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The two sides in the should-the-airport-be-at-Miramar debate have filed rebuttals to each others’ arguments.

They’re still grooving with the all-caps, bold-face, can-you-hear-me-now style.

Proponents: A MILITARY AIRFIELD IS NOT SAFER THAN A COMMERCIAL AIRPORT.

Opponents: A Commercial Airport at Miramar is Wrong for San Diego County.

The ballot arguments, submitted today to the county registrar, serve as free advertising for both sides. They go to registered voters. So it’s insightful to look at each side’s major points. It’s a glimpse into how they’re trying to frame the debate.

Each side has a 250-word limit. The pro-Miramar side wrote 252 words; the anti-Miramar side came in at 248.

Miramar airport supporters argue that the November ballot initiative is a quality-of-life issue. So do opponents, who broadened their argument to include taxpayer spending issues. (The San Diego County Taxpayers Association, which voted Wednesday to oppose the ballot measure, signed the rebuttal argument.)

Proponents tackled safety issues this time, citing eight military aircraft crashes outside the air station’s boundary and 30 mishaps since the 1970s – compared with one aircraft mishap near Lindbergh Field in the same time.

Proponents say they are not asking the Marines to leave the base. The airport authority “simply wants direction to talk. Surely the Marines can discuss the future of military and commercial aviation in our community.”

(This ignores the fact that the airport authority has admitted that military jets and commercial aircraft should not share airspace. That would force the Marines’ fighter jets – a major mission at Miramar – off the base.)

Opponents seize on that issue somewhat, but still don’t question the financial implications of moving the Marines’ fighters out of Miramar.

The opponents say: “The Navy and Marines already have had over 900 hours of direct meetings and dialogue with the Regional Airport Authority. They have stated clearly the position of the distinguished leaders of those services: A commercial airport at Miramar will harm the mission of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps.”

Proponents liken the airport issue to saving for your child’s college education. You don’t start saving when they’re high school seniors, the pro-Miramar argument says. You start when they’re in pre-school.

Apparently, we’re in airport pre-school.

Signing the pro-Miramar argument were: airport authority President/CEO Thella Bowens; airport authority board member and San Diego City Councilman Tony Young; and John Chalker, chairman of the Coalition to Preserve the Economy, the pro-Miramar group.

Signing the anti-Miramar argument were: retired Marine Brig. Gen. Mike Neil; retired Navy Vice Adm. Mike Bucchi (president of the Navy League’s San Diego Council); retired Marine Col. Tom Caughlan, Miramar’s former commanding officer; Ted Owen, president/CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce; and taxpayers association President/CEO Lani Lutar.

Remember, these were rebuttals. For information about the first arguments, read my earlier story.

The pro-Miramar argument is here.

The anti-Miramar argument is here.

ROB DAVIS

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