San Diego appeals panel throws out challenge to anti-El Toro airport initiative

The Associated Press
Thursday November 22, 2001

SAN DIEGO — A state appeals court on Wednesday threw out a challenge to an anti-airport initiative at the former Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro. 

The measure, if passed by Orange County voters March 5, would essentially bar construction of a civilian airport at the site. 

Previously, the Fourth District Court of Appeals allowed the Orange County Registrar of Voters to verify petition signatures to qualify the zoning initiative for the ballot. 

Airport proponents, however, challenged the petition in Superior Court, claiming the measure’s wording would mislead voters about the initiative’s impact. An Orange County Superior Court judge agreed and invalidated the gathered petitions. 

On Wednesday, the Fourth District Court of Appeals threw out the Superior Court order. 

Airport foes, who hope to ask voters to replace airport zoning at the base with plans for a park and university complex, expressed satisfaction with the ruling. 

Voters should have the right to decide whether they want the airport, said Roger Faubel, a consultant hired by the group El Toro Reuse Planning Authority. 

A spokesman for the two pro-airport groups, Citizens for Jobs and the Economy and the Airport Working Group of Orange County, could not be located for comment Wednesday. 

Last month, Orange County supervisors voted 3-2 to build the commercial airport, which they said would serve as many as 18.8 million passengers a year.