Mimi Walters and El Toro Marine Corps Air Station

El Toro circa 1946, pre-dated the NIMBY ETRPA Cities!
State Senator Mimi Walters is a candidate for State Treasurer. One of her previous political stints includes serving as THE CHAIR of  ETRPA, the El Toro Reuse "Planning" Authority. ETRPA was anything but a planning authority. It was an obstructionist NIMBY coalition of 10 South Orange County cities opposed to re-use of El Toro for aviation, no matter the size or configuration! Any concerns on ETRPA's part about "noise", "safety" and "efficiency" of the county's airport plan were purely disingenuous. They ALSO opposed an alternative airport layout blessed by the pilots unions that addressed ALL of these aforementioned issues!

El Toro was built in 1943 long before Mimi Walters was born and well before any ETRPA cities ever existed! ETRPA spent about $50 million in taxdollars on endless litigating, propaganda mailers, and non-stop voting on El Toro. Never mind that the voters of Orange County had voted TWICE for El Toro already.  FOUR VOTES were conducted on El Toro until ETRPA finally GOT their way!

A multi-billion dollar taxpayer aviation asset going to waste!
El Toro is the SECOND largest airport to ever get shut down in our nation's history! It sits on 4700 acres and has almost 40,000 feet worth of runway! The only airport bigger than El Toro to close would be Stapleton in Denver as it had about 53,000 feet of runway. But at least Denver opened a replacement airport with even more capacity.

"If you were starting from scratch to build an airport for this part of Southern California, and you could find the real estate, you and your taxpayers would be looking at a minimum of probably $10 billion to replicate anything near what El Toro is today, and your Federal Government is offering to hand it to you for nothing, in essence."
"This is an opportunity that will never come again, rarely occurs even in all the attempts to pass airports on to communities, and never of the significance that approaches the importance of this transaction."
-David Hinson, Retired F.A.A. Chief. 

There are many communities that wished they had an airport buffer zone this big!
One unique thing about El Toro compared to many other airports is that it had a buffer zone free of homes that is bigger than most cities. All a jet had to do is approach from the north and take off to the south with a 30 degree bank and no homes would be flown over all the way to the ocean! However, The Irvine Company wanted the aviation zoning for El Toro nixed so that it could shoehorn in thousands of homes in the former noise buffer zone.  (Click on graphic below.)

Mimi Walters and the ETRPA gang do not care about the quality of life of the South Orange County residents they supposedly represent. They are shills for the Irvine Company and Mission Viejo Company which wanted the Marines and civilian aviation to be silenced forever. Therefore allowing these developers a chance to make the 5th largest county in the country even larger! Concerns about "traffic" and "pollution" only matter when they involves an airport at El Toro.

This is what a 5700 foot runway looks like at the World's 4th scariest airport!
John Wayne has the SHORTEST commercial runway in the nation!  It has been ranked as the FOURTH scariest airport in the world by Smarter Travel! In contrast, El Toro has a pair of 10,000 feet and 8,000 feet runways

"Without preserving some kind of airfield potential for El Toro, Orange County would be left to meet its own and its regional obligations under the narrow growth capacity of John Wayne Airport. It's a facility with a quirky takeoff pattern, a runway problem similar to LAX's and one 5,700-foot runway to serve a county coming up on 3 million people……the airport is really not equipped to carry Orange County's future need alone."
-Los Angeles Times. February 18, 2002

"John Wayne, Orange County's existing airport, is too small to serve county needs, now filled by LAX and Ontario airports. San Diego and Orange counties have equal populations of 3 million, but San Diego's Lindbergh Field, serving 15 million passengers per year, has twice the capacity of John Wayne."
"Los Angeles' proposal to run El Toro as a civilian airport is the best option. The land is available and has served as a military air base. To allow this land to be turned into more houses, cars, and freeways is unacceptable to the region."
-San Diego Union Tribune. June 22, 2003.  

"This airport is inadequate for the future of Orange County. It is too short, it is 5,700 feet. And while it is safe, it is not as safe as an 8,000 or a 10,000 foot runway at El Toro. It can't be expanded, it's 450 some acres; you have 2,700 acres for potential acres for potential airport use at El Toro. That's a substantial difference and probably one that can't be replicated under any circumstances."
-David Hinson, Retired F.A.A. Chief.  

Traffic at LAX., much of it from Orange County travelers.
In 1997, Orange County could only handle 4% of its cargo needs. That figure is lower today.
"....it's galling that Orange County residents seem so reluctant to do their fair share to accommodate the rising regional demand for air travel. According to statistics in a Southern California Association of Governments study, Los Angeles County is overburdened when it comes to providing commercial air travel. The SCAG figures show that L.A. County serves 81 percent of the regional demand but only generates 58 percent of that demand."
"By contrast, Orange County serves a measly 7.7 percent of the regional demand. And yet its population generates 20.5 percent of that demand for air travel."
"That voters there seem unwilling to plan for this is an abdication of their responsibilities. All this makes the job of those in the South Bay advocating regional air traffic solutions that much more difficult."
-Daily Breeze  March 09, 2002

"Much of the growth pressure (for LAX), says Los Angeles, comes from Orange County, which now sends some 6 million passengers per year to LAX."
-San Diego Union Tribune. June 22, 2003

ETRPA could care less about the jobs and economic stimulation El Toro would provide!
".....The county's elected auditor/controller, released a report Friday about the impacts of an initiative on the March ballot -- named Measure W by the county Tuesday -- that would rezone the former El Toro Marine Corps base from an airport to a park."
"(Larry Agran is) hoping that a $2.6 billion state park bond, also on the March ballot, could pump grant money into the Great Park plan. Orange County's fair share would be about $200 million."
"Airport proponents said the auditor's report showed that the county would miss out on an economic boon if the park initiative succeeds."
"The report said the greatest economic impact would be the potential loss of $6 billion in airport economic benefits if a public park is built instead."

-Orange County Register. December 06, 2001.
During the election campaign, ETRPA claimed that their non-aviation "Millennium Plan" for El Toro would create 112,000 jobs, or about 20,000 more than an airport. But they abandoned that proposal because it turned out it would produce TWICE as much traffic as the airport! 

How many jobs has the Great Pork created to date?
"With more than a $100 million spent in five years and more than 1,000 acres of weeds and cracked concrete to show for that spending, I sent in a public records request for salaries and other compensation for Great Park employees."
"One of the biggest surprises in my records request is the small size of the Great Park staff.
There are 19 full-time employees and five part-time workers.
The average salary between the 19 employees? $103,722."

-David Whiting, Orange County Register. September 07, 2010.

The city of Irvine PLEDGED no taxes would be required for the "Great Park.
"Despite all the denials, there is no way the park promised in the fancy four-color brochures will come about without significant infusions of tax dollars."
"...changing El Toro's land-use designation from airport to park will give park proponents an all-consuming reason to look for new tax revenues anywhere they will find them, in the form of fees, assessments, bond money, federal and state grants (at the expense of park needs in north and central county) and other taxpayer sources."
"...a vote for (measure) W is like writing a blank check to Larry Agran and the park supporters, then trusting they'll spend your money wisely."
-Orange County Register. February 24, 2002

Irvine has TWICE tried to obtain taxdollars for the so called "Great Park" through statewide propositions.
"Proposition 51 is so outrageous and deceptive that even liberal interest groups, politicians and newspapers that typically favor the slow-growth policies advocated by the initiative's sponsor (the Planning and Conservation League) are opposing it. That's because Prop. 51 is the ultimate quid pro quo. Wealthy developers fund it and get projects that benefit their businesses in return. The problem is that taxpayers end up footing the bill."
        "Another dishonesty revealed: Irvine's left-wing Mayor Larry Agran, who is on the PCL board, will secure $100 million  for the Great Park if Prop. 51 passes. The  bond, of course, will  be repaid by taxpayers. Yet, as many observers note, he promised no tax funds would be used for the park."

- OC Register. October 20, 2002

Fortunately Prop 51 lost in EVERY COUNTY!
Then, in November 2008, Irvine was hoping to score $25 million worth of bond money from Prop 10. It also lost at the polls. 
 “This measure asks taxpayers to fund $5 billion in bonds -- at a time when the state is in desperate financial straits and may be approaching a dangerous level of indebtedness -- for a scheme disguised as an effort to benefit the environment.”
"The measure generously doles out taxpayer money for a variety of green-sounding initiatives: $200 million for alternative energy demonstration projects at eight California cities (including Irvine)…."
-Los Angeles Times. September 19, 2008.

The infamous Westboro Baptist Church would be proud of ETRPA screwing the troops!
-Jan 31, 2005
ETRPA's Tom O'Malley Harasses American Legion Post For Supporting Housing Effort

"El Toro Reuse Planning Authority's Tom O'Malley called and harassed the Tustin American Legion Post Commander for supporting Ocmil.com's effort to reopen the El Toro housing for our troops. 'Tom, who is a former El Toro Marine with no authority, is the same guy who threatened our Spokesman Ken Lee some time ago with physical violence for trying to reopen the El Toro housing. Because of Tom's threat, a police report was filed (included a threatening email printout sent by Tom O'Malley to Ken Lee) with the Irvine Police who knows all about Tom's conduct,' said Ocmil.com's George Simon. 'Shame on Tom for adopting such an anti-military attitude towards the housing needs of our troops at a time like this,' George added."


Mimi Walters was a MEMBER of ETRPA at the time these incidents happened. Therefore, Tom O'Malley would have had her blessing, if not outright orders to harass these military veterans. Walters and ETRPA threw our troops under the bus because they did not want the El Toro land auction slowed down. Never mind that at the time the land was zoned for non-aviation uses only. Low income military families are not welcome in upscale South Orange County. Mimi Walters is the Jane Fonda of the Republican Party!

Larry Agran, Barbara Boxer, and Beth Krom.
"Sen. Barbara Boxer on Tuesday got a first-hand look at the future home of the Great Park, announcing her intention to seek federal assistance in making several parts of the ambitious project a reality.
"  'I'm going to fight to get these appropriations for you, right now, this year,' Boxer said. 'I want to be a part of this adventure.'
'I don't look at this as subsidizing anything,' Boxer said. 'I look at it as an investment.'  "

-Orange County Register. March 29, 2009.

"We never expected much out of this grandiose project and we predicted that its supporters could not make it fly without turning to taxpayers."
"So we're not surprised that the park's chief proponent (Larry Agran) has reduced himself to imploring the federal government to dump massive amounts of tax dollars to stimulate the park's development."
"We didn't christen it the Great Pork for nothing."
 -Orange County Register. March 29, 2009. 

"Agran argues that the original funding plan didn’t bar the use of federal or state funds, but rather noted that the Great Park wouldn’t require federal or state funds. 'We never closed the door on state or federal funds. Why would we?' Agran asked." "Increasingly complex and ambitious design plans have caused the Great Park price-tag to swell, from $353 million in 2003 to an estimated $1.4 billion today."
"Irvine officials have twice traveled to Washington D.C . in recent months to press their case with national leaders and key congressional staffers,...." 
-Orange County Register. July 17, 2009.

"A $475,000 earmark for the Great Park that Sen. Barbara Boxer got included in the spending bill being debated in the Senate this week has incurred the wrath of an Oklahoma senator known for crusading against such member projects. 
(Senator Tom Coburn's office analyis about this earmark.)
"Irvine Councilman Larry Agran, chairman of the Great Park’s board of directors, a Democrat with close ties to Boxer, Agran persuaded the senator to visit the site last year. That’s when she committed to getting federal money to help pay for the hangar." 
" 'This earmark', Boxer said this morning,  'It will put people to work refurbishing this old Air Force base.'  " (It is a Marine base!)
"In her floor statement, Boxer said Orange County was the biggest Republican county in the state, her way of saying she’s willing to help out GOP strongholds as well as the Democrats’ parts of California."
-Orange County Register. March 03, 2009.
(There are A LOT of Orange County residents, most especially Republicans, who DON'T want your "help"!)

"(Irvine) City leaders in January directed city staffers to seek around $6 million in federal funds for several Great Park projects,.." 
-Orange County Register. April 22, 2010.

Boxer has put in a request for another Great Pork earmark for FY2011.
Between $100-200 million has been spent and only 27 ACRES have been built! Most of the money is spent on public relations and planning, but very little towards the actual park itself.  In fact, the Orange County Grand Jury even issued a damning report on how poorly mismanaged the park truly is. YOUR Taxdollars at work!

Summary on Mimi Walters and ETRPA:
-Multi-Billion Dollar Aviation Asset Wasted. 
 - Former home free buffer zone will be shoehorned in with lots of urban sprawl.
-Orange County is left with a minimally safe inadequate airport.
-Lindbergh Field in San Diego is at full capacity. El Toro would have provided some relief.
-Travelers and cargo from Orange County clog freeways to use outlying airports.
-Turned down a chance to create over 92,000 jobs!
-"Great Park"  has only created 19 jobs.
-Turned down a chance to have $6 billion a year in economic activity 
-ETRPA threatened troops with violence because they wanted housing and commissary access.
 -"Great Park" broke promise on requiring NO taxes.
-"Great Park" is way over budget and not on time.

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