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Daily Pilot

Mailbag: AirFair opposes new development near JWA

6:08 PM PDT, May 16, 2014

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Members of the Board of Directors of AirFair have recently participated in the discussions regarding caps on John Wayne Airport — "the Settlement Agreement" — due to be publicly released later this month.

Several large developments, one already under way, and two or three others in the planning stages, will be adding many new residents to the area surrounding the airport. All these new residents, who presumably will choose to fly in and out of JWA when they travel, will almost certainly threaten the passenger caps we worked so hard to put in place.

Who is benefiting from these projects? As a citizen of Newport Beach or Costa Mesa will these developments improve your life? The AirFair Board of Directors feels that unrelenting growth in the area surrounding the airport is as hazardous to our communities as the growth of JWA itself.

In addition to air traffic, the developments will assuredly add car traffic. At a recent Costa Mesa City Council meeting Councilwoman Wendy Leece single-handedly attempted to stave off more traffic and congestion in the area around John Wayne Airport ("Costa Mesa City Council approves apartment complex near John Wayne Airport," May 7).

In a 4-1 vote, the council approved the development of a new, 240-unit multiuse apartment complex a half mile from JWA. As Ms. Leece pointed out, "It's unrealistic to think that the impact from the residents of the 240 units is not going to impact our parks and streets."

The developer says the units are aimed at the childless, single professional. Do they have to sign a lease to that effect?

Two hundred and forty units could translate to 480 people (or more), and if each is a driver-car owner, that might mean plus or minus 400 cars added to the already-congested airport area. The proposed development is immediately adjacent to the jam-packed 55 Freeway. Unless all the residents are traveling south (maybe also in the lease?), further congestion on that freeway is a guarantee.

Already approved, and in the works for the area adjacent to the airport on the opposite west side — along the Jamboree Road corridor — is Uptown Newport, a 1,244-unit, multiuse development which promises a great deal more traffic congestion around the airport.

Melinda Seely

Newport Beach

The writer is president of the AirFair board of directors.

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Why the endorsement was rescinded

Re. "Lincoln Club rescinds endorsement of Curry," May 15: The facts of this matter are as follows: In pursuing the endorsement of the Lincoln Club, Councilman Keith Curry reached out to me personally (a long-time board member and executive committee member) to ask if he would be OK to give the money away, should he receive an unsolicited donation from a union.

I did a little prodding and came back to him and said that if he gave it away I did not see that as a violation of our union pledge. Had I prodded to a wider membership of the board I would have found out I was wrong. This was my mistake. Nevertheless, I did tell Councilman Curry he could give the money away if an unsolicited donation arrived and not be in violation of the pledge. Had I not done this I believe this whole matter would have been avoided.

When, in fact, a donation did arrive, Councilman Curry offered to give it away to other Republican candidates or a nonprofit organization. Others felt he needed to return it to the union who gave it. Because of the impasse, Curry requested that we rescind the endorsement (three times, both in writing and verbally), and of course the board decided to rescind (I personally made the motion). The matter has since been closed.

David L. Bahnsen

Newport Beach

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Hoag change is good for O.C.

We want to thank the Daily Pilot and reporter Jill Cowan for the honest and objective article about Hoag Hospital's new agreement with the state attorney general's office ("Attorney general, Hoag Hospital reach accord on abortion," April 4).

We had been stunned by the unexpected announcement in May 2013 that our respected hospital, Hoag, had affiliated with St. Joseph, had banned all "elective abortions," and that our Presbyterian hospital was suddenly subject to the Catholic Bishops' Statement of Common Values and Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs).

The provisions of the new agreement are good news to the citizens of Orange County — men and women — who have trusted Hoag for so many years. Good news especially in assurance that Hoag will terminate pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the woman, and that Hoag will not be bound by the 72 ERDs, which are extremely restrictive and put many decisions about life and death, from conception to terminal illness, in the hands of the bishops, whether the patient is Catholic or not.

American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

With this as our guide, more than 30 members of the Newport Beach Women's Democratic Club (NBWDC) gathered with signs to march at Hoag Hospital and followed up with letters to the editors of local newspapers. The NBWDC also joined with the Orange County Women's Coalition, under the leadership of our president, Dr. Suzanne Savary, and Lori Vandemeir, president of the National Organization for Women (Orange County Chapter).

We were active in the Coalition and joined the Coalition in urging the attorney general to reopen the investigation into the original affiliation. We also urged Hoag directly to soften its suddenly hard attitude toward women in need.

We feel our efforts as thoughtful, committed citizens had an important impact in achieving the changes effected by the attorney general in the new AG/Hoag agreement.

Donna Dawson

Newport Coast

The writer handles communications for the Newport Beach Women's Democratic Club (NBWDC).