I am disturbed, and not terribly surprised, that Barbara Bailey’s screed on your recent editorial page used all the “red meat” tropes she could think of to disparage Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson.
His intended lawsuit is against current Navy overreach. And it’s not just about a bird as Bailey trivializes it. She wants to force it into the Republicans/Democrats and Navy-hater vs. Navy-lover dichotomies — just like her connections with ALEC, the Military Alliance, the Koch brothers and her national party would dictate.
So let’s get clear: This lawsuit is about a military department that rejected strong science and health data from citizens and professionals in thousands of submitted pages of careful comments on the Draft EIS.
Then the Navy fabricated a pro forma final Environmental Impact Statement and promptly dictated a huge expansion based on finessed sound statistics and rigged environmental criteria. This is what Bailey is cheerleading and Ferguson is blowing the whistle on.
I am troubled and angered by her blithe willingness to sacrifice local health, property values and tourism income while covering over the Navy’s law-hacking with a righteous flag wave.
Also her rosy picture of Navy equals Golden Goose lacks economic understanding. The Whidbey economy is far more nuanced. A professional economic study done three years ago notes that the Navy is a big player with some cash flow but externalizes a lot of its liabilities onto the island taxpayers.
Its narrowly off-island-focused, non-taxable activities don’t multiply island wealth like the civilian, tax-paying occupations do. It heavily drags downward on our housing, property tax structure, social services, property values and tourism.
So the true sound of freedom many would like to hear is the Navy saying: “I hear you. Let’s work together to minimize the problems we create by our huge presence.”