PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: September 8, 1996
SECTION: Part A; Page 3; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Tony Perry
DATELINE: San Diego, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Jerry Hargarten, leader of the San Diego group MARCH (Move Against Relocating Choppers Here); Rep. Bob Filner (Democrat) and Rep. Randall Cunningham (Republican), opponents of the helicopter move to San Diego
The Los Angeles Times reports that residents in the San Diego area are increasing their efforts directed against a plan to relocate extremely loud Marine Corps helicopters to a base that affects their community.
According to the article, helicopters located at bases in El Toro and Tustin were scheduled for relocation after the former bases closed. One location possibility was Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, but the residents' group MARCH (Move Against Relocating Choppers Here) say that Miramar is in an area that is too densely populated. They have proposed a relocation to a base in Riverside, but immediately after a recent meeting with military officials the group was dismayed to learn that Miramar was still the top choice. This came even after President Clinton had ordered alternatives to be looked at. Transfer of the aircraft should start in 1998.
The article reports that MARCH has gained support from congressmen in both parties, residents, former military personnel, and developers. They claim that the examination of other sites was skewed, and threaten to sue if the final decision is made without an independent study of alternative sites.
The article reports that the former military officers claim that the Riverside base is better suited for the helicopters, and located in an area where officials would welcome the aircraft. Improvements were made at the base in preparation for another aircraft transfer that never occurred, and these improvements were not considered in the study. A developer in the area has paid for a consultant on public relations to help in the campaign.
The article concludes by noting that the chamber of commerce supports the transfer of helicopters. One official there said that if helicopters are not allowed to relocate at Miramar, the military may eventually close the base; this could result in a loss of $500-million to the local economy as well as opening the door for potential reuse of the base for a commercial airport which could cause more noise than the helicopters.
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