Opinion

Oak Harbor better off with Navy gone

I would like to respond to the ridiculous “Sound Off” on April 19 titled, “What if the Navy left?”

Civilians and families of those who have lived in Oak Harbor many generations cherished the beauty of the environment and silence before the Navy. These longtime residents dream of the Navy leaving with restored peace and quality of life.

I invite Mr. Barnes, the author of the piece, to attempt to have a telephone conversation while Navy aircraft are flying over his home. Can he sleep with aircraft flying over his home in the middle of the night?

I believe freedom of speech is a right of all Americans, even those who live in Florida. Why would a citizen need to be “appointed” to write a letter to the editor? Did someone appoint Barnes? In another letter, is Ms. Lentz sympathetic to the victims of NAS Whidbey due to her experience in Tampa? Is Lentz concerned about squandered tax dollars used to trick landowners into selling their property rights? Is Barnes aware Senator Salazar of Colorado is attempting to appropriate $75 million for REPI (Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative) in case the military wants to expand? Is Barnes aware most Americans want an end to war and will vote for this outcome in the next election? Ending the immoral war in the Middle East will result in a reduction of forces. Can civilians then dream of the Navy leaving Whidbey?

Has Barnes traveled beyond Coupeville? I live in Florida with no military base in the community. My community has suffered from urban blight since 2000 when Bush was sworn in as president. The Target store opened just one year ago is now closing. There are hundreds of homes begging for a buyer at reduced prices. Property taxes and insurance rates have soared along with necessities like food and utilities.

Yes, civilians are painfully aware of active and retired military families spoiling the rural character of Whidbey Island. Most say go away, let us have our tranquility back. We enjoy driving down the highway without dangerous congestion. Yes, we remember how big Oak Harbor was before the Navy. If you want to live in a big town please move. Check your history Mr. Barnes, Coupeville has been the county seat since 1864.

Oh, here we go again with the fear factor! Why would enemies have designs on Washington state? Haven’t we heard enough of this from Bush, Inc.? Is Peoria in danger too?

Mr. Barnes, why are you whining about military benefits? Who else do you know with lifetime medical and all the other perks with perhaps the exception of Congress? What benefits the community with shopping available at the exchange or commissary? It doesn’t compensate the civilians for the horrendous noise, pollution, threats to wildlife and transients associated with the Navy.

How will taxes increase in a ghost town? The need for services will be reduced; there will be less crime and necessity of social services. Yes, Florida would be hurt with the presence of the military. That is why the citizens of Jacksonville put a stop to re-opening the base at Cecil Field.

Mari Anderson lives in Titusville, Fla. Her family, Anker Anderson, has lived on Whidbey Island since 1910; a portion of their land is now occupied by the Navy. Her parents have lived on their farm on Frostad Road since 1942, and she graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1961.

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