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Council OKs $1.25 million for El Toro

December 14, 1999

Noaki Schwartz

NEWPORT BEACH -- City Council members Monday night approved spending

$1.25 million in money not included in this year's budget to support

turning the former El Toro Marine base into a commercial airport.

In order to award the grants to two pro-airport activist groups, council

members agreed to reduce the city's operating expenses by $350,000, use

about $450,000 in anticipated bankruptcy recovery disbursements and use

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$450,000 in projected extra revenue.

The grants will be divided between Citizens for Jobs and the Economy,

which will get $750,000, and the Airport Working Group, which will get

$500,000. The money will be used to distribute information throughout the

Orange County community on the benefits of building an airport at El

Toro, said Councilman Dennis O'Neil.

"The City Council has been very thoughtful in how we've distributed these

grants," said Councilwoman Norma Glover, adding that the city has given

more than $2 million since the grant program was started last year. The

City Council supports an international airport at El Toro in order to

avoid expansion of John Wayne Airport to meet future air transportation

needs.

Glover also pointed out that what the city of Newport Beach has set aside

for the airport is much less than what cities opposed to El Toro have

spent on the battle. She said that figure is hovering around $14 million.

After the unanimous vote, the 40 or so people who packed the City

Council's chambers in support of the issue roared into applause.

"Now is not the time to stop, but to keep going," said Westcliff resident

Tom Anderson.

Airport Working Group President Tom Naughton thanked the council members

for all their support.

In other news, a presentation from the ad-hoc committee supporting an

Arts and Education Center behind the Central Library was continued

indefinitely. Council members were not given a reason for the last-minute

cancellation.

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