Mailbag: JWA still poses risk to Newport's quality of life

As pointed out by Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle in her Commentary on June 6, "Get informed before JWA settlement expires," the environmental impact report (EIR) for the proposed amendment to the John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement, originally reached in 1985 and set to expire in 2015, has been released and comments are being accepted through 5 p.m. July 8 at

I would encourage everyone whose home or business is affected by daily commercial operations at the airport to read the report. If legal jargon and making sense of data tables dissuades you, you can read the executive summary, which is considerably more reader-friendly. Every comment that raises an environmental issue will receive a written response.

Councilwoman Daigle summarized the elements of the city's "preferred project," which extends the noised-based curfew, maintenance of the currently allowed million annual passenger (MAP) cap of 10.8 through 2020. However, from 2021-25, the project permits an increased MAP cap of 1.0 in the years 2021-25 with an additional increase of 0.7 MAP in the years 2026-30 with some provisions on whether these thresholds are actually reached.

I live in the Bluffs and my home, along with those of my neighbors, are directly impacted by commercial aviation operations at the airport, despite the protections afforded to all of the residents in Newport Beach by the Settlement Agreement. My neighbors ask me, "Why is the city, SPON (Stop Polluting Our Newport) and AWG (Airport Working Group) proposing to amend the agreement? Why not maintain it as it is, or better yet, make it more stringent?

The answer to these questions is actually in the EIR's executive summary. The extension of the Settlement Agreement to the year 2035 must seek to balance "competing interests" of the demand for air travel in Orange County with the environmental impacts on those who live near the airport.

In other words the residents of Newport Beach must "play well with others." It is worth mentioning here that Federal Aviation Administration regulations have changed relative to restrictions any agency can place on commercial aviation operations since 1985. If the city were to simply reject any growth in the MAP cap, it might very well put the entire Settlement Agreement at risk, and it would likely be impossible to restore or replace.

The EIR goes on to point out that existing regulatory (the Settlement Agreement, in other words) and physical constraints prevent JWA from meeting the air travel demand as it exists today. That's our call to action — a reminder that Newport Beach's quality of life remains at risk.

In the end, I believe the proposed project in the EIR preferred by the city will ultimately be accepted and put in place. However, as residents we should demand that our city leaders not only remain diligent about protections in the agreement, but also sensitive to this precarious balance we must maintain relative to commercial operations at JWA.

Tim Brown

Newport Beach

The writer is a candidate for City Council.


Do not raze Motor Inn

The Costa Mesa Motor Inn motel doesn't need to be torn down and transformed into something else. It needs new management. And maybe some new zoning restrictions. The building itself is not the cause of the place turning into a magnet for undesirable people. There is nothing unique that makes the place conducive to drug use and illegal activity. Judging from the photo in the paper, the motel complex looks like it's in good condition and well-maintained.

The Inn has become a destination for people whose lives revolve around drug use and other illegal activity. Oftentimes, these activities spill over into the local community and put a stain on the whole neighborhood.

The local neighborhood and the city of Costa Mesa are tired of putting up with occupants of the motel. It's not the motel per se that is the problem. It's the management and owners of the property that need to be changed. Not the building itself.

The motel, if properly managed and operated, could still provide a service to the community. The city should seek new ownership, and thus new management of the property. Condemnation is not the answer.

Rob Macfarlane

Newport Beach


CdM students are 'outstanding'

Re. "District hires ethics consultant in wake of cheating scandal," June 11:

Why is the "inclusive" issue raised? The cheating was a serious violation, with no inclusive issue, and could have been handled privately within the school grade system. The "prom draft" was not a big whoop, with no inclusive issue, and could have been handled privately within the school class advisor system.

CdM students have commendable culture and identity, are academically and athletically accomplished and are polite and well-mannered. They should not be related to old events from five years ago, when they were not yet CdM students. Any individual incident of five years ago is long past. Adults ought to support and encourage the current students in their aspirations. They are outstanding citizens.

Al Wonders

Newport Beach

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