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"Vigorous 'no' for new San Diego airport"


 
Monday, December 11, 2006

Vigorous 'no' for Miramar airport 
Every city in county rejected proposition
By Jeff Ristine
The San Diego (CA) Union-Tribune


The rebuke of a proposed civilian airport at Miramar Marine Corps Air
Station resounded from one end of San Diego County to the other, differing
only in the magnitude of the “no” vote. 

Proposition A, sponsored by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority,
lost in all 18 cities and in the unincorporated area, according to certified
results from the Nov. 7 election. The county Registrar of Voters released
the results on Wednesday. 

In the city of San Diego, the measure lost in each of the eight council
districts. 

Countywide, Proposition A failed 62 percent to 38 percent. 

The measure came closest to passing in Carlsbad and Encinitas, where
residents theoretically stood to save at least 20 minutes driving time by
going to a future Miramar airport instead of Lindbergh Field. In those
cities, Proposition A eked out a 49 percent “yes” vote. 

Above-average support also was seen in San Diego City Council districts 2
and 8, which include the neighborhoods closest to Lindbergh Field. “Yes”
votes there were 46 and nearly 47 percent respectively. 

The measure took its heaviest drubbing in Santee, portions of which lie
beneath the normal approach path to the Marine Corps Air Station. There, the
measure failed by a margin of three to one. In San Diego, support bottomed
out in the communities surrounding Miramar, drawing less than 28 percent in
the 1st District (which includes La Jolla, University City and Rancho
Peñasquitos) and less than 22 percent in the 5th District (Mira Mesa,
Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs and Carmel Mountain Ranch). 

The Miramar proposal emerged from a four-year study of every conceivable
option of a possible replacement for Lindbergh Field. The only civilian
sites to make the final cut were in East County's Boulevard and the Imperial
County desert, locations consultants said would never work for travelers and
the airline industry. 

Proponents said Lindbergh Field could reach its operational capacity by 2022
and that a convenient, two-runway location is essential to the economic
well-being of the region. Opponents said Miramar's strategic importance to
national security and safety considerations in trying to place military
aircraft and commercial jets in the same airspace would never make Miramar
suitable for civilian use. 

The outcome of the election has been interpreted as a sign Lindbergh Field
may remain in operation in perpetuity. 

John Dadian, a strategist for the no-on-A campaign, said their surveys
showed voters saw Miramar as “a black and white issue” and were turned off
by the absence of any alternatives. 

“To put it in a nutshell, the voters got it,” Dadian said. “The Airport
Authority grossly underestimated . . . the high opinion of not only the
Marines but the military in general. People understand that Miramar is a
major military base and one that is needed.” 

Surveys also showed voters content with the way Lindbergh is working today,
Dadian said. 

In ascending order, and rounded off to the nearest percent, the city-by-city
opposition to Proposition A looks like this: 

Carlsbad and Encinitas (51 percent “no”), Solana Beach (53 percent), San
Marcos and National City (54 percent), Oceanside (55 percent), Vista (56
percent), Chula Vista and Escondido (57 percent), Del Mar (62 percent), La
Mesa (63 percent), Imperial Beach (64 percent), El Cajon and San Diego (65
percent) Lemon Grove and Coronado (66 percent), Poway (74 percent) and
Santee (75 percent). 

In unincorporated San Diego County, the no vote was under 61 percent. 

The results stand in contrast to a similar advisory measure in June 1994,
which asked whether voters wanted an international airport at Miramar if the
installation ever became available. That one passed 52 percent to 48 percent
countywide and in 12 of the county's 18 cities. It failed in San Diego but
drew majorities of 60 percent or more in six North County cities. 

“It was a different world then,” Dadian said. 

Since the vote, the authority board of directors has been considering
whether to amend a master plan for Lindbergh Field to reflect a more
long-term commitment to the airport. Two members of the no-on-A campaign
committee have been appointed to vacancies on the board and will take office
next month.

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