By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
For his part, Apodaca--a slick speaker who has mastered the art of sincere facial gestures and impassioned hand gestures--spent much of the campaign tap-dancing around a solid, irrefutable stance against the airport. It is easy to walk away from one of Apodaca's speeches thinking you've heard an emotional anti-airport position--until you consider exactly what he was willing to say. At a debate in April, Bates--who has the unanimous support of all of the major anti-airport leaders, including Bill Kogerman of Taxpayers for Responsible Planning--said she was unequivocally against the airport. Apodaca, whose record at San Clemente City Hall shows him to be a consistent friend to developers, followed by blasting county officials for the airport-planning process. In the middle of the anti-bureaucrat barrage, he slipped in a statement: "I'm against it until we study all of the options" (my emphasis).
A week ago, a South County voter asked Apodaca "if there were any circumstances under which [he] would support the airport." He smiled warmly at the questioner and said he appreciated the opportunity to clear up "several misstatements floating around" about his position, but he sidestepped the question. "I do not support an airport at El Toro," Apodaca said calmly. "And," he continued with increased emotion, "I don't know how anyone could support an airport at El Toro until all of the alternatives have been examined" (my emphasis). He went on to slam Lacy for failing to take a clear-cut position. The vigorously anti-airport crowd apparently did not notice Apodaca's rhetorical sleight of hand and applauded generously.
Bates tried hard not to play word games. "I want to make sure that communities have the ability to control their own destinies," she said recently. "That is why I am not shy about fighting against the proposal to build an international airport in our South County neighborhood. I am the one who will protect our quality of life from that kind of government-driven development. That is the kind of honest, conservative leadership the voters can count on from me."