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Cartoonists off the mark
As a response to Milt Priggees cartoon on the Dec. 17 Whidbey News-Times editorial page, the idea that RoseAnn Alspektor and the Whidbey-Camano Island Joint Tourism Board are doing nothing more than applying cosmetics to the Oak Harbor image through the Whidbey-Camano Islands Web site is absurd.
Furthermore I find that the perceived tourist image of Oak Harbors downtown as a fat pig quite astounding. Milt you are way off the mark on both points.
When my wife and I decided to move from Long Beach, Calif., and retire in Oak Harbor we were influenced to do so because of the information that we found on a Coldwell Banker Web site maintained by Realtor Don Massey. An improved Web site that accentuates the positive aspects of Oak Harbor is essential to bringing in an increase in tourism. Therefore to say there is only so much you can accomplish with a Web site is really misleading. The majority of bookings for travel and accommodations in the U.S. are made through the Internet. In a quick Internet search I found supporting statistics that range from 52 to 71 percent of all travel booked through the Internet. It only makes sense that vacation destinations are also researched through Web sites. It seems to me that this would help Oak Harbors year-round commerce since I recently learned that there are 285 hotel and motel rooms in this town alone.
As far as the tourist image of Oak Harbor, I can only speak anecdotally here. Amongst the sailing crowd I encountered in Long Beach, Oak Harbors image is very healthy. I repeatedly heard the comment, You are really going to like living there. In fact the only negative comments that I have ever heard about Oak Harbor was from a long time resident who seems to have some sort of self loathing complex about his city. Curiously enough he is not a member of the Oak Harbor business community.
Can Downtown Oak Harbor be improved through renovations and additions? Of course it can. But the image of a pig? That is degrading and defeatist. A diamond in the rough is a better analogy.
Peter Pehl II