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Mailbag: El Toro could be international airport

September 16, 2010

Stephen Stewart's letter provides his partisan beliefs about air traffic in Orange County ("Sounding Off: El Toro airport would have been a loser," Sept. 2).

Stewart asserts that since John Wayne Airport (JWA) traffic is down 8% (due to the recession), this proves that there was no need for a larger airport at El Toro. This reasoning does not include all the facts. JWA is a small airport with a single 5700-foot runway that can accommodate only medium-sized airplanes. El Toro has two 10,000-foot runways and two 8,000-foot runways (they are still there), which can handle the largest planes. El Toro could be a major international airport.

Like the rest of California, Orange County is in a slump with rising unemployment, unsold houses and foreclosures. As an international airport El Toro could provide steady, continuous growth. Rather than costing millions, El Toro, like most airports, would be a money-maker.

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Stewart has a problem with the facts. He warns that planes out of El Toro's two runways would fly west over Newport Beach. Wrong! The plan for El Toro, signed by both the Federal Aviation Administration and the Navy, had all departures going east and north-east.

Opposition to expansion of John Wayne Airport is because the flight paths are directly over residential neighborhoods, the upper bay, an ecological site, Newport Bay and the beach. Airport noise and exhaust hydrocarbons constitute a degradation of a unique environment.

Despite his enthusiasm for the balloon ride, the "Great Park," after 10 years of ballyhoo, is a contaminated, undeveloped, acreage of a closed airport. Stewart's problem is that he still believes propaganda.

Esther Fine

Newport Beach

Independent had good restaurant review

You announced that you are going to report on Irvine news in the future ("Daily Pilot to cover Irvine," Sept. 12). You had always said that you covered the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa communities only. It did for some years, but more and more, articles regarding other communities showed up on your pages over the last few weeks: Anaheim, Irvine, Orange, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, and Sunset Beach, and even that most disgusting article about the item found in a soup bowl in a Mission Viejo restaurant.

Doesn't Newport Beach/Costa Mesa have enough good restaurants? Your Gossiping Gourmet columnists have touted restaurants in Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach and Dana Point the last three weeks. They should have visited the newly opened True Food Kitchen. The Newport Beach Independent beat the Daily Pilot on this. They had a great review.

Jane Hilgendorf

Corona del Mar

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