Monday, August 30, 2010

"The Mouth" Touts Camp Pendleton

On Tuesday our old pal, The Mouth From Mesa North - writing with one of his many pen names, M.H. Millard - has a commentary appearing in the Daily Pilot suggesting using a little, teeny piece of Camp Pendleton for a new regional airport. You can read the commentary HERE.

As most of you know, there are few issues on which M. H. Millard and I agree, but he's got this one right. Heck, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

We missed the opportunity to create a regional airport at El Toro even though the voters said very clearly three times that was their preference. Only after the south county whiners finally got there way after the fourth election was that most perfect piece of real estate relegated to become even more homes. Years later that land still sits dormant, with only Larry Agran's big orange balloon as a sign of any kind of progress for all that time and money that's been spent.

Of course, from that balloon, 400 feet above the ground, you can look down at those still-pristine runways that are currently used to store boxed trees and recreational vehicles and fantasize about how great it would be to see commercial jets flying people and cargo around the world from Orange County

Millard is correct that it might be fairly simple to carve out a small slice of Camp Pendleton and create the kind of airport so necessary to relieve the load from not only John Wayne Airport, but Lindbergh Field in San Diego, too.

Rail lines already connect San Diego with Orange County, so traveling to an airport at Camp Pendleton would be a snap for travelers without placing significant additional burden on already-crowded freeways.

The question now is, "Did we wait too long?" The current expansion of John Wayne does not bode well for those of us already subjected to the daily strafing by low-flying jets. Once the caps currently in place are removed in a couple years there will be extreme pressure to build a longer runway to accommodate even larger airplanes, which means that parts of Eastside Costa Mesa and the Dover Shores area of Newport Beach will become unlivable.

If you need a reminder, this photo is of Playa del Rey, just west of Los Angeles International Airport. To accommodate the expansion of LAX, between 1965 and 1975 822 homes were vacated and over 2,000 people were relocated.
Now it the time to pick up Millard's gauntlet and begin pressuring our representatives in Washington, D.C. to consider a major regional airport at Camp Pendleton.

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Anonymous lumpy said...

I think I hear ice crystals forming in hell. It must have frozen over.

8/31/2010 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I think that's likely. First Steve Smith and I support Mansoor and his "Arabness", and now I agree with The Mouth...

8/31/2010 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I love the "Let's just build an airport at Pendleton" argument.

I had a great discussion on that plan with a member of the regional airport planning commission and consultant to the FAA on airport planning.

If you thought there were obstacles to building one at El Toro, Pendleton makes that idea seem like a walk in the great pork.

A more practical idea would be to leverage Ontario. Put in high speed rail and check in counters here, then drop you off at your gate there.

Once you prove that the concept of remote airports can be economically implemented, the door opens for other locations that would require building a new airport.

8/31/2010 09:45:00 AM  
Anonymous MCB Camp Pendleton Realist said...

This is pure fantasy, and it blows my mind that people with a brain actually think this is a viable option! Millard claims that he was a Marine, and yet he still pushes this nonsense?

Seriously, every time I hear someone float this lunatic scheme, I have to fight hard to not laugh in their face.

Lets be clear about this - IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

Why waste political capital on a hare-brained idea like this? Bruce is right - leverage Ontario, which exists now, has the infrastructure and none of the noise constraints. It sits in the middle of five freeways and multiple railways, and is surrounded by Metrolink stations. It would be far easier to build a spur to Ontario than an airport at Camp Pendleton. There is a huge airport waiting for utilization in Riverside if Ontario doesn't suit your fancy.

Pendleton is constrained by the 15 and 5 freeways, two of the most congested and isolated freeways in the state. Whenever there is any significant accident on the 5 between San Clemente and Oceanside, the entire freeway is shut down, and there are NO alternatives. The congestion is a constant reality. Yes, there is a single rail line, but it is already heavily utilized. Camp Pendleton's topography is inhospitable to an international airport, and has many environmentally sensitive areas that the Marines work around. It has limited infrastructure and every single square inch of airport infrastructure would have to be built from scratch - in or adjacent to the Coastal Zone - at HUGE expense.

Lets not foget those boys and girls in green and khaki with the tanks, artillery pieces, LAVs, helicopters, Ospreys, etc. and their friends in blue and gray with their fighters, ships and LCACs. If you really think that DoD is going to give up one of the two main US training bases for the USMC, or allow a bunch of aircraft to interfere with their vital training in wartime, you and Millard really are a couple of very simple, silly fellows.

8/31/2010 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

MCPCPR, and yet this "simple, silly fellow" provides you a forum on which you can vent your spleen. How about that? I wonder if you'd do the same?

Yes, we have regional airports with unused capacity and, yes, it's possible to try to find ways to use them better - but nothing his happening toward that end! In the meantime, John Wayne continues to expand it's terminal capacity when the runways and caps won't permit the traffic needed to fill up those terminals.

I'm glad you participated here - my door is always open...

8/31/2010 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous MCB Camp Pendleton Realist said...

Pot Stirrer, thank you for the forum. If you really care about the potential for JWA to get too large, the answer to the capacity problem is an existing airport, not a hare-brained scheme like building an airport from scratch in an isolated environmentally sensitive coastal area with inadequate infrastructure and the United States Marine Corps as impediments. Even if the DoD welcomed the idea - which it does not - the approvals, design, environmental impact process and subsequent litigation ensure that it would be at least 10 years before a single shoveful of dirt was turned on a new airport at Camp Pendleton.

It is a silly idea and wouldn't relieve pressure on JWA for 15 years. By then, JWA may already have runways over the 73 and a parking lot at the golf course.

If the actual goal is reducing JWA traffic and improving the quality of life in the Newport-Mesa area, Ontario and March are far better options. Bruce's HS Rail idea is great. Get tickets and check bags here and board the plane in Ontario! Brilliant - and feasible.

Wasting precious time and effort on the looney Camp Pendleton scheme is the surest way to perpetuate JWA.

8/31/2010 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

MCBCPR, I'll look for your comments in a letter to the editor in the Daily Pilot...

8/31/2010 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Humberto said...

I thought Millard was smarter than this. As a marine he should know more than anyone else that we have two nuclear reactors a few miles from Camp Pendleton. They provide electricity to us. An airport in that area would make us a huge target for terrorists. Millard, you're totally wrong on this one, like most things you do in life.

8/31/2010 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

My son, the environmental geologist, says that Pendleton is riddled with dangerous underground waste, which would cost gazillions to remove. That's why the property lies "dormant" and will for decades to come.

8/31/2010 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous edribose said...

This discussion is absurd. Do your homework! Go back and look at the military responses to this tired idea when the El Toro airport debate was raging. There will NEVER be an airport in Camp Pendleton. This option is dead.

9/01/2010 07:02:00 AM  

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