thanks to it sitting empty and simultaneous unbridled development
occurring in South County, perpetual Long Beach airport expansion is
far from a "done deal."
Just because voters in one mere county eliminated aviation zoning
for El Toro does not mean they also eliminated future passenger and
cargo demands for the entire region as well. If only it were that
If one thought that April 15 was a day to dread, exactly six
months later, Oct. 15 will also be a day to dread (for those living
under the Long Beach flight path.) On that day of each year, the
airport manager will release an annual study detailing how much more
"room" there is for flights under the "noise bucket." The following
Jan. 1, the airlines can use those additional slots. Gee, Happy New
There is only a noise cap, but absolutely no caps on flights,
cargo tonnage or passengers. It's too bad there's also no cap on the
San Diego Freeway clogging surface traffic originating from South
Even the so-called noise cap itself is weak. The fines start at
$100 and peak at a mere $300. (One round trip sold pays that off.)
The city of Long Beach wanted stronger fines, but a federal judge
would not allow it. If the city tinkers with the fines, they would
risk jeopardizing the current airport agreement.
Normally, I would support anybody who wants to protect their
quality of life, including El Toro opponents. (I even voted no in the
past.) However, what I take umbrage with is the raw NIMBYism
involved. For example, Irvine Councilman Mike Ward (and El Toro Reuse
Planning Authority Chairman at the time) wrote to the Board of
Supervisors claiming that "Long Beach is operating below capacity."
Really? According to airnav.com, Long Beach averages 1,375 daily
operations. Thus, making it one if the nation's busiest facilities.
This is in contrast to El Toro with zero daily operations.
For Ward to have the gall to claim Long Beach is "operating below
capacity" would be akin to an off-shore, tax-dodging corporation
suggesting an increase in personal income taxes to offset the federal
* REX RICKS is a Huntington Beach resident. To contribute to
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