A recent report on surveys from the June Central Whidbey OLF Coupeville meeting indicates responses were split.
The actual surveys say differently. The overwhelming majority of responses from Central Whidbey residents showed they wanted the OLF closed and/or Growlers.
This report was skewed by the inclusion of preprinted responses received from outside Central Whidbey following newspaper reports about the meeting. They seem to have been organized by former County Commissioner Mac McDowell and others.
McDowell submitted his own lengthy response despite living nowhere near the outlying field.
McDowell’s response can be summed up thus: The Navy has nowhere else to practice; current operations are less than during Vietnam; and people near the OLF should have realized operations might someday increase and do not deserve any relief.
Those same spurious arguments are found in most of these preprinted responses.
First, where is the Navy practicing now if there is nowhere else? Not at the outlying field.
Secondly, do we really have to resort to the halcyon days of the Vietnam War to find operational numbers to support current Growler operations? What about all the intervening decades? What is most hypocritical, though, is McDowell’s argument that impacted citizens deserve no help.
Public record shows that when the APZ zone was established in North Whidbey, McDowell claimed it was to prevent development encroachment upon the base.
Yes, residents lost property rights, but for the greater good of keeping Ault Field open.
Like now, McDowell showed no sympathy for anyone living near the base.
That stance, however, didn’t stop McDowell from arranging a public purchase of 17 acres near Ault from the Don Boyer family. McDowell personally worked to get that one property purchased using a mix of Navy, state, county and Oak Harbor funds.
When a Navy appraisal came in at $1.5 million, McDowell was instrumental in getting it raised.
Ultimately, the public paid the Boyers $2.2 million for 17 acres of vacant land.
Ask yourselves this question — how come the Boyers deserved this kind of assistance if the residents of Central Whidbey, who aren’t asking for a dime, don’t deserve any help whatsoever?