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 the past four months, I've watched the slow disintegration of the El Toro Airport Citizens Advisory Commission (CAC). Created in 1994 by the sham international airport-mandating Measure A, CAC's purpose (as described in the 1998 El Toro planning office Information Resource Book) is to ensure "proper consideration of the concerns of county residents regarding the reuse planning of MCAS El Toro."
It looks like the "concerns of county residents" no longer concern county officials. Meant to meet once a month to discuss the latest El Toro matters, the CAC hasn't met since Feb. 27. The body met just seven times in all of 1999. Their latest meeting was supposed to be June 22, but they couldn't gather a quorum.
"The future of the CAC is abysmal at best," said CAC member David Markley. An outspoken critic of both the proposed airport and his pro-airport CAC colleagues, Markley recalled numerous meetings prematurely ended when a member's early exit destroyed the quorum.
"I would be surprised if I attended another CAC meeting this year," he added.
The county's CAC webpages exemplify the lack of interest in citizen participation. Its member page hasn't changed since Nov. 22, 1999, and still lists two members who quit in early 2000. The CAC meeting schedule hasn't been updated since March 16. And the site's most recent CAC minutes are for the Aug. 26, 1999, meeting, notable only for then-program manager Michael Lapin's astonishing assurances that the county Board of Supervisors would vote on the Final Environmental Impact Report in May of this year—an event no one now expects until late 2001 at the earliest.
The absolute domination of the CAC by pro-airport lackeys and politicians guaranteed it would never do more than genuflect before the El Toro planning office. Airport shogun George Argyros—the principal El Toro fund-raiser, who's already contributed $3 million of his own money to three ballot campaigns—is one of its members.
That's why the loss of the CAC means little in real terms for airport opponents. But the message it sends to all voters is chilling: the county no longer cares about even maintaining a pretense of listening to residents.