In two hours of other public testimony, the authority board got almost no support for joint use.
Rear Adm. Len Hering said the authority's technical consultants, who asserted joint use is feasible, lack "even the most basic understanding of how the military operates."
Contrary to hopes that activity at Miramar may wind down, Maj. Gen. Mike Lehnert told the board, "Miramar will be extremely busy for decades. ... There is no win-win option." A vote for joint use, Lehnert said, shows "a shocking disregard for public safety."
Many said Miramar should be out of the running because of the way it would force F-18s to use different airspace for field carrier landing practice. A new looping pattern over Tierrasanta, Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa and Clairemont would expose thousands to excessive noise and add 8,700 residents to the "accident potential zone."
San Diego Councilman Jim Madaffer, who represents Tierrasanta, sent an e-mail message to constituents after the board vote, saying the region should consider a second runway at Lindbergh. He called a community meeting for next week to "stop the Miramar madness."
The difficulty in finding consensus was illustrated by three San Diego City Council members at the meeting offering three different opinions.
Tony Young, a board member, said he was making an "unpopular decision" for Miramar in the best interests of the city as a whole.
Kevin Faulconer, who represents Point Loma, spoke of the unsuitability of Lindbergh Field without explicitly supporting Miramar, while Brian Maienschein, whose district includes Miramar, said joint use would be "catastrophic."
Officials working to settle on a new airport site may be within five weeks of a decision, having already pared three dozen options to a handful of imperfect finalists.
The airport authority is trying to break new ground in its search for a place to build an international airport with twin, 12,000-foot runways.
Under the proposal, a new 3,000-acre airport would spread across a portion of Miramar's 23,000-acre footprint.
His less-committal stance yesterday was spun into a plus by opposite camps in the airport debate.