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Voice: If we are forced to fallow, let's make sure we get the cargo airport

May 07, 2002

Well it appears Sacramento is going to make sure that San Diego gets the water they crave to pour more concrete and continue to turn a once beautiful city into an asphalt jungle of gridlock, overpopulation, and probably poor air quality to rival Los Angeles.

That water will come from fallowing acres in our Imperial Valley, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs and revenue needed to keep our people gainfully employed and land values stable.

What I have not heard from Sacramento is what are they going to give in exchange for this fallowing and economic loss. Well, there may be a solution that I have heard a little about that seems to make some sense.

San Diego has a shortage both physically and politically in building a new airport. The San Diego commission on easing their airport problems has not been able to come up with an acceptable solution that the builders, landowners and residential voters in the area can agree on.

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There has been some mention of building a cargo airport in the Imperial Valley which would ease the pressure on the San Diego airports … so why not do it? We have plenty of land going unused in the area of Dunaway Road that has easy access to electricity and there is water from the Westside Main Canal and it is no longer being used for farmland. It is right next to the freeway so it would only be an hour and a half drive to the El Cajon city limits.

The land was good enough for a prison so why not build an airport out there, which would surely generate thousands of jobs that would probably more than offset the jobs lost by fallowing.

Of course there are many complications, including who has the rights to the land. Is it private, state owned or federal? All of this can be settled via negotiation and create a real win-win-win situation where San Diego gets the water it needs for growth, the additional airport capacity they already sorely need and will surely need with additional growth and Imperial County gets an excellent income- and job-producing facility that could start a chain reaction of even more businesses locating in the vicinity of the airport.

The possibilities of the economic engine a cargo airport would create are huge. I do not pretend to know all of the economic, political and environmental hurdles that would need to be cleared in order to make it happen and I am sure there would be many but that's what we elect our leaders for … so I say to our leadership on the local, state, federal levels and private enterprise leaders to come together and explore this possibility with the idea that it would benefit all.

Let's start negotiating a deal that works for everybody!

ROBERT J. BROWN

El Centro

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