Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mr. U. Know-Who Is Right - For Once

I suppose I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I've agreed with The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa over at the CM Press. Although I've never failed to acknowledge that he's one smart dude, his views on most subjects are diametrically opposed to mine - and we both state that emphatically as we go about trying to influence the hearts and minds of Costa Mesans.


However, today in his CM Press #391, he points out an article written by Leonard Kranser, my old nemesis in the El Toro Airport fights, which ran in the Orange County Register today. You can read Kranser's article HERE.

Our Neighbor over at the CM Press is right on this issue. Of course, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. He is correct that we should be pursuing the creation of an intercontinental airport on the grounds of Camp Pendleton that could serve both Orange County and San Diego to bleed off the overwhelming traffic from both airports.

While we still have several years until the agreement that imposes the existing caps on flights expires, it's clear to anyone paying attention that John Wayne Airport is gearing up for more, more, more. This is not good news for any resident of either Costa Mesa or Newport Beach because the impacts of any "logical" expansion will decimate our neighborhoods. Of course, those of us on the Eastside of Costa Mesa will share the greatest impact with our good neighbors over in the Dover Shores area of Newport Beach, who already feel the impact of the flights most severely.

So, I agree with our pal at the CM Press that we need to get moving on an alternative to the expansion of John Wayne Airport to meet our growing air transportation needs. We were bamboozled out of the perfect location - El Toro - by a bunch of organized South County whiners, with Kranser leading the way. That place could still become the airport we need, since virtually no progress is being made on the "Great Park" and the important infrastructure still exists.


The Costa Mesa City Council has said they are going to work closely with their counterparts in Newport Beach to fend off John Wayne expansion. So far, all we've heard is talk. Those that think everything is hunky-dory because the cap agreement is still in place are living in a fantasy world. Those years will zip right past and we'll find ourselves reading tail numbers from 500 feet away before too long.
We cannot afford to let any time pass before serious work is done finding an alternative. Camp Pendleton seems to be the right choice.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like hell froze over!

6/12/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoff, we have gone back and forth on this before, and you have yet to address the painfully obvious and, in my opinion, fatal flaws in the airport at Camp Pendleton scheme. Millard wants one, so he will simply state that it is a must, regardless of fact or reason. He has never stated any facts in support of his opinion, and unless he was actually stationed at MCB Camp Pendleton, his opinion on base operations is literally moot. Claiming that a commercial airport within Pendleton's footprint would have no impact on Marine operations is simply laughable.

Military operations, traffic impacts, infrastructure and topography - just to hit the highlights - all render Camp Pendleton a non-starter. Alternate, already developed and operating airports with more than adequate infrastructure in place exist today.

The very northern tip of Camp Pendleton is 35 miles from Costa Mesa. Distance from the 5 to an actual airport would be 40 miles at least. Oceanside is 49 miles from Costa Mesa. Ontario is 40 miles from Costa Mesa. March AFB is 54 miles from Costa Mesa.

The math does not lie, yet pie-in-the-sky airport-at-Pendleton folks have never yet addressed those simple and telling numbers.

Spending billions to create an airport out of thin air at Pendleton would be an unconscionable waste of taxpayer money when other, underutilized airports virtually the same distance from Costa Mesa are up and running.

6/12/2008 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...


Yes, we have discussed this in the past. And, yes, you're correct about the proximity of neighboring airports. You neglected to include LAX, which is about the same distance as Ontario. Automobile traffic to either Ontario or March - which will not be a commercial passenger airport - would be horrendous.

As I stated in my entry, Camp Pendleton works because it's roughly equidistant from Lindberg Field and John Wayne. It could support a proper intercontinental airport serving both San Diego and Orange counties. It would take a snippet of the base - an almost inconsequential amount of space.

Friday, the 13th - probably today when you read this - AirFair is holding an event at the new Santa Ana Heights fire station on Acacia in the Back Bay to discuss the use of high speed rail. I will be unable to attend. It's at 11 according to the information I have. Check the link on the right side of my home page for the information.

Seven years is all we have before the caps at John Wayne are lifted. That's not much time to get a workable plan together. Until someone can convince me that a good alternative exists, I'm sticking with the old jarhead at the CM Press on this one.

6/12/2008 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The beauty of Pendleton is not the proximity to Costa Mesa, but the proximity to the growing population in south Orange County and northern San Diego County.

Unfortunately, I believe the experts that I have spoken with that tell me Pendleton is topographically incompatible with an airport without significant earth reorganization AND alleged issues dealing with some endangered species on base.

All of that is assuming the Marines went along; which they won't willingly. That means we would have to have greater pull in Washington than the defense department.

Now, let me see. The war in Iraq has the Dems pissed off at the Republicans and Orange County is.... let me check the numbers here... yep, still predominately Republican! On top of that, Newport Beach is the most impacted and it is... yep, the most Republican! If that isn't convincing enough, it is obvious we don't even have enough pull to get the back bay dredging payed for. I label this one hopeless. Sorry.

6/13/2008 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce and Rob,

I do appreciate your reasoned viewpoints. You both may be correct, but this certainly won't be the first (or last) battle I lose. El Toro was painful! However, this time I'll be in "good" company... :-) :-)

Lumpy Mike, did you ever get heat stroke and frost bite at the same time? Brrrr.... :-)

6/13/2008 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoff, your points on the proximity to San Diego and traffic are accurate - but they actually bolster the argument against Camp Pendleton as the location for a new airport! While we have multiple freeways, the only game in town for Camp Pendleton International would be the 5 - already terribly congested and with absolutely nowhere to grow. Millard insultingly dismisses the topographical facts Bruce has brought up, without any facts in rebuttal! However, Bruce is dead on! I've spent a lot of time traversing those hills, canyons and gulleys - there isn't a suitable flat spot anywhere - except for the existing Marine Corps airfield.

San Diego has been trying in vain for decades to locate a spot for a new airport, and they have FAR more open land in their county. Dropping one in Pendleton is simply a pipe dream when viewed in this light.

If the 5 can magically accomodate more traffic - so can the 55, 91, 10, 60, 215, etc.

LAX is actually very easy to get in and out of. I fly out of there fairly often, and when I don't have friends or family to drop me off or pick me up, immediately adjacent airport parking is $8/day - cheaper than JWA.

Thanks for the debate - I know that we must do something to ease pressure on JWA, but I truly believe that pushing Camp Pendleton will be a costly and time-sonsuming failure that will ultimately leave us with a larger JWA.

6/13/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Irvine to deny even the most tiny amount of air traffic out of El Toro is simply a way to stick it to Newport Beach. This would be as if NPB was on fire or had a huge riot and Irvine refused to send in police or fire to help out. The fact is Irvine has HATED Newport for several decades.

El Toro was not a threat to their city. (If the layouts are done the RIGHT WAY.) In fact, more residents in Irvine are closer to John Wayne than El Toro. The thing is Irvine KNOWS by denying any use of El Toro, they are denying relief for John Wayne.

Therefore, the cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa should take what I would call the "suicide bomber" approach.

Tell Irvine if they don't step up to the plate and help share with El Toro, then Newport Beach and Costa Mesa will arrange for massive buyout from LAWA (operator of LAX, Van Nuys, Ontario, and Palmdale.) LAWA was willing to pay 2 billion just to LEASE El Toro, NOT own it! They were looking at dropping almost $10 billion to merely reconfigure LAX as opposed to adding capacity.

Now were NPB and CM to offer up their cities to LAWA for several billion they would take it. So all the residential areas would have to be cleared out. (With generous buyouts for all residents of course.) Then the fun begins. NPB and CM agree to allow unlimited 24/7 expansion. They rezone their cities for prisons, refineries, deep water ports, spent plutonium storage, you name it. Turn the area into the hugest ghetto possible. Especially right next to "master planned Irvine".

I am sure that the state and the DOD would pay very good money for additional prison space, and a place to bury nuclear waste. Now of course this Times Beach of the West Coast would be entirely non-residential as they have been bought out.

Orange County would have a mega international airport in the middle of it along with a mega ghetto. If Irvine will not help El Toro, then Newport and Costa Mesa pull the grenade and let their portion of OC completely go to hell.

All Irvine should do is just a limited reasonable amount at El Toro. That way neither JWA or El Toro is overly burdened. Simply share the load. But Irvine will never agree to that unless they have something to lose such as the threat of a "suicide bomber" John Wayne airport proposal hanging over their head.

6/14/2008 09:55:00 PM  

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