Two Law Suits Planned in Ongoing Controversy over Orange County Airport

MAY 9, 2001

Nine cities fighting Orange County's plans to build an airport at the closed El Toro Marine base voted late Tuesday to sue Newport Beach over a mailer and TV advertisement that suggest the cities' alternative for a large urban park at El Toro would result in a tax increase.

The El Toro Reuse Planning Authority also voted unanimously to file a lawsuit against a regional panel's endorsement of a large international airport at El Toro. The lawsuit against the Southern California Assn. of Governments will argue that the regional group used faulty environmental analyses in evaluating how El Toro would fit into Southern California's airport mix, ETRPA attorney Richard Jacobs said.

The lawsuit against Newport Beach and its council members will argue that the mailer and TV ad are improper uses of public funds, he said. South County airport foes have submitted an initiative to county officials that, if it qualifies for the March ballot, would replace the airport plan with the park proposal. State law bars public agencies from advocating for or against ballot measures.

"I guess it's like any other argument in the legal field: It's a case of a difference of opinion," Tom Naughton, president of the Airport Working Group, said late Tuesday. The group, based in Newport Beach, distributed the advertisements.

Source: Los Angeles Times

See also a complete package of stories about the airport controversy and an online discussion on The Times' website at