CORONA ( — A Southland lawmaker Tuesday called for the region’s top airport official to be fired over comments he made that included a reference to the Inland Empire as “inbred”.

Rep. Ken Calvert issued the statement in response to comments made by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) officials in court filings that were reported Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.

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According to The Times, LAWA chief operating officer Steve Martin referenced the “inbred Inland Empire” in April 2013 during an email exchange with an airport consultant.

Martin also referred to improvements at Ontario International Airport as “a storied tale of charity toward the Inland Empire” during a presentation to the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners earlier this year, The Times reported.

Calvert, whose 42nd District includes Corona, Temecula, and Menifee, called the quotes attributed to Martin “offensive and highly unprofessional,” adding, “If the quotes are accurate, I believe he should be terminated immediately.

“The attitude and biases of high ranking LAWA officials makes it crystal clear that they do not have the best interest of the Inland Empire in mind. The court filings demonstrate that the city of Los Angeles is running the Ontario airport like a slumlord.

“Los Angeles is unfit to operate Ontario airport,” he added.

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In a statement, LAWA spokeswoman Nancy Castles said Ontario city officials have highlighted “selective” and “the most incendiary comments to include in a court filing and to present them in a way that supports their position.

“Mr. Martin’s comments were taken completely out of context, and were not within the totality of the entire case. Without the context and the totality of the case being heard, the comments are being misunderstood,” the statement read.

The agency also released a statement (PDF) with portions of a recent deposition that Castles said “puts into context” Martin’s comments.

When asked what specifically about the Inland Empire would lead Martin to “believe that it’s inbred,” Martin said, “I think the reporting has not got any outside source affecting it other than what comes out of the Inland Empire entities. It’s not the Inland Empire. It’s the reporting.”

The remarks were made during a recent deposition in an ongoing legal battle for control of Ontario International .

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Roughly 4 million residents live in the region known as the Inland Empire, which spans between the San Bernardino/Los Angeles County line and the most urbanized areas of the San Bernardino and Riverside counties.