27.4%, or even 15.1%, if he would consider this a

"plunge" in value?

The columnist mentions ROAR's "utter lack of credibility." Has he

looked in a mirror recently?

RON VANDERFORD

Burbank

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