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California Quelches Plans to Transform Marine Base into HomesTim King Salem-News.com
Voice of OC reveals dimming hope for Irvine's 'Great Park' project.
(SALEM) - The story of the proposed redevelopment of the old El Toro Marine base in Irvine, California is beginning to match our predictions from more than three years ago. The effort was bogus from day one; the base is packed with toxic chemicals and their residue and no sensible person would consider living even close to it, let alone 'on' the old wreck of a base.
I knew it in another time, when Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was like the rest of Orange County; it looked great on the outside, however contaminated it was inside. Those of us who served there as Marines were also contaminated, as were our families.
Some friends I made in the Marine Corps friends have had problems far worse than mine; one has had to bury two of his children. I almost had to do that too. One of my sons born while I served at El Toro and lived in base housing, had a collapsed bowel at the age of four-months. He barely survived. Another son, also an El Toro baby, was born with an epiglottis the size of a 40-year old man's. He required surgery as an infant also and today has intestinal colitis. Were these illnesses from the toxicity of El Toro? Having discussed the matter with several medical experts, the answer is that these illnesses are very consistent with contamination from TCE, trichloroethylene, one of the principle contaminants of El Toro.
However the story today shouldn't even be about the base; the only morally responsible thing to do with El Toro is to put a super tall fence around it and close it off to human access; the story is about the contaminated water flowing under this place, that passes directly beneath Irvine City Hall, before being chucked into the ocean as untreated, deadly waste.
It was in 2008 that we first lamented the fate of this once-proud military base, one that stood ready to defend Southern California with the best pilots and fighter jets in the U.S. arsenal.
I personally discovered the toxicity of the base, and plans to construct luxury homes on it, simultaneously, and I knew my mission at El Toro was not over. I have worked closely with Robert O'Dowd, Roger Butow and John Uldrich, all former El Toro Marines, all writers with Salem-News.com, in exposing this toxic mess of a place that officials in Irvine have the audacity to ignore, pretending it is a usable place when it is anything but that. Our team, mentioned above, has visited the base repeatedly in recent years, conducting on-site research and interviews.
We worked closely with former Irvine City Councilor Christina Shea when she was still in office, aiding her effort to expose the underhanded money dealings of Irvine Mayor Larry Agran. Roger Butow extensively explored the questionable hiring of 'Great Park' CEO Mike Ellzey, a man whose past does not match what he listed on paper to attain his position. Now, thanks to a decision from the office of California Governor Jerry Brown, redevelopment in California has been killed, and a recent state Supreme Court decision ensures that it won't be resurrected anytime soon. As Reporter Adam El Mahrek with Voice of OC writes in the column linked below, Great Park leaders find themselves on a far more uncertain path. Check out Adam's story for the details on this evolving story.
Another Twist in the Fate of Great Park Adam El Mahrek - Voice of OC
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