Letters to the Editor 3/23/06
by San Diego News
Mar 22, 2006 | 467 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Airport authority should consolidate Marines

For the airport authority "” a lesson in government:

A decision on whether a military installation will be made available for use as a civilian airport or used as a joint military and civilian airport will be made by elected officials. Those elected officials are the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President. There are no elected officials in the Department of Defense.

In case you didn't notice, those are the same elected officials who have had the final say on all of the BRAC installation closures and realignments. Such a decision will not be made until a proposal is presented to Congress and that won't happen until you do your job and put a choice on the ballot, the voters approve the choice, local elected officials make a pitch to our federal representatives and senators, and they get behind and push that choice.

You put the cart before the horse when you went to the Department of Defense. They will have their say when Congress considers such a proposal, and they have a hard time convincing congress that a base which has only been used or its current mission a few years is indispensable for the security of the U.S.

You should put the best choice on the ballot in terms of cost, convenience, etc. and let the local elected officials deal with the best way to acquire access to that property. You should also consider any airport in the region to be available regardless of who owns it. The job for which you are being paid is to select the best airport site. Your job is not to build the airport.

A lesson in history: In the not too distant past, the Navy occupied Miramar. When they were approached about joint-use or vacating, their response was that Miramar's proximity to the ocean and 32nd Street fleet meant that it would always be absolutely essential for carrier operations. A few years later, with Miramar still close to the ocean and the Navy still conducting carrier air operations, it was suddenly excess to their needs.

Do you think Department of Defense officials are better today at predicting their future needs than they were then? Haven't all BRACs made considerable changes to DOD's proposed base closure and realignment lists?

When the Navy announced that they were leaving Miramar, San Diego should have made a pitch for Miramar as a future civilian airport. No pitch was made; and since that was before Mayor Murphy took office, it shows that he was not the first San Diego mayor who deserved a top spot on the list of the worst mayors in the nation.

The Marines moved to Miramar from Orange County when the Navy left because it was cheaper to move to Miramar with infrastructure in place than build it at Camp Pendleton. You have been studying sites for an airport for several years; doesn't it make more sense to relocate the Marines at Miramar to the installation at Camp Pendleton than to try to put a civilian airport at Camp Pendleton?

 

Charles French, Point Loma
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