Letter: Claims about AG lawsuit against Navy misleading

Editor,

Sen. Barbara Bailey’s July 20 Sound Off, “Litigator-in-chief’s lawsuit hurts economy, defense,” reaches a new low.

Bailey’s commentary reeks of McCarthyism: intending to incite, she makes false claims and attributes them to unnamed sources.

She claims that the attorney general bowed to political pressure in bringing suit against the Navy. What political pressure?

The political pressure has all come from the Navy and moneyed interests in Oak Harbor. Is she seriously claiming that the residents of Coupeville wield more political influence than the U.S. Navy?

Bailey claims a “surrogate” revealed that the lawsuit is really to stop flights at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Who is this surrogate?

Bailey refers to “a most recent study” in support of the perennially false claim that the Navy accounts for “90 percent of all the economic activity” on Whidbey Island. What study?

In reality, only one bonafide economic study has ever been done, by nationally recognized economist Michael H. Schuman. Schuman’s study found that Island County taxpayers actually subsidize the Navy.

Bailey misleadingly claims that “[f]or more than five decades NAS Whidbey has been a welcomed neighbor on the western side of the island.”

Newspaper archives document that residents, and even the Island County Board of Commissioners, were objecting to jet noise as early as the 1960s.

The Navy hasn’t been such a good neighbor for our community.

Finally, Bailey makes the argument that this lawsuit will prevent the Navy from training its aircrews. Nonsense! The Navy has millions of acres of military reservation provided by Congress for such training, places with no damaging impacts upon civilians or the environment.

The Navy will certainly not let its aircrews go untrained.

Bailey attacks the attorney general for standing up for civilians and the environment. She paints the Navy as the victim, using trite slogans and falsehoods, deflecting from the very real health hazards and misery caused by Growler noise.

The attorney general must be shaking in his boots.

Facts and the truth matter. The attorney general’s lawsuit, like COER’s, is to require the Navy to comply with federal law and honestly examine the impacts upon civilians and the environment of their Growler expansion proposal.

The public, and political leaders, need to know the real costs and damages.

As for Sen. Bailey, she has clearly forgotten that she represents all of the people in her district, not just business interests in Oak Harbor and the Navy. Bailey has become irrelevant. Maybe it’s time she (was) retired.

Paula Spina, director

Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve

Coupeville

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