On Oct. 29, the Registerpublished a letter in which Gary Simon of Huntington Beach claimed the recent wild fires proved again the enormous value of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station as an operational airfield. The Register failed to tell its readers that Simon is the county's former head airport planner and that he's still tilting at windmills (see Anthony Pignataro's "Would Somebody Please Tell Gary Simon the Airport Is Dead," April 5, 2002). The airport is dead, killed by 58 percent of county voters, but Simon can't let go, now exploiting fears over this most recent catastrophe to do it. While his timing and tact are both suspect, his logic is flat wrong. The majority of firefighting air assets are helicopters, which can operate out of any small airport. Additionally, there's a trend toward smaller air tankers operating from shorter runways more commonly found in rural areas—which is where the fires are.
On Oct. 24, letter writer Erwin H. Moller claimed Senator John Burton intended to diss Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger by wearing an open-collar Hawaiian shirt. He reasoned Burton's fashion faux pas might be an indication of his unwillingness to work with the incoming administration. He ended with a warning: "One word to the wise for Burton: We, the electorate, are watching." A quick web search suggests the electorate should be watching the Internet. There, we uncovered numerous images of Burton attired in open-collar shirts, including one on the senator's own website. This pattern of casual dress may be a blatant, ongoing show of disrespect on Burton's part, since many of these were taken before Schwarzenegger was elected. Whether open-collar shirts are a partisan political statement or evidence of bad fashion sense, the wise know California's term limits will force Burton to exit the Senate at the end of his current tenure. Aloha!