Letter: Not compelled to defer to ‘Navy experts’ on jet noise

Editor,

In a recent Sound Off by the president of the Navy League in Oak Harbor, I was struck by the fact that it appeared there versus a letter to the editor.

Yes, Mr. Bristow, Whidbey residents should take careful note of what Sound Defense Alliance is doing. As well, they should take note and beware that what you’ve put forward is merely an opinion and anything but nonpartisan.

No one’s suggesting that pilots be put at risk, but then neither is Mr. Bristow calculating the risk I’m at when they fly over my house too hot and too low My guess is that he does not live beneath a flight path.

When Mr. Bristow suggests residents should listen instead to Capt. Arny’s opinion, he further negates the value in listening to both sides.

Capt. Arny’s remarks on other states with successful civil/military relationships neglects to note that Washington state enjoys the same success, and it’s the shared objective of all parties to this discussion that this will continue to be the case.

Mr. Bristow writes, “the Navy has coexisted and flourished side by side with numerous communities …” and I believe that there is historical precedence for that statement, but let’s not overlook the past tense of the verbs he’s used … past tense.

In order for the same to be said decades from now there needs to be a dedicated effort to consider all stakeholders.

This is 2018, not 1902 or the 1950s. The current issue has nothing to do with historical precedence.

The Growlers are new and no one in this debate has a crystal ball, certainly not the real estate or banking communities.

It should be enough for the Navy to consider what the simple effect of changing equipment — Prowler for Growler — made.

Ebey’s Reserve belongs to the public and, as such, is subject to public input and consideration.

One must note that, when the park service “recognizes OLF as a primary aspect of the Reserve’s historical record,” it is as open space, not an active runway.

In 2005, operations at OLF were Prowler-related, not Growler, and not at the unseemly proposed level the Navy is planning. Again, this is not the 1950s or even the 1970s.

Mr. Bristow accuses opponents of the escalation in OLF use as showing “transparent self-interest.”

Duh, darn right. It’s known as self-survival.

Yup, I’m a relative newcomer to Whidbey. What’s more, I do live under the flight path.

My newness actually gives me an unexpected objective view of how much my immediate environment has changed since the Growlers debuted.

From a family tree thick with Navy veterans, I laugh now to think that when I first arrived and heard the jets using OLF in their less frequent practice sessions and lower number of Prowlers, I’d feel compelled to run outside and salute saying, “Thank you for your service.”

Now, not so much.

Mr. Bristow should be aware that local Realtors merely flip buyers a map, if you ask, illustrating zones of lower and greater noise pollution and suggest one do their own investigation. Our property showed as “low noise.”

No one told us of the plan to change equipment, expand pathways and increase frequency of practice trips at OLF.

Mr. Bristow wants us to defer to “experts on Navy risk management,” overlooking the obvious fact that we are the experts of our personal risk.

Patricia DeFrees

Ebey’s Reserve

Coupeville

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