Monday, June 04, 2007

Stop John Wayne Airport Expansion!

This morning the Daily Pilot published a commentary by Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley in which she announced that, at their meeting tomorrow evening, the Costa Mesa City Council will consider an anti-airport expansion resolution she is sponsoring. To read the text of her commentary click here.

I support Foley's vie
w that any incursion by the John Wayne Airport into peripheral properties, such as the back nine holes on the Newport Golf Course or the site of the storage units on Bristol Street near the freeway, will only facilitate expansion of the airport beyond the current growth caps negotiated between the county and the City of Newport Beach.

Although I won't attempt to revive that dead horse, The El Toro Airport, it's worth noting that, instead of utilizing that former Marine flight facility
as a commercial airport, the site will soon become home to the biggest boondoggle in Orange County history - The Great Park. The plans for this "park" include tens of thousands of homes, which will result in a population increase in that area of nearly 100,000 people! Many of those folks will certainly be air travelers, who will certainly avail themselves of John Wayne Airport.

If Costa Mesa does not join Newport Beach in t
heir fight against airport expansion it is likely that very aggressive moves will be made to stretch the existing runways and/or to add one more to facilitate more flights. By stretching the runways the airport will be able to accommodate larger airplanes - the jumbo jets - none of which will be expected to go through the airborne gymnastics currently required of those commercial airliners flying from John Wayne. Nope, those big guys will fly straight toward the ocean without noise reduction requirements (throttling back) and maneuvering to fly down the Back Bay. When they begin to fly, the quality of life for those of us on the Westside of the Back Bay, including Newport Beach's Dover Shores and Costa Mesa's Eastside, will be significantly damaged. Our friends in Tustin, Orange and Villa Park will also suffer from the addition of the large airliners at John Wayne.

If John Wayne Airport is permitted to expand to handle the jumbo jets, like the Boei
ng 747-400 pictured here, for example, it will be catastrophic for our neighborhoods. That plane has a maximum take-off weight of nearly 900,000 pounds and holds around 60,000 gallons of fuel, according to the entry in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

I concur with Foley that it's important for our elected officials to go on record opposing any future expansion at John Wayne Airport. Past council's failure to act responsibly regarding El Toro abetted that perfect site being turned into a "park". We c
annot afford to simply standby and watch this time around. I encourage you to let your city council know just how you feel. You can email them at this address: Further information can be found at the web site for the grass roots organization, Air Fair, at the link I've added to the right, just below Newport Beach.

It's time to wake up and speak up - or begin making plans for your children to suffer significant health problems as the increased jet traffic spews more effluent onto our neighborhoods and playgrounds. The clock is ticking.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that Ms. Foley gets unanimous support from her fellow councilmembers, and that this issue does not get bogged down by the usual politics. It will be interesting to see how the anonymous idiot hyenas who post on other sites react to this. They usually tear anything Foley proposes apart, regardless of merit.

On the El Toro front, I have to take you to task for even bringing it up. Jim Righeimer had to go there in his recent column as well. It makes you all sound petulant - it is done. Deal with it. The same type of measures and lawsuits that limited operations at JWA can be utilized again. There is plenty of regional capacity out there - Ontario, March, etc.

Part of my frustration with the whole El Toro issue is the bald disingenuousness of the argument. We don't want to inflict pollution and noise on Newport Mesa's kids, but we're fine with forever destroying the environment in South County and endangering all those kids with air pollution on a scale many times more than JWA operations? Traffic from 38 millions passengers a year (and intense cargo operations) would have completely grid-locked all of Orange County, yet no one wants to talk about that.

An airport at El Toro would have been a terrible idea for many reasons - traffic, pollution, noise, etc. and JWA is at capacity. Let's stop whining about El Toro and utilize the capacity that we have in Southern California.

6/04/2007 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

rob, I agree - I, too, hope the council takes a unanimous position to fight further expansion of John Wayne Airport.

Regarding El Toro... we will disagree on that one. As it existed before the Great Boondoggle, er, Park was approved, El Toro affected a few homes, but nothing like you envision. I have relatives down there. I resent your insinuation that those of us who argued for that facility offered a "bald disingenuous" argument. The actual footprint of the commercial airport would have only been a teeny part of the existing El Toro facility. There were many plans that showed the overlay - it wouldn't come close to having the impact that the current John Wayne Airport has to it's contiguous neighbors. However, what's done is done. It was still the best place for a new airport. The second best place - probably the best place, if you fold in the requirements of San Diego County into the mix - is a site on Camp Pendleton. It's a location where proximity to residences would never be a problem and could take the pressure off Lindbergh Field and John Wayne.

The issue now is John Wayne and the possibility of further expansion. It will, indeed, be interesting to see what tack our local elected "leaders" take in this one. Mansoor has demonstrated his pettiness by consistently rejecting out of hand any plan proposed by Katrina Foley, regardless of the subject. That's what happens when you elect people to public office that are intellectually and emotionally unprepared for the task.

6/04/2007 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t foresee anyone going against this proposal although I question its meaning and validity. It’s like the LA City Council having a resolution against the Iraq War? What actual teeth does a resolution like that carry? I don’t know what the answer ultimately will be, I know for sure I don’t want expansion, and I know the El Toro alternative would have been far worse, like Rob points out. However, we do live in an ever-growing area and there is always going t be pressure to increase airflow and other transportation means. Finding that balance is going to be the tough part for our generation and the ones to follow.

6/04/2007 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I apologize if my comment was offensive, but I still feel that it is relevant, as many people are STILL vigorously kicking the dead El Toro airport horse. Please let me explain. I feel strongly about the El Toro airport matter, and have been opposing it since its inception. Granted, my opinion is just that - my opinion, and I may be wrong in my assumptions.

JWA is unique in its proximity to homes, I know - I lived in the apartments right next to the golf course. We used to have to pause phone conversations when planes took off. Yes, El Toro is farther away from homes, but homes are still in the flight paths. What I mean by "bald disingenuousness" is that most El Toro proponents in Newport Mesa talk a good game about regional need and economics when in reality they just want JWA gone or limited to civil aviation. They want someone else to have to suffer the impacts of an airport next door, though most never actually SAY that.

While JWA is unquestionably a nuisance to some, El Toro would have been more than 5 times worse from an air pollution standpoint alone. That area would trap fumes on many summer days, making life miserable. Air operations at El Toro were loud, but never as pollutant producing as any large commercial airport. Spend 5 minutes at the AM/PM on Century Blvd. near LAX on a stagnant summer day and take some deep breaths. The jet exhaust is thick and offensive - and LAX is right next to the ocean. El Toro would have been much worse.

If you look at EIRs for housing projects in the El Toro area, traffic is a concern. The developers have good plans for mitigating that traffic, but there is no way the 5/405 could handle commercial airport traffic on top of the planned homes.

The noise would have been incredible as well, and a definite impact on nearby residents. Yes, we deal with it daily, and our fights to limit it demonstrate that it IS a nuisance that needs to be abated to the extent practicable. Why then are we so eager to foist it on our neighbors to the south?

So, in the interest of making Newport-Mesans lives quieter, the good people of Newport-Mesa fought tooth and nail to force a hellish commercial airport on Irvine and the rest of South County. Nice.

I'm not in favor of Camp Pendleton at all. The 241 toll road extension is already trying to reverse conservation easements and run through a state park. The justification? Critical need for EXISTING traffic and future homes. I have been caught in traffic on the 5 between Oceanside and San Clemente that has literally shut the 5 down (wrecks, etc.) The 5 is a nightmare as is on weekends and during commute hours - how would it handle more traffic? From San Diego, it is just as bad, and they have widened it quite a bit. Lindbergh needs relief, true, but Camp Pendleton is a long haul from downtown San Diego. Ontario is roughly the same distance away from OC - why not continue developing that resource?

I am by no means an expert on any of this, just a layman offering an opinion. Thank you for providing the forum!

6/05/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foley does deserve unilateral support on this issue. Unlike the Mayor’s ridiculous attack on traffic management in Costa Mesa, this is something the council can and should put their full weight, girth, mental and emotional energy behind.

As for El Toro; my office is literally right next door to El Toro. I can tell you that the military use of the facility was far noisier than the commercial use at JWA. I am not buying the noise argument at all for killing an airport at ET.

The pollution is in fact a good issue to argue. Having said that, take a look at the buffer space around El Toro and what it would have been compared to the housing and industrial use now going into the great boondoggle (nice name Geoff) and the surrounding buffer space. The EIR's need to be compared to really evaluate the difference between the uses, but I am quite sure the developers are doing all they can to chew up any differential because that is where they make their money. Developed property generates pollution.

In my mind, the South County residents are always worrying about any impact on themselves without making provisions for their own resource requirements. They don't want more freeways, they don't want improved travel to the inland empire, they don’t want an airport near them, they just want their water and as few neighbors as they can get.

If they want to fly, make them travel to Ontario and leave JWA to those in North County. Then they can live with their own traffic and air travel nightmare.

6/05/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ron - Anna Winship said...

Congratulations to the Costa Mesa
City Council for passing the Foley
supported proposal to protect the
Back Nine of the Golf Course and
for Sports Fields in place of the
Storage Facilities near the airport. Good work by one and all!

6/06/2007 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Thanks, Winships. This one was a no-brainer - nobody around here wants to see John Wayne expand. Now, if we could just get our good buddies over in Newport to pass a similar resolution to discourage the use of the site of the current Bristol Street Mini Storage as parking it would be dandy! Costa Mesa has been working for a couple years, trying to get the county to agree to let our city use that site for lighted playing fields - something that would benefit Newport kids in AYSO 97, too.

6/06/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


El Toro USMC operations were extremely loud, but far less frequent than a commercial airport operating round the clock. My noise concerns are not founded on any factual knowledge, just from magnifying the noise I hear from JWA.

I also wholeheartedly agree that many South County residents have a world view that only encompasses South County. Their bedroom communities and quiet are sacrosanct, but they still want to use all of our facilities. Unfortunately, I think the El Toro airport would have negatively impacted us as well. Moot point now.

6/08/2007 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Thanks to all who participated on this entry. The vote was taken and the city has agreed to prepare a resolution to the Board of Supervisors opposing any use of both the back nine holes of the Newport Beach Golf Course and the site of the current Bristol Street Mini-Storage as an airport-related use. I have no idea what good that will do in light of the fact that the rental car companies are the driving (pardon the pun) force behind this idea. Unfortunately, in politics, money talks and somebody has to pay for the renovations to Moorlach's offices, right? Keep your fingers crossed.

6/08/2007 06:56:00 PM  

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