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The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDCRAA) was created to find a “solution” for the San Diego airport issue and bring it before the voters. Instead, the SDCRAA has created a measure that allows it to spend millions more in FAA (taxpayer) dollars over the next few years to force the Marines to leave MCAS Miramar.

The Marine Corps and the Secretary of the Navy have informed the SDCRAA that dual, joint, or shared use of Miramar is incompatible with military operations and is unsafe. Even the SDCRAA leadership says dual use won’t work unless the fighter jets are forced from Miramar. Yet the ballot language still states:

“…provided…military readiness are [sic] maintained without expense to the military for relocating or modifying operations…”

How does the SDCRAA plan to meet this condition of its own language?

Five rounds of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, over the last 20 years, have validated Miramar as a vital national security asset and a keystone of the national defense strategy. The previous BRAC rounds that closed many military bases on the West Coast have concentrated Navy and Marine Corps forces in the San Diego area. Given the pressures for development throughout the nation, this integrated sea/land/air range complex and the bases that support it cannot be reproduced anywhere in the country.

The Navy and Marines have had over 900 hours of dialogue with the Regional Airport Authority and its consultants. According to the chair of the SDCRAA, the Marines have been totally responsive. Yet other proponents of the measure continue to claim that the Marines refuse to discuss the issue. Why is that?

Twenty eight of our local elected leaders, Members of Congress, State Senators, Assembly Members, Supervisors, Mayors and Council Members have rejected the March to Miramar, while two have endorsed it. Federal law prohibits dual use at Miramar.

Adding a 24-hour a day commercial airport to a busy Marine Corps air base will significantly increase the aircraft accident potential, increase noise and spread the noise over a much broader, heavily populated area

A commercial airport at Miramar will dramatically increase traffic congestion on I-15 (especially in North County), I-805, SR-52, and SR-163.

The SDCRAA and proponents of Proposition A should be able to answer these simple questions:

  • To where can the Marines move their operations without impacting military readiness or costing them (i.e. the federal taxpayer) anything? And:
  • What are the names and qualifications of the military and financial experts upon whom the SDCRAA relies to support that recommendation?

Let’s recall that our elected representatives, along with the people and the businesses in San Diego County, have consistently pulled together over the past decades to keep the historic San Diego partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps intact and to support the national defense. In fact, the Marines at Miramar are a testament to the success of that effort, while the weeds currently growing at El Toro speak to the alternative approach.

GERRY NIFONTOFF

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