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Righting some alleged wrongs about El Toro

July 17, 2004

I am writing in response to Douglas Blaul's incorrect statements

regarding El Toro Airport ("Burbank can learn from O.C.'s history,"

June 16). Mr. Blaul asserts that Newport Beach's interest in El Toro

Airport was to close John Wayne Airport and move airport operations

to El Toro.

The growing population in Southern California will require more

airport capacity. This is not brain surgery -- it's called planning

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ahead. John Wayne can serve domestic passengers and El Toro can

handle the international flights -- much like Van Nuys or Burbank

airports complement LAX. El Toro is a federal property owned by the

federal taxpayers. The best reuse of this airbase is an airport to

serve the national interest.

The public was never given an opportunity to discern the benefits

of an airport because a lawsuit filed by the El Toro Reuse Planning

Authority tried to stop the county of Orange from sending out

educational mailers on this crucial land-use decision. ETRPA was

successful in their endeavor because it was only until after the

election that the judge ruled against ETRPA -- unfortunately too late

for the voters. After various study groups, political consultants

came up with Measure W, the so-called "great park," because they

could "sell" the voters on a park versus an airport. Who couldn't --

wouldn't we all like our airports to be parks? Measure W was a

deceptive initiative -- it is a massive development with open-space

parks.

Finally, regarding Mr. Blaul's false statements regarding Rex

Ricks' involvement with El Toro: I know Mr. Ricks personally. Mr.

Ricks initially supported the non-aviation plan for El Toro. He

became involved in the El Toro debate only when South County

residents -- and specifically those activists that frequent the

anti-El Toro Airport website, www.eltoroairport.org, suggested

ramping up flights at Long Beach to accommodate the future aviation

demands they know will come. Although he lives in the flight path of

Long Beach and I live in the flight path of John Wayne Airport,

neither one of us supported the County Airport layout plan for El

Toro. Both of us opposed the County plan because it defied the laws

of physics and common sense.

The County plan called for flights to take off north of El Toro

into oncoming traffic, and to take off east with tailwinds over a

large number of South County cities (hence the opposition both from

South County residents and airline pilots). Both of us support the

Pilots' V Plan, which eliminates the east-west runway and modifies

the existing north-south runway to take advantage of the 100,000

acres of permanent open space that can be utilized for flight

patterns -- see www.ocxeltoro.com.

We hope that the Department of Defense will come to their senses

and realize that billions in taxpayers' money have already been

wasted closing an active military base. They need to stop the

hemorrhaging and lease this important airbase to Los Angeles World

Airports in the national interest with an airport design modeled

after the Pilots' Plan.

ANN WATT

TNMG, Inc. a 501(c)4

NonProfit Social Welfare Corp.

Better Plans Taking Flight

Newport Beach

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