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
Illustration from the AWG websiteAs late as Valentine's Day, the Newport Beach-based Airport Working Group (AWG) displayed three remarkable cartoons on its website (www.awgpac.com/cartoons.html). The first equates anti-airport activists with the terrorists who killed 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001. Titled "South County Hijackers," it shows three anti-airport activists dressed in turbans, two armed with AK-47s, one brandishing a commercial airliner. Behind them, the El Toro runway layout stands on end, burning like the World Trade Center. There's an alternate reading: the three airport leaders' names each begin with a K; the three K's are in bold type so that they clearly read, "KKK." At that point, the flaming runway begins to look like more a burning cross.
The second cartoon depicts Irvine Mayor Larry Agran enticing voters with a "shell game." Agran is drawn with the bushy brows, big nose and wide, mad eyes common in Nazi propaganda cartoons denouncing scheming Jewish bankers.
The last cartoon is merely hypocritical. It shows a couple rowing across the proposed Great Park's "Poison Pond in Pollution Park," which the cartoon attacks as the "Latest Larry Agran-diose Scheme." This image comes from a bogus $15,000 study the AWG commissioned last year supposedly showing toxic contamination at El Toro made the Great Park too dangerous (see "Cook the Toxic Books," Jan. 18, 2002). What's weird is this: for years, the AWG has argued that its plan to build the nation's fifth-largest airport at El Toro would also include hundreds of acres of parkland—an "Air Park," AWG calls it. But if El Toro is too poisonous for Agran's Great Park, it's clearly too toxic for AWG's puny one.
According to AWG's 2000 federal tax returns—publicly available because the group has tax-exempt status—the organization functions to "convey information between homeowners and government officials regarding the impact of aircraft noise at and from John Wayne Airport." But the information they convey on their website suggests scheming Jews run the world. And if not scheming Jews, then cross-burning neo-Nazis. And if not Jews or cross-burning neo-Nazis, then terrorists.