Photo by Christina RendahlLast time I checked, no one had elected, appointed, or anointed bazillionaire developer George Argyros king of Orange County. Someone had better break this news to Argyros—gently, please, for Argyros has a temper to match the size of his bank account.
Argyros thinks it's entirely appropriate to admonish Orange County voters as uninformed, slumbering supplicants.
"There comes a time," Argyros told Los Angeles Times reporters Jean Pasco and Meg James last week, "when the voters have to wake up. I hope they take a more realistic look at [the airport proposal] now and ask for the truth."
This kind of arrogance is an Argyros hallmark—it's what comes of blindly equating wealth with wisdom. So let's correct his misperception: an abundance of the former does not guarantee any of the latter.
OC voters have been sleeping, have they? I don't think so, George. More than two-thirds of the electorate voted for Measure F last March; recent polls suggest a nearly equal number of OC residents oppose an El Toro International Airport today.
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If anyone has been taking a nap—at taxpayer expense, no less—it's been the three-member majority on the OC Board of Supervisors. They consistently ignore the clearly expressed will of the people—on the reuse of El Toro and other issues as well (see R. Scott Moxley's article on Measure H, "The Metamorphosis," on page 13).
Quick to recover from a public display of regal excess, King George rushed the next day to play the role of benevolent monarch. In the commentary pages of the Dec. 3 Times, Argyros opined on the need for "rational and responsible citizens . . . to become involved and assist in contributing positively to solve a critical, long-term air-transportation need."
What a great (if not novel) idea. There's just one itty-bitty problem: it's clear that in Argyros' mind, citizens are "rational and responsible" only if they agree with King George and his hired minions that Orange County needs to build a second major airport within a few miles of John Wayne Airport. Dare to disagree, and you'll be promptly dismissed by King George or one of his designated henchmen and -women as irrational, irresponsible, or worse. Disagree with the king at your peril.
Last week, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge S. James Otero delivered a temporary assist to King George when he overturned Measure F. But Otero's decision will neither stop nor defeat the revolution in progress. Orange County voters have had enough of the abuses and usurpations experienced under the reign of King George when it comes to the reuse of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Measure F was the functional equivalent of a Declaration of Independence for Orange County citizens—independence from King George and from his majority on the Board of Supervisors. Citizens will not rest until their will and consent have been fully implemented in reuse plans for the former El Toro base. As it was in the 18th century, so shall it be in the 21st.