Daily Pilot 4/18/08
By Joseph N. Bell
Some weeks ago, speaking at a dinner sponsored by the Airport Working Group, County Supervisor John Moorlach allowed as how I was “whipping up issues when there aren’t any.”
He was referring to a column I wrote urging that the people deeply concerned at the prospect of future growth of air traffic out of John Wayne Airport need to step up efforts to fight that growth long before the expiration of the current cap on capacity in 2015.
Like, we need to start right now. And when that extra effort begins to happen, it should be recognized and applauded.
So three cheers for the city councils of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, who are planning a joint meeting in the next few months to talk about funds to explore the alternatives to the inevitable pressures to expand JWA.
Costa Mesa sat out the campaign that brought us the Great Park instead of an airport at El Toro. And Newport Beach worried more about legal problems than taking on a bare-knuckle fight with Irvine.
But now they’re getting it right, even if Moorlach may consider it premature. Joint studies are a step forward, and that’s well and good for now, but it will never replace the muscle that comes from banding together with North County cities to apply political pressure wherever it is needed.
This is the Big One. If Newport-Mesa loses out to further expansion at JWA, the impact on our residential neighborhoods will be disastrous.
There are other issues between Newport Beach and Costa Mesa that need resolution, but they should not be allowed to interfere with the solid agreement on holding the line at JWA.
JOSEPH N. BELL lives in Newport Beach. His column runs Thursdays.
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