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U.S. Rep. Bob Filner boomed. The board bickered. The crowd booed.
And after five hours, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority pointed to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar as the best place for a new international airport.
The 7-2 vote approved ballot language that voters will see when they go to the polls Nov. 7. Several board members said it will be an advisory vote; the language is a slight variation of draft language approved last month by an airport authority committee.
To provide for San Diego’s long-term air transportation needs, shall the Airport Authority and government officials work to obtain approximately 3,000 of 23,000 acres at MCAS Miramar by 2020 for a commercial airport provided necessary traffic and freeway improvements are made, military readiness is maintained without expense to the military for modifying or relocating operations, no local taxes are used on the airport, overall noise impacts are reduced, and necessary Lindbergh Field improvements are completed?
Board members Xema Jacobson and Mary Teresa Sessom offered alternative language that identified Miramar as a long-term solution, but sought to maximize the region’s other airports in the interim. Sessom said that could have included building a V-shaped runway at Lindbergh Field.
Top military brass came out with strong statements opposing the Miramar option.
“Your process has started and is now ending with a march to Miramar,” Rear Adm. Len Hering, San Diego’s Navy mayor, told the authority. Of the consultants’ efforts, he said, “they assume away our mission and they inaccurately portray the facts.”
But a majority of authority members supported Miramar. Board member Paul Nieto rejected the assertion that the board had conspired to choose Miramar.
“The fix was never in,” he said.