San Diego- Lindbergh Field Replacement Saga Continues

Friday, August 19, 2005
Expansion of airport is opposed
By David E. Graham
The San Diego (CA) Union-Tribune

The mention of an expanded Lindbergh Field was met with jeers while the idea of a new airport at Miramar air station was met with cheers at a public meeting last night about a future regional airport. Representatives of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority went to Point Loma for the second in a series of presentations about the site selection.

Many questions and comments directed to the airport authority board Chairman Joseph Craver opposed a Lindbergh expansion, in particular a plan under study that would take parts of the Rosecrans Street corridor and displace homes and businesses to build a second runway at Lindbergh.

“The people here tonight are hornets,” said Lou Conde, a Pacific Beach resident and former county supervisor. He said the the Lindbergh expansion study has riled people who live nearby.

The evening reflected the contentiousness that has long followed the debate of how to expand or replace the limited Lindbergh Field.

Craver said studying the possibility, which he called “a concept,” is important, if only to eliminate it because of the potential expense and feasibility involved.

“Give us a chance to go through the process,” Craver said.

Some said they remain apprehensive that it might become the board’s selection.

The authority is now concentrating on three options and expects to offer a site for a vote on the November 2006 ballot. The options are the Lindbergh expansion, an airport in southwestern Imperial County to be reached by high-speed rail, and one in the Campo area.

“All three concepts seem like they’re totally against the people’s will,” said Daniel Beeman of Clairemont. His characterization of the choices as “crazy” was met with applause.

One person asked how the board members could be removed, and another suggested a ballot option of “none of the above” be added.

One speaker asked the audience of about 300 people crowded into the United Portuguese S.E.S. Hall for a show of hands of who supported the Lindbergh expansion, and seemingly no one did, while almost a roomful of hands shot into the air at the possibility of siting an airport at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

The board has decided not to consider five military properties, including Miramar, for a potential airport until after the completion this year of a Department of Defense review that will determine which military facilities will close.

One future consideration might include sharing part of the Miramar base, Craver said.

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