Letters to the Editor

Civilian ghetto’ doesn’t need Navy

The defense spending now “on the chopping block” is more like trimming overgrown toenails. Many people in Island County have blown the economic importance of “our” naval air station completly out of proportion to reality.

Whidbey Island Naval Air Station does not enhance the economies of San Juan County, Skagit County, Central or South Whidbey Island, or Camano Island. Nor would its sudden disappearance be more than a blip to Oak Harbor’s economy.

On the contrary, Oak Harbor is becoming a painfully familiar mirror image of the racially divided town in Central Texas where I grew up, but here residents of the “civilian ghetto” are expected to cater to the military elite (of all ranks) and to military retirees who care about little beyond protecting precious benefits and perks (including tax-free shopping inside the base fence) against encroachment by the masses.

I am concerned about the downward spiral of our community spirit, but letters such as Dick Hall’s (April 14) give me hope that a spark of revival still burns.

Jim Bruner
Oak Harbor

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