I am disturbed (and not terribly surprised) that state Sen. Barbara Bailey used in her recent commentary all the “red meat” tropes she could think of to disparage Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit against current Navy over-reach (“Bob Ferguson’s war a threat to Whidbey’s Navy base,” The Herald, July 21. (And it’s not just about a bird.)
She seeks to force it into the Republicans vs. Democrats box created by ALEC, the Military Alliance and her party. Rather, it is about a military department that ignored strong science and health data from citizens, thumbing its nose at thousands of pages of careful comments to their draft EIS. In doing its final EIS and its huge expansion decision the Navy used flawed sound measurements and finessed environmental criteria. This is simply not right or legal.
Bailey shows in her screed that she is willing to sacrifice health, property values, and tourism income of our area to wave the flag and cheer anything Navy. Her understanding of the Whidbey economy lacks depth; a professional economic study done three years ago belies her rosy picture of Navy equals Golden Goose.
It is a player, yes, but its activities don’t multiply island wealth like the civilian, tax-paying ones do. It drags downward heavily on our housing, property tax structure, social services, property values and tourism. Here’s a “sound” we need to hear from the Navy: “I hear you. Let’s work to minimize the problems we create by our huge presence.”
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